Quite often when I see memes and graphics from Left/Progressive blogs, websites and Facebook pages I am astonished at the outlandish claims they make, especially when they fly in the face of reality. Every now and then I see one so outrageous I just have to look closer to see if the claims it makes are true. The meme below is one such. Of the seven things it asserts, only one is true and the rest are flat out lies or exaggerations.
The first assertion that the unemployment rate has been cut in half during Obama’s tenure in office is FALSE. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, we see that the unemployment rate as of December 31, 2008 prior to President Obama taking office was 7.3%. The rate as of May 31, 2015 was 5.5%, a decline of 1.8%. For it to have been “cut in half”, the rate would need to be 3.65%.
What makes this lie even worse are the numbers shown in the following table which clearly illustrate that the employment situation has grown worse since Obama took office, not better.
Over 90 million Americans are not participating in the labor force. That is the reality of Obama’s America and progressive economics.
Presumably this means the number of people without health insurance, but since the meme cites no credible data sources, it is not certain. I am going to presume that they meant people without health insurance.
US Census Bureau statistics show that this assertion is also FALSE. As of 2010 the percentage of Americans without health insurance was 16.3% (statistically unchanged since 2009). As of 2013 (most recent year for which data are available) the number was 13.4%, a decline of 2.9%. For it to have been CUT IN HALF as this misleading meme alleges, the number would have to be 8.2% which it clearly is not.
Two points come to mind regarding the number of uninsured. First, when something is mandated by government, such as buying health insurance, it is not surprising that the number of uninsured would decline. However, the decline of only 2.9% shows that this progressive program is not achieving its goal of near-100% insured among the population. Second, the number of people who are receiving government assistance in the form of subsidies or expanded Medicaid coverage is not discussed. While expansion of the number of people receiving government assistance is clearly a progressive goal, it can’t be said that it’s a good thing.
Dow Jones Nearly Tripled
This isn’t true either. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) stood at 7,949.09 on the day that Obama took office. As of June 19, 2015 it stood at 18,015.95, an increase of 127%, NOT 300% as the meme asserts.
In any event, the 1% have done very well in Obama’s America, capturing 121% of all income gains during the first years of the “recovery” from the 2008-2009 recession, according to The Huffington Post.
The middle class has suffered under Obama, as median household income is down 4.4% from the end of the recession to 2013. It surely must horrify the Left that corporate profits at the end of 2012 were at an all-time high while wages as a percent of the economy were at an all-time low. In the years since the Dodd-Frank law implemented the requirement for shareholder votes on executive pay, CEO pay has risen by 12% annually, while GDP growth during the Obama administration has been a meager 1.2% from the first quarter of 2009 to the end of last year. Finally, to add insult to injury, the number of Americans receiving nutrition assistance through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) has risen by a whopping 65% from 28.2 million when President Bush left office to 46.5 million as of last year.
Deficit Cut By Two Thirds
What’s more important is the national debt, which has ballooned from $11.9 trillion dollars in 2009 to $17.8 trillion in 2014, an astronomical 50% increase in just five years.
The national debt is a problem that grows worse every day, not least because of the ever increasing interest costs and the fact that a large part of the debt is held by countries that may not always have our best interests at heart.
This is a bipartisan problem and will require bipartisan solutions. While the Obama administration can boast that it has cut deficits (though not in half like he promised for his first term), the true problem of the debt has gotten much worse during his administration.
Historically-Low [sic] Inflation
This is the only claim that is completely true. The inflation rate has averaged 1.4% since Obama took office. I guess one out of seven isn’t bad.
I found this a curious thing for a Leftist meme to boast about. After all, lefties hate fossil-fuel burning, carbon dioxide emitting cars! It is worth noting, however, that the only US automaker in the top five global automakers (GM) saw a stock price increase of 11% compared to a 102% increase in the top automaker’s (Toyota) price over the same time frame.
It’s true that #6 automaker Ford saw a respectable increase in their stock price. Number three automaker Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy to be acquired by Italian automaker Fiat in 2014, meaning that of the top ten automakers in the world, only two are truly US companies.
The conclusion to be drawn here is: Yes, the top six automakers did quite well. Too bad most of them are foreign-domiciled companies. Their prosperity is most likely in spite of, not because of, the Obama Administration.
Clean Energy Doubled
This claim just has to go into the “Whatever!” category. How do they define “clean” energy – since no energy source is truly clean – and of course no data source is cited!
For the sake of argument, I will use the Energy Information Administration’s definition of “Renewable” energy which is: hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wind, wood biomass, ethanol, biodiesel and waste biomass. Each of these sources has its own environmental externalities and costs, and together they only accounted for only 9.8% of domestic energy production in 2014.
If one looks at renewable energy production, it increased from 7.206 quadrillion Btu in 2008 to 9.656 quadrillion Btu in 2014, an increase of 2.45 or 34%. A “doubling” would have required an increase to 14.4 quadrillion Btu, so this interpretation clearly isn’t true either.
If one looks at renewable energy consumption, it increased from 7.189 quadrillion Btu in 2008 to 9.622 quadrillion Btu in 2014, another 34% increase. (Source: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec1_3.pdf)
By any measure, this claim is also a LIE.
The Obama administration has not been a success by any standard of measure or any value system. His broken campaign promises, clear contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law, Obamacare, increasing lawlessness and spiraling racial tensions all contribute to an escalating downward trend unlike any other in the last century.
While some people may still be proud they voted for him, I’m certain they are very few.
By Richard D. Turnquist
June 22, 2015