“Is America better off today than it was before President Barack Obama took office?”
Shortly after being sworn into office in January 2009, President Barack Obama, along with Democrats in Congress, spent trillions of dollars on government bailouts, stimulus packages and various social welfare programs all passed with the promise they would reverse one of the most significant economic crashes the country has experienced.
After nearly eight years in office, though, Obama has failed to deliver on many of his campaign promises and has left America worse-off than it was when he entered the White House.
During the Obama administration, there hasn’t been a single year in which the nation’s gross domestic product grew at 3 percent or higher, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. That’s a first – and not a good one – for a modern president.
Since January 2008, the U.S. population has grown by more than 20 million but the number of jobs has increased by less than 7 million, meaning despite Obama’s boasting about alleged job growth, the number of jobs created has failed to keep up with population growth, normally considered a poor economic indicator.
Additionally, as of November, there were 95 million Americans out of the labor force, about 14.5 million more than there were when Obama took office, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Other economic indicators are similarly troubling. Average annual food stamp enrollment is up by nearly 16 million compared to 2008. The number of Americans who own their homes is the lowest it has been since 1995, the earliest year provided in the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent report.
Thanks in large part to the Obama administration’s government takeover of the student lending industry, the average combined cost of full-time undergraduate tuition, fees, and room and board at a four-year college was $25,409 in 2015 – 25 percent higher in inflation-adjusted dollars than it was in 2008. And outstanding student loan debt now tops $1.3 trillion, the highest in history.
Happily, Republican opposition has been able to keep the president at least partially grounded. Had Obama prevailed in all his initiatives, the few positive developments that have occurred during his tenure would never have materialized.
Between 2009 and 2015, 4.3 million direct and indirect jobs were created because of the increase in domestic oil and gas production, accounting for more than 40 percent of the jobs created.
Obama has been no friend to oil and gas producers, however; he has opposed fracking and domestic fossil-fuel development at every turn, denying developers access to millions of acres of oil-rich public lands and waters while rejecting the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline and halting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The president’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, has also been a disaster.
In 2016, health insurance behemoths Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealth announced the end of their involvement in most of the ACA exchanges after each lost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Other, smaller insurers are also backing out of the exchanges. As a result, about 1.4 million people in 32 states will be forced to find new health insurance providers or plans.
Health insurance prices are also rising rapidly. The Department of Health and Human Services announced in October that insurance premiums for the 2016 ACA benchmark plan will increase by an average of 25 percent in states participating in the federal health insurance exchange.
And the cherry on top: Obama has somehow managed to add roughly $10 trillion to the national debt, about as much as every other president in American history combined – creating an even larger economic bubble that could end up making the 2008 crash look like the roaring 1920s.
What started with so much hope is about to end in immeasurable disappointment. The most positive thing that can be said about Obama’s time in office is it’s almost over.
The writer is executive editor of The Heartland Institute, a think-tank devoted to free enterprise.