You don’t have to be a financial whiz to know that the economy isn’t good. Times are tough, and they’ve been tough for some time. The middle class has shrunk; wealth has diminished; poverty is up; and unemployment, especially for minorities, is nothing short of miserable.
But how bad is it, really?
Up until very recently, this was hard to quantify and thus became in large part a political argument. Today, however, enough time has passed that economists now have data points to scientifically put President Barack Obama’s economic policy in its proper place.
On the old legacy-o-meter, things aren’t looking good for Obama and his supporters, who so desperately wanted him to succeed.
I’m tempted to compare Obama’s performance on the economy to this year’s Phoenix Suns basketball team. The Suns were pathetic from start to finish this season. But that might be too harsh - on the Suns.
The Suns were a crummy basketball team, for sure. But when things were not going well, they at least changed things up to get a better outcome. The Suns finished ahead of Cleveland and Charlotte. Had they suited up their old star, Connie Hawkins, they might have finished ahead of a few other teams, too.
President Obama, meanwhile, kept the same economic game plan and failed policies in place for 4 1/2 years. Clear evidence is mounting to show that Obama’s stubbornness (or shall we call it ignorance) might earn him the title of Worst Economic President Ever.
An overreach, you say? Au contraire, mon ami. Ponder this: In what historians consider one of the most unsuccessful presidential terms in modern history, Jimmy Carter still produced four times as much economic growth as Barack Obama. If that doesn’t put it into perspective for you, nothing will.
For a definitive analysis of Obama’s economic failure, Peter Ferrara, the director of entitlement and budget policy for the Heartland Institute, writes in Forbes magazine this month that by all rights, Obama should be presiding over a robust recovery.
Because historically speaking, the worse the recession, the stronger the recovery, "Obama should have had an easy time producing a booming recovery by now," says Ferrara.
Instead, Ferrara continues, "What is clear is that Obamanomics has produced the worst recovery from a recession since the Great Depression."
Ferrara points out that the record shows it takes an average of two years for the economy to recover all the jobs lost after a recession. But in the 4 1/2 years of Obama’s reign, he has failed to accomplish that, and it’s now been 5 1/2 years since the previous jobs peak.
Ferrara goes on to cite Jeffrey H. Anderson, a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute, to point out that as bad as the economic performance under President George W. Bush was, Obama’s is even worse.
In an article for Investor’s Business Daily, Anderson writes: "Prior to Obama, the second term of President Bush featured the weakest gains in the gross domestic product in some time, with average annual (inflation-adjusted) GDP growth of just 1.9 percent … but average annual real GDP growth during Obama’s entire first term was less than half as much at a pitiful 0.8 percent."
That performance will establish Obama firmly as the worst president ever on the economy. Obama’s GDP growth is less than half as much as the worst president in the past 60 years.
Let that process slowly. That means that if President Obama could go back in time and find a way to double his GDP performance, he’d still hold the record for the worst economic president in the past 60 years.
That’s bad. So bad, in fact, I want to circle back and apologize to the Phoenix Suns. You’re bad, but you’re not Obama bad.
Sherman Frederick, former publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and a member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame, writes a column for Stephens Media. Read his blog at www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/sherman-frederick.