A failing or flailing economy is a powerful thing for a candidate to use against an incumbent opponent. Remember, “It’s the Economy, Stupid” ? Or jump back just a few years and look at the “Hope and Change” campaign and how it leveraged the economic problems. Democrats realize this and are starting to get worried about 2012. That, even with the three ring circus that is the GOP primary, a non-incumbent could easily attack Obama on the state of the economy. It gets worse when you start looking at the administration’s record.
Before we get into this, let me be clear – conservatives do not want the economy to fail. This is a popular line that liberals will drop in this argument but it makes no sense. First, conservatives want a strong economy – we believe that wealth as a whole is generated through a strong economy. Second, it demonstrates the shallow thinking of liberals if they truly believe this. Conservatives believe that Obama’s policies economic have, are and will fail. This is distinctly different from wanting the economy to fail.
The easy place to start is the Stimulus and the administration’s “Summer of Recovery” and “Summer of Recovery II”. Neither the summer of 2009 nor the summer of 2010 proved out to be a period of recovery for the U.S. economy but the President and his administration, including VP Biden, touted it.
Next, we can look at some fact-based statistics (courtesy of the House Ways & Means Chairman):
|Number of Unemployed1|
|“High Unemployment” States4|
|Price of Gas6|
|“Typical” Monthly Family Food Cost7|
|Median Value of Single-Family Home8|
|Rate of Mortgage Delinquencies9|
|U.S. National Debt10|
But liberals will point out that under Obama, the Dow Jones index rose 50% in his first three years in office and is only one of five presidents under whom that has happened. Ok, great, start the ticker tape parade, sound the horns, strike up the band. Economists remain cautious of the future of the economy as many of the root problems have yet to be addressed.
Instead, the liberals you meet will likely try to take a few tacts in a debate: (1) blame Bush – of course, the logical response is to ask at what point is the economy President Obama’s? After we wait and see how it turns out? Only the good parts? (2) blame Congress – well, Congress is in charge of the national purse strings (a point often overlooked by liberals since the Democrats have largely been in charge of Congress for decades, minus a brief stint under Clinton when…what?…yes, we had serious economic growth. I’m ok with levying some of the blame there. The Federal Budget issue is just plain ridiculous. There is no reason why Congress should be allowed to get away with not passing a budget. (3) post some silly photoshopped or comically captioned image of a GOP candidate for 2012. Yep, classic distraction and mockery technique. A clear sign they are nervous about the issue and won’t address it head on so instead, they try to make the opponents look silly, ridiculous or mean in order to dissuade voters.
1 Number of unemployed in January 2009 and December 2011. http://www.bls.gov/data/#unemployment.
2 “Long-term unemployed” means for over 26 weeks; data for January 2009 and December 2011. http://www.bls.gov/data/#unemployment.
3 Unemployment rates in January 2009 and December 2011. http://www.bls.gov/data/#unemployment.
4 “High unemployment” means having a 3-month average unemployment rate of 6% or higher. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Extended Benefits Trigger Notice” for January 18, 2009 and January 22, 2012. http://www.ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/trigger/2009/trig_011809.html and http://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/euc_trigger/2012/euc_012212.html.
5 The “Misery Index” equals unemployment plus inflation. For January 2009 and December 2012. http://www.miseryindex.us/indexbymonth.asp.
6 Average retail price per gallon, January 2009 week 3 and January 2012 week 4. http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=EMM_EPMR_PTE_NUS_DPG&f=W.
7 U.S. Department of Agriculture, values represent monthly “moderate” cost per family of four for January 2009 and November 2011. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm.
8 U.S. median sales price of existing single-family homes for metropolitan areas for 2008 and 2011 Q3. http://www.realtor.org/research/research/metroprice.
9 Residential mortgage delinquencies (real estate loans) for 2008 Q4 and 2011 Q3. http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/chargeoff/default.htm.
10 Values for January 21, 2009 and January 23, 2012. http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np.