Commentary Magazine


The Economy and the Record Obama Owns

This morning on NBC’s Today Show, Matt Lauer asked Obama senior adviser David Plouffe, “You would agree with that: He owns this economy?” To which Plouffe said, “”Of course he does.” 

Plouffe said this on the day we learned unemployment claims this week were above 400,000 (428,000), meaning this is the 12th straight week unemployment claims have topped 400,000–yet one more sign of a struggling economy.

With ownership comes responsibility, of course, so let’s run through, one more time, some of what the president owns:

  • An unemployment rate of 9.1 percent;
  • 28 straight months of unemployment being above 8 percent, a post-World War II record;
  • Chronic unemployment worse than during the Great Depression (about 6.2 million Americans, 45.1 percent of all unemployed workers in this country, have been jobless for more than six months);
  • A nation in which 2.5 million fewer people are employed than when the president was sworn in and which has seen only 600,000 jobs created during our two-year “recovery”;
  • A housing crisis that has recently entered a double dip and is now worse than the Great Depression;
  • A record $1.65 trillion deficit this year;
  • A record $14.3 trillion debt;
  • First quarter growth in 2011 of only 1.8 percent;
  • A presidency in which real annual growth in GDP averages 1.5 percent, just barely above what it was during the decade of the Great Depression (1.3 percent); and
  • Gas prices roughly doubled what they were when Obama took office.

That is the economy, and the record, David Plouffe proudly states Obama lays claim to.

Fine and good; now he can run on this economy and his record.