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When Do We Start ‘Forward’?

September 8, 2012
Mike Myer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

During more than three and one-half years in office, President Barack Obama has accomplished virtually nothing to ease unemployment. That's the simple answer to whether we Americans are better off now than when he became chief executive.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the seasonally adjusted statistics for the numbers of Americans 16 years of age and older working when Obama was inaugurated in January 2009 and now:

January 2009 - 142,187,000.

August 2012 - 142,101,000.

The U.S. population has grown, meaning that unemployment percentages can be a bit misleading. Here, again according to the BLS, are seasonally adjusted statistics for the numbers of people 16 and over who would like to be working but can't find jobs:

January 2009 - 120,490,000.

August 2012 - 125,440,000.

Look again and do the arithmetic, as former President Bill Clinton suggested the other night. That's right: Nearly 5 million more people are unemployed now than when Obama took office. Clearly, they're not better off because of his presidency.

Obama has adopted "Forward" as the slogan for his re-election campaign. Yet during the first half of what he hopes will be a two-term presidency, we've moved backward in many ways.

Here are a few other ways in which many Americans aren't better off than they were when Obama took office - and won't be in another four years, if he's reelected:

-- Liberals insist those in racial minorities need Democrats' protection. Yet in August, while the unemployment rate for all Americans was about 8.2 percent, it was 14.1 percent for blacks and 10.2 percent for Hispanics. The rate for blacks when Obama took office, by the way, as 12.7.

-- During the Democrat National Convention this week there was much bragging about the new national health care law, "Obamacare." There was talk about ensuring every American has access to health care. But the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that after Obamacare is fully implemented, 30 million Americans still will lack health insurance.

-- The average price of a gallon of regular-grade gasoline in the United States was about $1.87 when Obama was inaugurated. It's $3.79 now. Yet Obama insists his "green" energy policy is working.

-- Federal spending was 20.8 percent of the nation's gross domestic product in 2008. In 2009, with Obama as president, it shot up to 25.2 percent. It's expected to be 24.3 percent this year, according to the White House.

-- When Obama took office, the national debt was about $10.6 trillion. It passed $16 trillion last week. If Obama's policies remain in place, it will increase to $23 trillion within the decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

-- Obama and his liberal allies insist they are defending the middle class. But since he took office, average income for middle class families has dropped by about $4,000 a year.

-- Home values have declined by about 11 percent - much more than that in some areas - since Obama took office.

-- Yes, times are tough and Obama emphasized that during his DNC speech. But you'd expect him to at least make progress (you know - forward) during his first term, wouldn't you? By this summer, the number of Americans requiring help in the form of food stamps had hit 47 million - a new record.

-- The American people usually are the best judges of whether things are getting better or worse - and in record numbers, according to public opinion polls, they're choosing the latter. For the first time in history, many people worry their children's lives will not be better than theirs.

Obama's theme during his Thursday speech at the DNC was that while he's been fighting hard for Americans, he needs four more years in office. But in view of his record thus far, the question voters will be asking is: Can we survive four more years of Obama?

Myer can be reached via e-mail at:

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