A critical evaluation of Obama’s economic narrative, using evidence

This article is currently the most popular one on Investors Business Daily.


In making his case for re-election in the face of historically high unemployment and sluggish growth, President Obama has a simple and straightforward argument.

Things were terrible when I arrived, he says, thanks to Bush-era policies of tax cuts and deregulation. We stopped the decline, but the ditch was so deep that it will take time to get out. Still, we are making progress, even if it isn’t as fast as everyone would like.

So the last thing we want to do is return to the failed Bush policies that, he says, drove us into the ditch.

That argument appears to be working. More people continue to blame Bush than Obama for the current poor state of affairs, and some surveys show that consumer confidence has recently increased.

But each part of Obama’s argument is based on claims that are not accurate…

The article lists 5 claims made by Obama, and assesses each claim against the evidence.

Here are the 5 claims:

  1. Bush tax cuts and deregulation caused the recession.
  2. I stopped a second Great Depression.
  3. My policies are working.
  4. A slow recovery was inevitable.
  5. Nobody could have done any better.

And here’s the critique of point number one: (links removed)

At a campaign rally, Obama said Romney is “just churning out the same ideas that we saw in the decade before I took office . . . the same tax cuts and deregulation agenda that helped get us into this mess in the first place.”

It’s a standard Obama talking point. But it’s not true. Bush’s tax cuts did not cause the last recession.

In fact, once they were fully in effect in 2003, they sparked stronger growth — generating more than 8 million new jobs over the next four years, and GDP growth averaging close to 3%.

Those tax cuts didn’t explode the deficit, either, as Obama frequently claims. Deficits steadily declined after 2003, until the recession hit.

Nor was Bush a deregulator. Conservative Heritage Foundation’s regulation expert James Gattuso concluded, after reviewing Bush’s record, that “regulation grew substantially during the Bush years.”

Even the Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, gave Obama’s claim three out of four “Pinocchios,” saying “it is time for the Obama campaign to retire this talking point, no matter how much it seems to resonate with voters.”

What did cause the economic crisis? The housing bubble. And that, in turn, was the result of a determined federal effort to boost homeownership by, among other things, pressuring banks to lower lending standards.

Now I know that some people (like Jerry) who get their policy news from the Comedy Channel think that the Bush tax cuts made the deficits explode, but of course, deficits were shrinking until the two spendthrifts Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid got hold of the purse strings after taking the House and Senate in 2007.


Barack Obama: Budget Deficits
Barack Obama: Budget Deficits – last GOP budget was 2007

Similarly, Obama clowns on the Comedy Channel and MSNBC also think that the Bush tax cuts made revenues go down.


Did the Bush tax cuts make revenues decrease? No!
Did the Bush tax cuts make revenues decrease? No!

You can tune into MSNBC and the Comedy Channel on any given night and see the clowns there claiming that Bush’s $160 billion deficit in 2007 is actually higher than the $450 billion deficit in 2004, after the 2.2 trillion of tax cuts were passed.

Read the whole thing, it will help you to be persuasive when discussing Obama’s rhetoric. People aren’t saying that Romney won the debate because he had “zingers”. People are saying that Romney won the debate because he had facts and evidence. 

My prescription for voters in this election is more economics, and cut back on the Comedy Channel. Democrats must all buy Thomas Sowell’s “Basic Economics” and read that all the way through. I know that graphs aren’t as entertaining as Rachel Madclown, but we all must make an effort for the sake of the prosperity of our children, and our children’s children.

2 thoughts on “A critical evaluation of Obama’s economic narrative, using evidence”

  1. The first debate was very educational for Obama!. He was a little school boy that was correctly taught by a Professor. The Professor listed points #1, #2 etc and had to correct the mischievous child not to twist facts into fiction!


  2. Bush was president of the US from 2001-2009, which means he had to approve any budgets submitted in those years; meaning, he was directly responsible for all budgets from 2002 – 2010 – the budgets he would have approved as president (as he didn’t like to veto a single spending initiative). So on your graph up there showing deficits – that would have resulted from the pen of President bush signing them in to law and no one else.

    Additionally, he led us in to two protracted wars (one based entirely on lies), wars that oddly enough, despite the fact that we’ve achieved the most that we can and have no further interests served, Americans don’t want to pull back from. When Obama attempted to do so early on, was lambasted by the red – I personally would have still withdrawn so I do blame Obama and the legislative branch for continuing to borrow from china to fight wars that serve no strategic US interests.

    There’s nothing wrong with the news from comedy central – they show you the ridiculousness that is Faux News!


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