Ronald Reagan’s famous question that sank Jimmy Carter in 1980 — “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” — could be reprised to measure the performance of Barack Obama and the Democrats. The latest figures from the Census Bureau and Federal Reserve suggest the answer would be an emphatic “no.”
In 2008, Mr. Obama’s message of hope and change resonated with the promise of “policies that invest in our middle-class, create new jobs, and grow this economy from the bottom up so that everyone has a chance to succeed.” Audiences cheered, but now with the knowledge from experience, the question becomes, has that investment paid off?
A new Federal Reserve study finds the median net worth of families last year fell to its lowest level since 1992, after adjusting for inflation. For most families, this means that the work of two decades of economic struggle has vanished. The dollar figure on the paycheck is higher, but dollars don’t buy nearly as much as they did.
By this measure, the presiding generation is less well-off than the one that preceded it. This is not a surprise to parents who find their dreams of peace in an “empty nest” dashed when their children return from college, unable to find jobs.
Stimulus and “investment” were supposed to reinvigorate the economy. Government spending would create jobs and rescue Americans from the grim clutch of poverty. Census Bureau statistics released Tuesday show 45.3 million Americans living below the poverty level as measured by the government. That’s almost 10 million more living in poverty than in 1992.
While the population is larger, the poverty rate is identical — 14.5 percent. It’s as likely that someone is poor today as in 1992, or in 1962. Mr. Obama’s economic policies have achieved nothing, but worse, the entire 50-year Democratic “war on poverty” has made no discernible impact on poverty.
Washington Times: The Obama disease takes toll on economy
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War is hell. So go big or go home, Mr. President. Big means bold, confident, wise assurance from a trustworthy Commander-in-Chief that it shall all be worth it. Charge in, strike hard, get out. Win.
Obama famously claims to despise the “theater” and “optics” of the presidency. In tonight’s speech he illustrated the “optics” of toughness. He tried to show a war-weary America that he’s tough in his speech concerning the threat of ISIS/ISIL. “The One” who believes in leading from behind can’t have it both ways. He sure wasn’t concerned about “optics” when he let the crisis starring this Islamic death cult reach this point as he dithered and danced and golfed the time away while the Middle East exploded into chaos.
Tonight he announced he’s flipped and will finally militarily engage inside Syria – the red line he’d set and then forgotten about surfaced again. This, after three and a half years of civil war, 200,000 people killed, and millions displaced amid horrifying humanitarian conditions. Last month, he authorized U.S. military action to stall ISIS’ momentum as it’s taken nearly complete control of Iraq. Tonight, President Obama pledged to fight Islamic militants “wherever they exist” with a very small coalition of the willing. (Can you blame foreign nations for not trusting the resolve of this president enough to join us? Right now he has a coalition of nine; President Bush had over 40 allied countries that could trust America’s leadership.)
Remember the inexperienced presidential candidate speaking from Germany at the Brandenburg Gate (2008)? Or the know-it-all state senator (2002), known for merely voting “present” on the big things, yet lecturing about this “dumb war” he claimed was a distraction from his desire to force income redistribution to create security. Remember him? Today, he seems more worried about contradicting his campaign promises (2002-2008) and typical political poll angst than leading as president (2009-present). These are the “optics” he’s worried about.
The rise of the animalistic terror group, ISIS, is the result of Obama’s lead-from-behind foreign policy. He had broadcast his war strategy for all the enemy to see in Iraq, so the enemy could wait us out and strike as soon as America turned tail and turned away from all we’d sacrificed there. Terrorists who we had under control got to regroup and grow after Obama’s premature pull out. Those are the facts, and some tough talking speech is still just talk. Ronald Reagan was described by the Soviets as a politician for whom “words and deeds are one and the same.” When Reagan said his vision of the Cold War was “we win, they lose,” he meant it, and his policies won the Cold War. The real question Americans and our allies must ask is whether Obama-the-lecturer’s words will translate into deeds.
Go big and be real, Mr. President, if you’ve really changed your mind again and now wish to engage. You must acknowledge reality: the organization calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is, in fact, “Islamic.” Not many of us pretend to be experts on the Muslim religion, but these terrorists obviously consider themselves Muslim and they believe what they’re horrifically doing to innocents is part of their “religion of peace.” So, you can use your soapbox to fiercely encourage the sane, civilized Muslims of the world to tell ISIS and all these sickening terrorists that they’re wrong. In the meantime, we must identify and understand the enemy by at least acknowledging their ideological motivation and identity. Our president is naive to ignore this.
ISIS must be stopped in Iraq and Syria before we need to stop them anywhere else. As they dominate the region they head for us; we’re next on the hit list. For the sake of peace-loving people in America and throughout the world, let’s hope Barack Obama means what he says when he uses terms like “defeating ISIS.” He is so inconsistent in leading a failed agenda that it’s virtually impossible to put any hope in his new promises, because either his past statements shrugging off ISIS as just a “JV squad” was all talk or tonight’s new terminology is just all talk.
We should honor and understand our brave men and women of the U.S. armed forces today more than ever. Please do not support politicians who join Obama in diminishing our military. Our finest, trained to fight for what is right and determined to win, deserve our support. Thank you, military, may you be heard when you pray America’s leadership understands that if we’re in it, then we’re in it to win it; no half measures. Troops, we are always with you.
– Sarah Palin
As we continue to knock down individual members from the long list of liberal talking points, another we can add to the scrap heap of history is that Republicans are the “party of the rich.”
In polling data during the 2012 election campaign, two and a half times more registered voters said that the Republicans’ policies favor the rich versus those of the Democrats. Twice as many voters thought the Democrats’ policies favored the middle class compared to those of the Republicans. And twelve times as many voters indicated that the Democrats’ policies favored the poor over those of the Republicans.
And yet, when we look at the data, what do we see? The Democrats are actually the party of the rich, the Republicans are the party of the middle class, and the Republicans may even have a slight lead over the Democrats in representing the poor.
The US Census Bureau has released its latest installment of “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States,” a document that includes measures of household income dispersion.
The following figure shows the change in share of household income going to the top 5% and the highest quintile (i.e., top 20%) over each presidential term since Reagan.
Well, now. This doesn’t fit the liberal narrative very well. Clinton increased the share of household income going to the top 5% by a whopping 3.5% during his two terms, double the rate of Reagan at only 1.8%. After four years, Obama increased this share to the rich (0.8%) more than Reagan had following his first term (0.6%). Bush 43 actually dramatically decreased the share of household income headed to the top 5%, and his father saw only a very small increase.
So, on a time-equivalent basis, the two presidents who increased the household income share the most for the top 5% are both Democrats, with Republicans pulling up the rear in third, fourth, and fifth place. After four years, the three Republican presidents average only a 0.2% increase, compared to a 1.8% increase for the two Democrat presidents. After eight years, the two Republicans are up only 0.6% versus a 3.5% increase for the Democrat.
We see the same message in the share of household income for the highest quintile. Clinton is well out in front in terms of increasing the income share for the highest 20%. Reagan and Obama are in an effective dead heat after their first four years. After four years, the Republicans average a 0.7% increase; the Democrats are at +1.6%. After eight years, it is Republicans at +1.2% and the Democrat at +2.9%.
But the Democrats are the party of the middle class and the poor, aren’t they? Wrong again. The following plot shows the change in share of household income going to the third quintile (i.e., middle class) and the lowest 40% over each presidential term.
Clinton decreased (-1.0%) the share of household income going to the middle class more than Reagan (-0.8%), and far more than Bush 43 (effectively unchanged at -0.1%). After four years, Obama (-0.3%) has decreased the middle-class income share more than both Bush 41 (-0.2%) and Bush 43 (-0.1%). Four years into their terms, the Republicans average a much smaller decline in the middle-class income share (-0.3%) than the Democrats (-0.5%). After eight years the gap is even wider, with Republicans averaging -0.4% and Democrats at -1.0%.
In his first term, Obama has decreased the household income share going to the lowest 40% by 0.5%, the same decrease as Reagan after four years, and more than either Bush 41 (-0.2%) or Bush 43 (-0.4%). Clinton leads the way in this statistic, decreasing the income share going to the poorest members of society by 0.6% after four years in office. After eight years, the two Republicans average out to equal Clinton at a 0.7% reduction in the income share for the lowest 40%.
Another liberal storyline in shambles. Could it be that “Reaganomics” and the “Bush tax cuts” actually favor the middle class more, and the rich less, than the corresponding liberal policies enacted under Clinton and Obama? Nearly three and a half decades of data suggest that this may be the case. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being rich — and promoting the acquisition and protection of wealth — but if liberals persists in using these terms pejoratively, they may find that the data works against them.