Publishers Corner…by Clifton Harris…Publisher
Obama’s Presidency: The Facts
People have many perceptions of how the US economy or the country as a whole has done in recent years. Depending on your political views, you may think the country is doing exceptionally well or is teetering on the verge of collapse.
Listed below are fourteen objective facts, without interjected opinion, about the state of America under the leadership of President Obama. Every statement is followed up with a link to a reputable source where you can verify the fact for yourself.
1. We’ve now had 65 straight months of economic expansion.
That’s right: For sixty-five consecutive months, the US economy has gotten progressively better. That includes fifty-six consecutive months of private sector job growth. Forbes magazine (which is no fan of President Obama) crunched the numbers and demonstrated how the economic recovery under President Obama has been better in just about every measurable way than the recovery under President Reagan.
Source: Obama Out-Performs Reagan on Jobs, Growth, and Investing; Forbes magazine.
2. We are currently enjoying the longest period of private sector job creation in American history.
This statistic also comes from the Forbes magazine article listed above. In fact, we’ve enjoyed 63 straight months of private sector job creation. That is the longest period of job creation since the Department of Labor has been keeping statistics.
Source: Obama’s Claim That Businesses Are in the “Longest Uninterrupted Stretch of Job Creation”: The Washington Post.
3. Unemployment has dropped from 10.1% in October of 2009 to 5.4% in the spring of 2015.
Not only has the unemployment rate dropped significantly, but since the recession ended, the US economy has gained over twelve million new jobs. (You can refer to the Forbes article above or check the article below.)
Source: Democratic Presidents Bring It: Obama Shatters Clinton’s Record For Private Sector Job Growth: PoliticusUsa.
It is also worth noting that during the 2012 presidential election, Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, promised to lower the unemployment rate to 6% by the end of 2016. President Obama succeeded at lowering unemployment to under 6% two full years earlier than Romney had promised.
Source: Romney vows to lower unemployment to 6% by the end of 2016: The Hill
4. The stock market continues to set new record highs since President Obama took office.
Since early 2009, there has been a steady upward trend in stock market growth. The Dow Jones Industrial average’s reached an all-time high of 18,098 in August, 2014. Since most Americans have 401K retirement investments in the stock market, this growth benefits millions of middle class Americans.
Source: Dow Jones Industrial Average Last 10 Years: Macro trends.
5. The Federal budget deficit is shrinking. It’s been reduced by two-thirds since 2009.
The $1.4 trillion federal budget deficit that Obama inherited in 2009 was in a large part due to the high rate of unemployment. When millions of people were put out of work in 2008 and 2009, it resulted in far less income taxes and less economic activity to generate federal revenue. As ten million people have regained employment, there have been billions more tax dollars generated. As a result, the deficit has been shrinking each year. The 2014 deficit was below $500 billion, the smallest deficit since 2007, and roughly a third of what it was in 2009.
Source: What is the Deficit?: USGovernmentSpending.com.
6. Under President Obama, government spending has increased only 3.3% annually, the lowest rate since Eisenhower was president.
You may have heard critics say that President Obama is spending money wildly and running up our debt. According to this article from Forbes, Obama has increased spending by 1.4% annually, far less than President Reagan (8.7%) or George W. Bush (8.1%). According to a more recent article from the Washington Post, Obama has increased spending 3.3% annually. In either case, Obama has increased spending less than any president since Eisenhower.
Sources: Who Is the Smallest Government Spender Since Eisenhower? Would You Believe It’s Barack Obama? Forbes magazine.
The Facts About the Growth of Spending Under Obama: Washington Post.
7. For 95% of American taxpayers, income taxes are as low as or lower than they were at almost any point in the last 50 years.
After President Obama took office, thousands of Tea Party members all over the country held rallies protesting Obama’s tax increases. At that time, President Obama had actually passed several tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Most of the Tea Partiers who were protesting had only seen their taxes decrease under Obama, yet polls indicated that most Tea Party members wrongly believed their taxes had gone up.
In fact, the only people whose income taxes have gone up during Obama’s presidency are those making $400,000 per year or more. That’s less than 2% of the population. Today, for the vast majority of people, tax rates are lower than or exactly where they were when Obama first took office. The article below from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains this in greater detail.
Source: Federal Income Taxes on Middle-Income Families Remain Near Historic Lows, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
By Jazelle Hunt
NNPA Washington Correspondent
WASHINGTON (NNPA) – It’s an open secret that Black-sounding names can hinder employment, housing, and loan applications. Apparently, basic emails to public servants have snuck onto that list.
So concluded a recent study published by the Institute for the Study of Labor, an international research center based in Germany.
“Discrimination by providers of public services not only has a potentially detrimental impact on the economic and social lives of those affected, but is also illegal,” the study concluded. “While deregulation and globalization may have increased competition in the U.S. economy, thus placing pressure on discriminatory attitudes in the private sector … this has certainly been much less the case for the public sector.”
To test this hypothesis, researchers sent emails asking for basic information to more than 19,000 local public offices around the United States over two non-consecutive weeks. The emails used four names: Jake Mueller, Greg Walsh, DeShawn Jackson, and Tyrone Washington.
Public offices responded to 72 percent of emails each from Jake and Greg. For DeShawn and Tyrone, who had slightly different levels of response, 68 percent of their emails received replies.
“Our results show that emails signed with a distinctively Black name are less likely to receive a reply than identical emails signed with a distinctively White name, thus indicating the presence of discrimination in access to public services,” the report stated.
And while the offices that did respond took roughly the same amount of time and used the same amount of words for everyone, the responses to DeShawn and Tyrone were “less cordial;” 72 percent of the responses to Jake and Greg addressed them by name or included a salutation such as “Hello,” “Dear,” or “Thank [you].” For DeShawn and Tyrone, 66 percent of their responses included such pleasantries, despite having the same amount of words.
During the second week of emails, all the names included “real estate agent” in their signatures to test for socioeconomic bias. The results remained the same as the first week without the career mention, leading the researchers to assert that the responders were discriminating by race, not class.
The study also found that the emails from Black names were less likely to be ignored if the recipient was also Black. The researchers argued that if the email senders were being discriminated against because of social status or some other, non-racial prejudice, “White and Black recipients should have a similar propensity to respond to names conveying low socioeconomic background, i.e., Black names.”
Since the researchers had no way to record the identity and race of each of the 19,000 responders, they used the demographics in each profession plus a racial database of last names to infer the recipients’ race, to test the idea.
And they found that, “where the probability that a recipient is Black becomes more substantial, the predicted response rates for the two races become indistinguishable.”
In rural areas, the difference in response was almost double that of urban areas. The Northeast had the smallest racial gaps in responses, and the Midwest had the largest; but the researchers point out that the Midwest is home to more rural counties than the Northeast, South, and West. The South had the second-lowest incidence of discriminating against DeShawn’s and Tyrone’s emails – the researchers believed this is because more Black people hold public jobs in the South than in other parts of the country.
In terms of professions, the responses from sheriff offices showed the widest racial gap, responding to 46 percent of the Black senders, and 53 percent of the White senders. School districts had the smallest gap of 3 percent higher for White senders. Job centers were the only agencies to respond more to Black senders than White senders.
Roughly half of all the emails were sent to school district employees, and another 25 percent were sent to library workers. The rest were spread among sheriff offices, state and county treasurers, job centers, and county clerks. Sample emails included: “My partner and I would like a marriage license. Could you please tell me what your opening hours are?” and, “I am about to purchase a house. Could you please explain how I can check whether there are unpaid taxes on the house? If there are unpaid taxes, who would be liable for them?”
The report cited a few examples from past research in which Black and low-income Americans access social services and opt into programs at higher rates when they are given more information. So while being stingy and/or unfriendly with public information doesn’t necessarily mean less access to these services, this behavior can seriously affect Black Americans’ ability to take action and make decisions about their lives.
“Making it more difficult for a citizen to obtain information about a service is not merely a nuisance, but can also have an important impact on whether and how the citizen engages with the service,” the researchers wrote. They also pointed out that it’s unlikely that these discriminatory behaviors only happen in responding to emails, without spilling over into the general and unspoken ways of operating a public office.
The study concluded, “Besides being illegal, discrimination by public service providers is particularly startling, since governments could be major players in the effort to eradicate discrimination in American society.”