How Obama Is Dividing America By Making Things Better: A Wonksplainer

The picture of failure.

President Obama continues his longstanding tradition of creating jobs to push his partisan agenda of economic recovery, while simultaneously dividing this country by making liars out of Republicans who swear he is ruining America.

Candidate Obama promised to bring this country together, yet President Obama's hardline refusal to tank the economy only deepens the divide between himself and GOP leaders in Congress, who have campaigned vigorously on claims that Obamacare will leave this country a smoldering wasteland of jobless “takers,” bereft of any “makers.” This is not the “hope” or “change” we were promised, and it may go down in history as one of his biggest failures. Let’s wonksplain.

Setting The Stage

When Obama took his oath of office, Republicans were finally seeing the fruits of their de-regulation labor: skyrocketing unemployment combined with a drastic, almost catastrophic loss of jobs around the country. Big banks, with their risky bets, helped the Republicans bring record numbers of Americans together ... in unemployment lines, church-run soup kitchens, and even to the voting booth. Americans of all stripes showed solidarity with their unemployed brothers and sisters by joining them. Republicans were finally helping an American minority, the unemployed, increasing their clout by increasing their numbers.

The Bush economy pushed unemployment numbers up to 10%. Employment rolls decreased in 11 out of 12 months in 2008, some months by as many as 800,000. And just when Americans were coming together, President Obama sought to put a stop to it. What a dick.


President Obama’s first foray into stopping Republican progress was a stimulus package. Filled with tax-cuts for millions of Americans (clearly an anathema to Republicans) as well as an increase in spending, this multi-billion dollar boondoggle was a fiasco for Republicans. American suffering was stifled, middle class Americans were no longer in economic freefall, and employment slowly started to increase. Rather than let the American auto industry go the way of the dodo bird, the president insisted on saving millions of jobs, because that’s the type of leading-from-behind weak-willed tyrant he is.

In a clearly partisan attempt to bolster his re-election efforts, President Obama was taking a country divided by the have-jobs and the have-no-jobs, and further alienating the have-no-jobs crowd by pushing them into the have-jobs group. Whoever said that this man is in favor of diversity is a fucking liar.

This stimulus package, called a "smashing success" by “researchers” who looked at "data," was anything but a success. It was just a big jobs giveaway program, and the president just got lucky that all his “experts” were “right.”

GOP Hope: Obamacare As A Job-Killer

But the president was not content with bringing jobs to millions of Americans. He also wanted more Americans to have healthcare, like we are some kind of industrialized first-world nation or something. Once again, President Obama divided the country into two groups, the have-healthcare and the don’t-have-healthcare, rather than uniting the country. And knowing the Republican preference was to keep a stable percent of the population uninsured, the president resumed his role as a divider, not a uniter.

Ironically, this gambit gave Republicans hope. They saw this as an opportunity to plunge the country back into an unemployed wasteland, which seems to be their preferred state of affairs. They railed on the teevee, radio, and interwebs about how Obamacare would be a “job-killer,” even using their presidential nominee, Gov. Mitt “Mittens” Romney to deliver the message over and over again. They spoke so fervently about this, one could easily imagine they hoped for Obamacare to be a job-killer.

Even after millions of Americans got healthcare, the Republican-led Congress voted more than 50 times to repeal it, leaving Americans no doubt where Republicans stand on the issue of People Having Healthcare. In fact, just to prove how anti-healthcare they are, Republicans refused to vote on any plan to replace Obamacare, apparently concluding that no healthcare is better than Obamacare. Because they knew, and promised America, that Obamacare would ruin the economy and kill all the jobs.

Once again, the president stubbornly refused to even attempt to find common ground. Maybe the president could have tried to keep the unemployment rate steady at 6.5 or 7 percent? Maybe curtail job growth at 50,000 to 100,000 per month? But no. President Obama was committed to being a partisan hack who believed more jobs and less unemployment was good for the country. HOW CAN IT BE GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY IF IT GETS OBAMA RE-ELECTED, HUH? Bet you never thought of that.

Partisan Hackery Continues

Fast-forward to October 2015 jobs day and we can see that President Obama is unrelenting in his pursuit of partisan economics. 271,000 more jobs added, and an unemployment rate of a mere 5%. And it's not like this is the first or even second time that Obama has had these kind of numbers, says MSNBC's Steve Benen:

October was the 61st consecutive month of positive job growth – the best stretch since 1939 – and the 68th consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth, which is the longest on record.

And so-called experts are saying "The Jobs Report Is Even Better Than It Looks." Here is some of the "data":

  • Wages rose: Average earnings rose by 9 cents an hour and were up 2.5 percent from a year earlier. That’s hardly a huge raise, but it’s significantly faster than inflation, which is running at less than 2 percent per year.
  • The labor force grew: The labor force grew by more than 300,000 in October.
  • Underemployment fell: The number of Americans working part time because they couldn’t find full-time jobs fell by 270,000 in October, following an even bigger drop in the previous month.

Additionally, as if things couldn’t get worse for Republicans, veteran unemployment hit a 7-year low.

All Republicans are asking for is to meet somewhere in the middle. But the president and his cronies in the data-evidence-reality complex stubbornly refuse to even listen to Republicans' ideas for Obama’s policies. There is no aspect of the economy President Obama seems willing to concede to the Republican’s desire for broad-based decline.

It’s almost as if the president has an ideological bent towards data-based, economically sound policies that work in the real world, rather than sound-bite-based policies that have no connection to reality whatsoever.

And that’s just not fighting fair.

[Brookings / 538 / Military Times]


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