Paul Ryan recently asked the question, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”
Recall that 2008 was the final year of G.W. Bush’s last term in office. During 2008, the financial crisis hit hard as investors realized that the investments they had been sold, consisting mainly of subprime mortgages, were essentially worthless. Our credit system froze up, and Lehman Brothers went bankrupt.
Foreclosures and bankruptcies skyrocketed, and President Bush and his treasury secretary stampeded Congress into passing the TARP legislation. TARP did bail out the big banks and financial companies on Wall Street but did nothing to help those on Main Street.
Over the course of the next 18 months, some 7 million people lost their jobs, and GM and Chrysler came to Washington saying they were only weeks away from going broke.
On Nov. 18, 2008, Willard Romney authored an article in the New York Times titled “Let Detroit go Bankrupt.”
President Obama inherited this economic disaster when he was inaugurated in January 2009, and he set about trying to clean up the mess the Republicans left behind. He wisely did not take the man from Bain’s advice and, as a result, GM and Chrysler are strong and healthy today, and hundreds of thousands of jobs were saved.
In the face of intense Republican opposition, President Obama and the Democratic Congress passed the stimulus bill, which, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, saved a minimum of 3 million jobs.
From the low point reached in February 2010, private sector employment has expanded by 4.5 million jobs. In fact, we have had 30 consecutive months of private sector job growth. Unemployment is still far too high, but it is coming down.
Exports are up substantially, manufacturing jobs are coming back, and corporations are sitting on mountains of cash.
The stock market is back at near record levels, interest rates are low, so, in many respects, things are much better than the near-depression that President Obama inherited. Let’s re-elect President Obama and let him finish the job.