Friday, May 20, 2016

Nothing to Boast About

Quick Quiz:

1. Which American President holds the record for the longest period of time during his presidency in which the nation was at continuous war?

2. Which American president has presided over the longest continuous period of economic stagnation since the Great Depression?

The answer to both questions is Barack Obama, but perhaps these dubious achievements should not be held against him. Consider that, on the positive side of the ledger, no president has done more to insure that your daughter can share a restroom with a grown man who thinks he's a woman.

Anyway, The New York Times expatiates on the first question:
President Obama came into office seven years ago pledging to end the wars of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On May 6, with eight months left before he vacates the White House, Mr. Obama passed a somber, little-noticed milestone: He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president.

If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama’s term — a near-certainty given the president’s recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria — he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.

Mr. Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and spent his years in the White House trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate, would have a longer tour of duty as a wartime president than Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon or his hero Abraham Lincoln.
If you're interested in reading about Mr. Obama's economic record there's this:
Obama will end eight years in office without presiding over a thriving economy of the sort America enjoyed in the past. It also suggests that even the mediocre growth of recent years depended on high oil prices, which have collapsed by more than half.

This is the bitter fruit of creationist economics, the erroneous belief that government activity can somehow conjure new wealth and value.

Obama clings to the belief he brought with him into office, that he can legislate and regulate economic activity into existence. He promoted and signed a much-touted stimulus law that gave taxpayers' money to items on a Democratic wish list and to well-connected businesses, while doling out microscopic tax refunds to some workers. Beyond that, Obama's economic policy has consisted of imposing greater burdens on business in the form of labor rulings, environmental regulations, and mandates that increase the cost of job creation.

Higher minimum wages, new mandatory health costs, obligatory paid leave, and new powers for corrupt labor unions all hamper economic growth. For workers to get a larger piece of pie, the pie must grow. And right now, it is growing by only five thousandths per year.
According to Louis Woodhill, growth during Obama's tenure places his near the bottom of American presidencies, an "accomplishment" made the more remarkable by the fact that he came into office during a recession which should have enabled him to achieve higher levels of growth than had he entered during a time of prosperity.

So why does Hillary Clinton think it's a good idea to campaign as the one candidate who'll continue Mr. Obama's economic legacy?