Mike Kueber's Blog

July 15, 2015

Shifting the goalposts

Filed under: Facebook,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 11:07 pm

Progressives and liberals are continually posting graphics on Facebook re: the accomplishments of President Obama.  Yesterday my cousin Pam posted the latest such chart from Occupy Democrats, updated July 13, 2015.  According to the chart, the key metrics that reveal Obama’s greatness are as follows:

  • The Dow
  • The S&P
  • GDP growth
  • Unemployment
  • Deficit percentage of GDP
  • Consumer confidence

I suggested to my cousin that the chart was misleading because of two problems:

  • Seems a bit misleading to compare Obama’s numbers to the bottom of the Great Recession. And since when did progressives start thinking that the Dow and S&P were important metrics of presidential success?

When my cousin responded by pointing out that the starting date (January 9, 2009) was Obama’s inauguration date, I countered:

  • That’s like Ann Richard’s joke that George W. was born on third base and thought he had hit a triple. But getting back to my major point, this chart is a major shifting of the goalposts for the anointed one. Surely, you didn’t elect him president in order to increase the stock market or shore up consumer confidence. Most Americans wanted him to strengthen the middle class, reduce poverty, deal with our illegal immigration problem, and make health insurance affordable. His only ostensible success is ObamaCare, which made health insurance affordable mostly by turning it into a federal welfare program.

I think a fairer chart would comprise the following metrics:

  1. Median income, adjusted for inflation
  2. Rate of poverty.
  3. Number of illegal immigrants in America
  4. Percentage of Americans who can afford to buy health insurance

According to FactCheck.org, median income has gone down and rate of poverty has gone up.   The number of illegal immigrants appears to have plateaued because of several demographic forces (e.g., the tepid American economy is not as great a magnet, while the number of people in other countries who are attracted to America is down).  And finally, CNN says the percentage of uninsured Americans has gone down from 18% to 12% under ObamaCare.  According to the NY Times, 86% of the 11.7 million Americans with ObamaCare received a government subsidy. According to US News, ObamaCare added 10.8 million people to Medicaid so that now almost 70 million people are covered under Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).

Some progressives might argue that President Obama has been hamstrung by a Republican Congress, but that argument fails to appreciate that Americans turned the Congress from blue to red because of its antipathy toward ObamaCare.  Indeed, even Massachusetts replaced Teddy Kennedy with a Republican senator in an unsuccessful effort to defeat ObamaCare.

Based on President Obama’s achievements, I don’t think the progressives should be dusting off a place on Mt. Rushmore for him.


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