President Obama is making his case for re-election, saying he was able to yank the economy out of its hole and that he's the best person to finish the job.If only we believed that.While politicians sometimes bend the truth - numbers don't lie, and former senator and former Economics Professor Phil Gramm shows us just how lacking this "recovery" has been. In an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal , he points out how this president, before he claims victory for ending the recession, should look at the recoveries of the past and see how far behind we actually are.Our per-capita GDP should be more than $3,500 higher if we were on track with the ten most recent recoveries, and 12 million more Americans should be employed.Looking at the recessions of 1953, 1957, 1973 and 1981 - three and a half years after each started - total employment was on average nearly 5% higher. Today it's still down by that much.And looking at the GDP again - it was more than 7.5% higher than pre-recession levels during those recoveries. Today it's about flat.
People who want to say that this recession was just too big to recover as quickly - only have to look at 1982, and this man - Ronald Reagan - who turned around a recession that saw nearly 11% unemployment.Remember, Reagan cut taxes, reformed social security and limited the power and growth of the federal government and if Obama followed his lead - more than 15 and a half million more people would be employed.That would be enough to cover every single unemployed person today, and practically all of the two and a half million "discouraged" workers and those that were working would be making more than $4,000 more than they were before the recession.But for some reason - Obama doesn't want to do that.If his original budget plan had made it through Congress - he would have increased the federal debt more than all the other presidents combined.So during this re-election effort, selling Americans on being the best person for our economy may be a tougher sell than he thinks.Until American taxpayers feel a recovery in their own lives - reports of success may be greatly exaggerated.
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