Nothing seems to upset Barack Obama like being ignored. He is the President, after all, and "The One." Yet, as the negotiations on a debt ceiling deal bob-and-weave along in Washington, he grows visibly angrier that he's not getting his own way. This week he reportedly "stormed out" of discussions after Majority Leader Eric Cantor suggested the two sides were still pretty far apart on a solution.
If Obama wants some insight as to why the Republicans don't seem willing to just accept his ideas, he needs to look no further than his own record. As the following two charts demonstrate, the policies implemented by the Democrats on his watch the last couple of years are an abysmal failure, having come up far short of even his own promises.
The first chart is based upon the White House's own report of January 9, 2009, The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. At the time, President-elect Obama was trying to sell Congress on his Stimulus plan. His economists projected unemployment rates if no action was taken and a much more favorable estimate if the Stimulus were passed and implemented. As we all know, the Democrat majority obliged him.
Added to the White House's projections is a green line showing what actually happened post-Stimulus. As you can see, the unemployment rate immediately exceeded Obama's worst case projections. The current unemployment rate is about 2 percentage points higher than he predicted would be the case with his Stimulus. That translates to more than 2.7 million additional people out of work than he promised under his plan.
In fact, unemployment after his $800 billion Stimulus is higher than he said it would be had the government done nothing at all, which leads to the conclusion that his Stimulus actually made the jobs market worse. The latest report from his Council of Economic Advisors confirms that conclusion by admitting there are now 300,000 fewer jobs "saved-or-created" by the Stimulus than they claimed just six months earlier.
Further, in the January 2009 document, Obama said with his Stimulus that by the end of last year, more than 3.5 million new jobs would have been created with a total workforce of 137.5 million people, having recovered to about the same as the pre-recession workforce size. He missed by 7.3 million. At the end of last year, only 130.2 million Americans had a job, which is why John Boehner keeps asking, "Mr. President, where are the jobs?"
The second chart depicts the nation's debt from 1980 when it could still be counted in billions to the current $14.5 trillion. Yes, America has steadily accumulated more debt over the last three decades, but never at the rate or amount of the last two plus years when $5 trillion was added to the total, a 50 percent increase.
Failure – particularly failure of this magnitude – does not deserve to be rewarded. Why should the GOP, more importantly the rest of America, trust the President whose policies have failed so miserably to now be the architect of the next economic plan?
In January of 2009 the voters gave Barack Obama a chance. He had it, and now we know it didn't work. If nobody is listening to Obama, it is with good reason. He's done a poor job of steering the ship of state, and America needs a new captain in charge. That's the message that was sent by the voters last November, and it will be delivered again in 2012.