Are You Better Off than Four Years Ago? Obama by the Numbers

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September 14, 2012; Source: Reader Supported News (Esquire)

Two Esquire political bloggers, Mark Warren and Richard Dorment, have posted a fabulous “Obama by the Numbers” article that tries to cut through some of the bluster and worse emanating from both of the presidential campaigns during this election cycle. All numbers are subject to interpretation based on source and method, but there’s a lot of enlightening quantitative stuff here that should intrigue nonprofits of all stripes. Here’s a sampling:

Total jobs lost from February 2009 through June 2012 – 4.62 million; total jobs created – 4.304 million; net job loss of 316,000.

Unemployment at the start of the stimulus in February 2009 – 8.3 percent; peak unemployment rate during Obama’s term – 10.0 percent in October 2009; unemployment rate in June 2012 – 8.2 percent;

Thirty million people will gain health care coverage by 2022 due to the Affordable Care Act, 57.2 million people with pre-existing conditions will have access to coverage, 3 million people likely not to have coverage due the SCOTUS decision allowing states not to expand Medicaid, 30 million people will still be uninsured in 2022;

Regarding the auto companies’ bailout under Obama, $12.5 billion loaned to Chrysler, $11.2 billion paid back, $2.9 billion forgiven (including part of a $4 billion Bush Administration loan); $49.5 billion loaned to General Motors, $22.5 billion paid back so far, $27 billion still owed; Treasury’s 500 million shares of GM stock worth about $12 billion; 355,900 auto jobs (manufacturing and retail) lost in 2008, 102,600 lost from January through May 2009, 239,300 jobs added between June 2009 and June 2012;

Federal spending as a percentage of GDP – 25.2 percent in 2009, 24.1 percent in 2010, 24.1 percent in 2011;

Gross national debt in January 2009 – $10.63 trillion; gross national debt in 2012 – $15.86 trillion; gross national debt as a percentage of GDP – 85.2 percent in 2009, 94.2 percent in 2010, 98.7 percent in 2011, 104.8 percent in 2012

Self-reported gun ownership rates – 42 percent in 2009, 41 percent in 2010, 47 percent in 2011.

Foreign oil imports accounted for 60 percent of U.S. daily consumption in 2005, 45 percent in 2011.

There is plenty more in the blog posting. The underlying question that the authors gingerly step over is whether these and other conditions they describe are actually better because of Obama’s policies or whether he has made conditions worse, and whether his Republican opponent would ameliorate or exacerbate them. –Rick Cohen