Chicken Little and the U.S. Recovery

George W. Bush - 43nd President of the United States of America
George W. Bush - 43nd President of the United States of America

President George W. Bush’s legacy to the United States of America will always include two avoidable military incursions on foreign soil and the largest economic meltdown since the Great Depression. Americans have borne the financial brunt of his policies and they will continue to do so for generations to come. Bush II, after eight years in the White House, left the country with a crippled economy, two wars, and a public debt that had increased $4.9 Trillion during his tenure.

It is much too soon to debate what caused this economic downturn. In time, historians will dissect all of the events, choices, and options to determine what brought it on. But, now is an ideal time to address the often-repeated notion everything has worsened under the present administration.

Chicken Little
Chicken Little

"The sky is falling!"

According to prevalent doomsday rhetoric, the US is still plummeting to inevitable fiscal destruction at the hands of an ignorant, delusional, incompetent, misguided cadre of criminal charlatans sworn to annihilate our great country at any cost. But the facts paint a different picture.

In the real world, our nation continues to limp toward a complete economic recovery. Citizens scrimp to cover mortgage payments, healthcare costs, and an uncertain future. Unemployment numbers hover close to 10% while debates about the accuracy of this statistic do little to lessen its harsh reality. A nationwide housing inventory, bloated by unprecedented foreclosures, decimates real estate values. The country still has a long way to go but the future is not all gloom and doom. Any one who feels everything in the US is in worse shape today than two and a half years ago needs to make time to verify the following:

Barack H. Obama - 44th President of the United States of America
Barack H. Obama - 44th President of the United States of America
  1. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10,587 on Jan. 20, 2001 when George W. Bush was inaugurated. It closed 2,638 points (24.9%) lower at 7949 when he left office on Jan. 20, 2009. The index rose 4,689 points (44.3% of 2001) to close at 12,638 on May 6, 2011, less than 2.5 years into President Obama’s first term. 1
  2. On April 22, 2011, the Treasury Department announced $22.1 billion of taxpayer funds committed in March 2009 to the Public-Private Investment program have yielded a $1.7 billion profit with $500 million from dividends and other investment gains. 2
  3. On March 31, 2011, the Treasury Department reported bank repayments to the government under the TARP program amounted to $251 Billion compared to $245 Billion paid out. An additional $20 Billion in profit is expect in the future. 2
  4. The Public Debt, one of the most serious problems for future generations, increased $4.9 Trillion during President G.W.Bush’s Administrations and $3.7 Trillion, between 1/20/2009 – 5/06/2011, under President Obama’s recovery programs. The current administration has not yet matched the increase created by the previous President, although it is likely to happen. An analysis of the history of our national debt confirms Republicans bear most of the responsibility for today’s record level. 3
    Sadly, nothing on the political landscape suggests either political party is anxious to end this trend.
  5. On May 11, 2011, Reuters said this about the job market doldrums:
    WASHINGTON, May 10 (Reuters) – "Data published [by the Federal Reserve] since its last meeting showed U.S. companies created jobs at the fastest pace in five years in April, pointing to underlying strength in the economy. However, the jobless rate -- derived from a separate survey -- rose to 9.0 percent on a modest increase in the size of the labor force." 4
    While the pot may not be boiling, it has begun to simmer.
  6. Higher gasoline prices are largely beyond the control of the US government aside from huge amounts of taxes paid at the pump. They can be expected to rise as the value of the US dollar declines under pressures generated by QE1 and QE2 currency expansions. The dollar should recover when these stimuli are reversed, if it’s not too late. Beside foreign exchange rates and our huge demand, forces beyond our economy drive the price at the pump. On May 10, 2011, The Wall Street Journal Online quoted the Energy Information Administration in the US Department of Energy. "The balance between global supplies and demand will remain tight through 2012, driven by rising consumption in emerging economies and slowing production growth from countries outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries..." 5

 

These are facts. They are not fabricated. They are not spun. They are neither red nor blue. Their origins can be traced through the links below. The economy of the USA is on the mend and most economic indicators point to better times ahead. A reasonable and rational observer should be inclined to agree even though the nation still has a long way to go. While some see a glass half-empty, others argue the glass is half-full. But the facts reveal there is more in the glass than there was 2.5 years ago. The economic picture is less bleak than some pessimistic rhetoric makes it out to be.

"The country needs a little more civilized persuasion..."
"The country needs a little more civilized persuasion..."

Our republic relies on an informed electorate able to make a balanced assessment on all aspects of every issue. All Americans must be able to share the role of governance with those with whom they disagree. The country needs a little more civilized persuasion and a lot less voter ignorance. "Liberty and justice for all" means respecting, and protecting, the rights, aspirations and opinions of all citizens. To do otherwise is tyranny.

 

Q.
Q.

"Our republic relies on an informed electorate able to make a balanced assessment on all aspects of every issue."

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33 comments

Miss Info profile image

Miss Info 5 years ago from New York City

I love facts. Aren't numbers just a bubble of joy? Thanks for the info. I wish everyone took a really hard look at the numbers instead of conjuring lies. Rated up!


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

Thanks, Miss Info, for the visit, the read, and the comment.

Often, when opinions are extreme, there are facts to show the realities are not. Q.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Those who choose to look at only one side of things will of course only see one side. There is more going on behind these numbers. For example, of the so-called $10 billion profit on TARP, remember those funds were turned over to TALF funds -- not kept in the public treasury. Take a good look at TALF before crowing about profits. Much can be said of the other numbers you're quoting.

Increased corporate profits do not equate an increase in the economy, particularly when those increases in bottom lines reflect down sizing on the US front in terms of employees and domestic operations.

The DOW measure trading only, not productivity, which has certainly not increased.

Just as it's foolish to be overly pessimistic, it is blind to buy into unwarranted optimism.

I am not saying the glass is half full or empty. I'm saying the well is polluted.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Very informative Quillographer. There is so much misinformation and propaganda around that no one would know things are improving. People need to become more informed but are just too lazy or busy. You lay out the facts very well.


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

Thanks for this excellent, well-researched hub. Sadly, too many people aren't interested in facts, just the rhetoric that validates their feelings. After correcting a misinformed hubber, I was told I was being disrespectful because he had a first amendment right to be ignorant. I can't begin to imagine what he might tell you. :)

voted up/very useful


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

@Lmmartin: “I am not saying the glass is half full or empty. I'm saying the well is polluted.”

Hi Lynda. Thanks for the visit, the read, and the comments. All three mean a lot to me. Your slant on the quality of the virtual water in the glass is noted. I submit, however, while the country has a long way to go to regain its former economic glory, there seems to be evidence to suggest some areas have improved during the last 2.5 years.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

@ Hschneider: I am grateful for your kind words. There is always misinformation and propaganda around. Any one who repeats my “facts”, or uses them to shape their own conclusions, without verifying their validity deserves to be misinformed. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Q.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

You are welcome, Fay. I guess we all have a right to be ignorant if we so choose. Although there is one thing I have discovered. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. Nice of you to stop by and leave a comment. Q.


Miss Info profile image

Miss Info 5 years ago from New York City

Quilligrapher, I agree. No one is saying that the country is turning surplus - yet. However, no one also seems to be highlighting that there IS indication of some economic progress through the growing production of businesses. Just a few years ago, most businesses were in the red, which the Dow did likewise reflect. The fact that the Dow is increasing via demand (tradability) and its growing underlying stocks, that is a very good sign of an upswing in the economy.

By the way, Immartin, I must correct you on the Dow. The Dow is comprised of stocks. Stocks reflect the earnings of companies. When these companies are doing well, this induces people to trade their stock (hence tradability). Therefore, please don't attempt to justify any difference between tradability and performance. The Dow has been used as an economic indicator for decades in the US.

Furthermore, increased business profit does equate greater taxable income for the government, which stems from businesses increasing sales to consumers within the economy. This is always a sign of business growth and economic productivity.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

@lmmartin: “The DOW measure trading only, not productivity, which has certainly not increased.”

Lynda, to quote data released May 5, 2011 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: “PRODUCTIVITY AND COSTS First Quarter 2011, Preliminary Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 1.6 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The gain in productivity reflects increases of 3.1 percent in output and 1.4 percent in hours worked. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) From the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011, output increased 3.2 percent while hours rose 1.9 percent, yielding an increase in productivity of 1.3 percent.”

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/prod2.nr0.htm

Q.


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 5 years ago from usa

.Quilligrapher

YOU SAID ‘’President George W. Bush’s legacy to the United States

………left President Barack Obama with a crippled economy, two wars, and an empty till.’’

The facts are that up until Jan 2007 the economy was growing under Bush and the control of a Republican Congress. Unemployment was 4.6% and a barrel of oil was $ 45.

In Jan 2007 the Democrats took a majority control of the Senate and the House under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi and majority leader Senator Reid. Note that Senator Obama was in the Senate during 2007 and 2008.

‘’Bush II, after eight years in the White House, left President Barrack Obama with a crippled economy, two wars, and an empty till.’’

The great recession that you point to started in Dec 2007 and supposedly ended in June 2009.Acts of Congress control the economy, the money and legislation to spend the money, do you agree?

‘’It is much too soon to debate what caused this economic downturn. In time, historians will dissect all of the events, ‘’

Tarp funded the financial meltdown including bailing out the auto industry.

High oil prices increasing to over $124 a barrel

The housing mortgage crisis thanks to Frank and Dodd saying that Fannie and Freddie were doing ok

The food and commodity prices skyrocketing do to use of corn to produce ethanol and high gasoline prices

Government regulations on the business sector

To say that Obama and the Democrats were not directly involved in the meltdown of the economy is to be oblivious to what really occurred.

In Jan 2009, the Democrats had a SUPER majority control of the government,100% control from 2009 to Dec 2010 ( 2 YEARS ).The Republicans were shut out of approving any legislation during that time, that’s a FACT. TODAY the Democrats control 2/3s of the government still under the leadership of President Obama and Senator Reid. Isn’t 4 years enough time to fix the economy and the job market?

Blaming the Republicans for the past is disingenuous as to how the nation fell into a deep recession.

‘’These are facts. They are not fabricated. They are not spun.’’


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

Hi Jon. Welcome. Thank you for your lengthy comment. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m only going to reply to the parts that actually apply to the facts in my hub. I don’t think this is the place to respond the things I didn’t say.

First, I restated the premise of this hub to avoid misunderstanding: everything in this country is not in worse shape today compared to two and a half years ago. Some things have improved during that time and I cited examples everyone could verify. I did not intend to imply they represent the whole picture. Therefore, unless there are errors in my facts, the premise is valid.

I did say “Bush II, after eight years in the White House, left President Barack Obama with a crippled economy, two wars, and an empty till.” “An empty till” was hyperbole and I replaced it in the text to make the sentence accurate.

If my facts are in error, please let me know. Thanks again, Jon, for your views. I respect your opinions.

Q.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 5 years ago from UK

I'm in the UK, and as you know, we too have been gripped by the same financial tsunami. Sometimes when you look at figures it's hard to grasp what may be happening behind the scenes. I work in estate agency (real estate) selling and letting both commercial and residential properties. It's been a slow couple of years on all fronts, but just recently, the commercial side has made steady progress. The newspapers are fond of talking about 'green shoots of recovery' and I would guess that the new lettings and enquiries we are receiving at present, are exactly that. Things are changing. I read recently that some UK companies that shifted their manufacturing abroad in the 80s and 90s, are now reversing this policy due to the increasing costs of transportation. I imagine this trend will grow as fuel supplies dwindle. It's been a tough few years, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, both here and in America.


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 5 years ago from usa

Quilligrapher

I apologize for the length of my reply , It seems that some hubbers neglect the true facts of the past regarding who is or was at fault for the recession.

You furnished a link http://www.bls.gov/news.release/prod2.nr0.htm and I read it. I noticed that the figures were only estimates and that the final numbers would be available later.

The Obama Administration figures have repeatedly been amended since Obama took office. Recently the administration reported that the economy has recovered. Members of the financial sector and economist are doubting reports released by the Administration. The truth is not being given to the people based on the actual problems facing the nation. Unemployment has gone up again, food prices have escalated, gas prices are increasing and inflation is just around the corner.

With the flooding along the Mississippi River, farm land and crops are being decimated. Inflation was up and housing values continue to fall. Fannie and Freddie are losing money and are looking for another $ billion bailout.

I appreciate your thoughts.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

Jon,

Welcome back. I thank for your additional comment.

You have convinced me you think President Obama is to blame for ALL the problems that exist in the country today because you haven’t mentioned one single problem in America you think was caused by the other party.

I, however, see some things that have gotten better over the last two years and I wrote about them. Unlike you, I don’t care which party takes the credit. Of all the facts I presented, you found fault with only one based upon preliminary data not yet declared as official. I shall interpret this as your endorsement that my observations about these improvements are valid. I thank you for that. Thanks, also, for your interest in my hub and for your other opinions. Q.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

Amanda, I’m glad to read you are seeing some improvements from your vantage point. I'm looking forward to the day the good economic news exceeds the bad. Hang in there and good luck. Q.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

Thank you, Jon, for your additional comments. I have chosen not to publish them in their entirety because they deal with issues that go beyond the scope of this hub. Your desire to assign blame for the all of the ills in this country is noted. Your persistent arguments about which party caused the economic downturn might be applicable to a hub on that subject but not to this one. Readers may wish to visit the hubs listed on your profile if they are interested in your views.

This hub deals with some areas that have improved during the last two years. It is not about claiming credit or placing blame.

You mention in your latest comment: “President Barak '' I '' Obama took office in Jan 2009 with a super majority control of Congress meaning that the Democrats had 100% control of our government for the first 2 years of his term. The other party ( Republicans ) were literally shut out of contributing any of their ideas in the legislative process and most laws that were passed without their votes for approval.” I paste your words here, out of context, because they are the only part of your last submission that addresses the last two years.

Thanks again, Jon, for your continued interest. I am grateful to you and to all my visitors for the comments that deal with the facts contained within this hub. Q.


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 5 years ago from usa

Quilligrapher

You're welcome

Have a great day


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Excellent. MM


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

Thank you, MM, for the read and for your comment. Both are deeply appreciated. Q.


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 5 years ago from usa

Quilligrapher

A FACT

This past week of 7/9/11 ended with the announcement that unemployment went from 9.1% to 9.2%, real progress for the Obama Administration.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

Hi Jon. Welcome back to my hub. Your latest comment makes it obvious that you are still employed as a basher of the current administration and bent upon ignoring any and all positive indicators. Everyone sincerely interested in being well informed knows these FACTS:

1. There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. (The Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2010)

2. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen from 8,000 on Jan. 30, 2009, following President Obama’s inauguration, to close at 12,657 on July 8th, 2011. This indicates a return of 50+% to investors in just 2-1/2 years.

3. Banks and corporations are currently sitting on huge capital reserves accumulated from profits and government handouts, and they are continuing to reap huge savings from having sent their manufacturing and service jobs offshore.

Obviously, profits do not create jobs. Expansion creates jobs but not for American workers. This all leads me to think high unemployment will remain until the comparative costs for producing in the U.S. entices businesses to bring the jobs back from offshore.

I stated several weeks ago that this hub was not intended to imply that President Obama was the greatest thing since peanut butter and jelly in the same jar. But, to continue to suggest ALL aspects of our society are worse under this administration is to ignore reality. Some things have improved, Jon. You must have noticed. Thanks for your return visit. Q


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

Jon Ewall wrote:

“Quilligrapher

Facts 1 and 2 = past history and No effect on how President Obama and company is handling the present situation.

Fact 3 = the jobs will go offshore only because of government taxes and regulations in addition to higher labor cost here in the US. THAT TOO IS AN OLD STORY.”

Hi Jon. I really respect the reasons you feel the way you do but you continue to disregard my request that you confine your comments to the subject of this hub.

Do you realize that you did not dispute the accuracy of anything I said? Zero net job creation, the increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the growth of corporate cash reserves are all realities under the present administration.

Once again, I regret having to deny your full text about the causes of the deficit problem, taxation legislation, and congressional negotiations because your opinions about these matters do not apply to this hub. If you feel you have more to say then I suggest you publish your own hub. I would like to read it when you do.

Thanks again, Jon, for your interest. You are always welcome to comment but I’m sure you will understand if I ignore any further remarks not relevant to the subject of this hub. Q.


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 5 years ago from usa

Quilligrapher

''Do you realize that you did not dispute the accuracy of anything I said?

WHY WOULD I DISPUTE WHAT YOU WROTE IF YOU ARE CORRECT?

HAVE A GREAT DAY!


Anthea Carson profile image

Anthea Carson 5 years ago from Colorado Springs

Two words: bookmarked and voted up!


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York Author

Welcome, Ms. Carson. I appreciate your compliment, your visit, and your time reading my hub. I'm flattered by your comment. Thank you. Q.


junko profile image

junko 5 years ago

That was the truth the whole truth and those that lie know what you wrote was true. If the Republican-Tea Party is successful in making Obama a one term President, the economy will suddenly become a non-issue. The Nation's debt problems and all other false alarms will be turn off. The Republicans will have their Presidency back and continue the dismanaling of the American Dream. Vote up & useful.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

Hi, Quill: I keep hearing and reading the numbers that say we're in a recovery. Yet, my personal observations of what is happening to a great many people I personally know well, tell me otherwise. At least a third of the people I know have lost their jobs in the last 1-2 years. Those who still have one, are frantically looking for a second part-time job to cover the rising costs of living because their paychecks are now inadequate. A couple of people who were approved for a mortgage a year ago, have finally found homes they wished to purchase, only to find out the banks aren't lending money unless the credit score is perfect. Good isn't good enough anymore. Even if a late payment on the record happened 5 years ago. Even if they don't have any outstanding debt load other than monthly living expenses. I've watched professionals who had positions paying $50,000 a year, being offered only $35-40,000 for the same type of work only with more responsibility and longer hours. My landlord has come to me asking if I know of any good potential tenants. He's having great difficulty finding people who can afford his modest rents. My home town has over 100 Real Estate listings which were repo'd by the banks. They can't even be sold for what's left on the mortgages. I actually know people who go to live with friends or family in the winter because they can't afford to heat their homes if they pay their mortgages. It's really difficult for me to embrace the idea that things are getting better in the last 2 years, considering that 2 years ago, I didn't know anyone who had lost their job.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 4 years ago from New York Author

Hi Terri,

There is no doubt that real estate and job creation have been sluggish and stubborn. Banks are sitting on mountains of cash but they are not lending. Businesses in general saw some modest increases during the first two quarters but the gains never created new jobs. Our economy still has a very, very long way to go and jobs and real estate may never see the levels that existed before the meltdown. Thanks so much for your input. Q.


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 4 years ago from New York Author

@ Terri Meredith

Please note that Jon Ewall responded to your comments with his opinion on why banks are not lending. Mr. Ewall is fully aware that his persistent off topic comments about broader political issues will not be aired on this hub. You may wish to read his hubs or contact him directly through his profile page to learn about his views.

I hope you understand. Q.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

Well, time has proven you correct, @Quilligrapher. Good refresher of thoughts from two years ago and to see how far we have gotten against a constant hurricane of opposition from those whose only agenda is to see Obama fail, even though America clearly approved of his vision more than the Republican phantom version.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

I meant to include this note as well regarding the need for citizen involvement. Our founding fathers were well aware that their experiment would fail if, as John Adams put it, " Public virtue cannot exist in a Nation without private Virtue, and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics."


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 2 years ago from New York Author

@My Esoteric

I do not deserve credit for facts that speak for themselves. Fortunately, two and a half years after these observations, the economy shows signs of continuous improvement. Non-farm jobs have recovered from their staggering lows. New jobs have replenished those lost during the Great Recession but they do not pay as well. Unemployment is still running high so there are not enough jobs for those who want to work. However, the “half full glass” reported two years ago appears to be fuller today. Thanks so much, @My Esoteric, for reading the echoes from my inkwell and for leaving such generous comments. Q.

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