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Does President Obama Deserve Credit when Murder Rates Fall?
Un-Approved for the Truth?
Recently there has been some talk, including in Hubpages, about one of President Obama's successes, the murder rate in the US has dropped in the last year. The theory goes like this, murder rate dropped, must be something that Obama is doing...
Well I posted a comment to one such article and the comment went something like this;
It is a misnomer that a bad economy increases crime. During the US great Depression crime went down. In the roaring 20's crime rose significantly. Then I gave a link to NPR, (definitely not a right wing outpost) that backs up that statement.
Next I suggested that property crimes do show some increase in poor economic times but the theory goes is that cutbacks in police and law enforcement allow criminals to commit multiple crimes without being caught because of cutbacks in law enforcement. (Granted this may be modestly controversial but it is certainly not crazy???)
I suggested that in fact this decrease in murder rates may be a true indicator that we are in a bad economy and little more. Followed by a minor quip about money then may be the root of all evil... (I know...it is the love of money that is the root of all evil...another truism that is misquoted.)
My Comment was Unapproved
Ha! I couldn't believe it. It was initially posted then...removed. What was so anti-Obama or untactful about my comments? I wish I had it word for word but I captured the essence above. In fact someone even suggested the criminals can't afford bullets anymore so I now it was up for a while. I suspect as in many cases, we can not allow facts and truth to undermine the opinion of an ideologue.
The Real Truth about Crime and This Down Economy
I don't claim to be an expert but do a simple test yourself, google something like "crime rates in a down economy" you will see story after story about how the crime rates are falling. Sure if you dig deep, there are pockets where it may be going up. Sure things like shoplifting go up but overall crime is going down in this bad economy.
The bigger truth is that crime rates have been going down steadily since the 90's. (see photo above.) Theories are abound about why and how this all works but the truth is nobody really knows. To suggest that this president had anything whatsoever to do with the reduction in murder is simply being misinformed.
To be fair, while I don't really give him credit for the lower murder rate, I also don't blame the president for one failed terrorist attack on the US. It was bound to happen sooner or later. I just thank God it was a failed attack.
Credit Where Credit is Due?
This of course leads to another political truism, for those in leadership, if they get the blame for all the bad stuff then he should get the credit when things go well. Another example is, when the economy is bad and you are the sitting president you get the blame. When it is good you get the credit. That is just the way it is sometimes... but does this president accept both the blame and credit? Let's have a closer look.
The Buck Stops Here...Sometimes
In a recent article in the associated press, again not exactly knows as a bastion of conservative thinking, the writer is poking fun at the president because a year into his administration,Obama is still blaming Bush. Now give the writer of the story some credit, he's trying to make the case that things are better under this president but he's not getting the credit because, as he accurately points out, people don't want to know that things are "less worse" than they could have been, they want them better. This suggest that the blaming Bush strategy is probably a bad idea.
My question then is this, if Obama gets credit for the drop in homicide, just because he's president, then, why doesn't he get the blame for the bad jobs numbers 1 year after he spent a trillion dollars to fix it? A rhetorical question indeed.
This serves to point out a couple of life lessons about politics and human nature I guess;
Lesson 1 - Facts and truth do not get in the way of a good truism in politics.
Lesson 2 - In politics today, the buck stops here except when there's bad news, then blame someone else.
I'm certain there are more lessons but the facts are the facts and it is frustrating that ignorance is allowed to continue. I'll get off my soap box now.
Crime Rate Quiz
view quiz statistics
The Blame/Credit Poll
Does Obama Deserve Credit for the Lower Murder Rate?
The Blame/Credit Poll - Part 2
Does Obama deserve blame for the floundering jobs numbers and bad economy?
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