How big was the change in direction under Obama? In December 2008, America lost 839,000 jobs. By less than a year later, we gained 141,000 in one month and kept growing from there. That is a one million job per month swing since the last time Republicans had power. We grew to add several hundred thousand jobs a month and now, after 29 consecutive months of jobs growth, have added more than 4,500,000 jobs.
For primary source data and stimulus results, see here.
Why is it hard to grow faster? 70% of the economy is based on consumer spending. The net worth of the median American dropped by about 39% as a result of the financial crisis. Americans all feel poor as a result of previous Republican policies, which the GOP now wishes to continue. How is a consumer driven economy going to boom when all Americans were left poor after Republicans in Congress and the Presidency led us to utter collapse?
What is happening with the money that consumers do have? Under Bush, Americans were on a spending frenzy based on pulling money out of their home value like an ATM. Credit card debt was exploding. Growth was based on rapidly expanding personal debt.
Today, Americans step back from credit cards, don't have value to pull from their homes, and have been putting away a large portion of their money as savings. Yes, Republican policy blew up America and now citizens have decided to live within their means and save for a rainy day.
While this does slow economic growth in the near term, do we want to go back to credit driven frenzies of spending to fuel the economy?
What other problems are we still stuck with? Foreclosures peaked not long ago. Each foreclosure takes about three years to pass through the system today. This is a dead weight on the economy.
Not to mention that home builders are not producing as much new housing in this market. Normally, that is a massive growth engine in the economy. The deadweight of foreclosures came with the explosion of the housing market during a Republican administration following Republican economic policies. Home building is now turning forward steadily, which will soon lead to a lot of economic activity and hiring, under a Democratic administration.
What should we remember about Bush?
1. Republicans in Congress today sent Bush all the legislation that he signed and helped him ruin the economy.
2. Republicans voted overwhelmingly against the stimulus, which led to a 1 million job per month swing in the economy and 12.4% swing in gross domestic product.
3. Republicans thought Obama might become too successful after 4,500,000 jobs were added, so they blocked 19 more jobs bills, refusing to even debate tax cuts for small businesses because then they would be on record blocking them.
Note: Republicans are now facing a backlash for blocking 19 jobs bills because America is learning what they did to help the economy with their time in Congress. Read more on that.
4. Romney has hired some of Bush's economic team because they did such good work last time.
In short, Romney wants to return to Bush and Republican style economics.
Republican economic policies ruined America. We are still sorting through some of the charred wreckage from the last Republican-controlled Congress and Presidency. Republicans' biggest complaint after their economic policy burnt the house down leaving everyone's fathers, mothers, neighbors, and relatives unemployed is that Democrats have not cleaned up Republicans' mess fast enough.
Bottom Line. The stimulus was necessary because Republicans burnt the house down. The data shows that the stimulus was a great success, yet all Republicans voted against it, showing yet again their economic policy was wrong for the country.
We've got a lot more damage to work through that still lingers from the last time Republicans were in power. We'll grow much faster then the complete wreckage created by the Republican policies finally has enough time to pass the rest of the way through the system.