July 27, 2009
Hoven's Index: Obama's First Six MonthsBy Randall Hoven
Provided below, in a "Harper's Index" type of format, is the progress made under President Obama so far. In some cases, data from other time periods are given to provide context.
The 2008 deficit under Bush, the largest in history at the time: $459 B. CBO's estimate of Obama's 2009 deficit: $1,845 B.
The total cumulative deficit in Bush's first seven years (2001-2007): $1.5 trillion. CBO's estimate of Obama's first seven deficits (2009-2015): $7.1 trillion.
Average federal debt held by the public from 1980 through 2000: 40.1% of GDP. In 2008: 40.8%. Predicted for 2012: 70.1%. Predicted for 2019: 82.4%.
CBO's predicted cumulative 2010-2019 deficit under laws prior to Obama's budget: $4.4 trillion. Under Obama's budget: $9.3 trillion.
CBO's estimate of federal deficit increase over the next 10 years if Obama's "Affordable Health Choices Act" is enacted: $1 trillion. Net gain in number of people covered by health insurance if enacted: 16 million (of the estimated 49 million without insurance today).
Obama's January 2009 prediction of peak unemployment if his stimulus is not passed: 9%. If it is passed: 8%. Actual unemployment rate, with stimulus passed, in June, 2009: 9.5%. Obama's June 2009 prediction of unemployment later in 2009: 10%.
Non-farm payrolls (total employees) in December 2008: 135,074,000. In June 2009: 131,692,000. Six month job loss (difference): 3.4 million.
Real GDP shrinkage in 2008, all four quarters (Q4 2007 to Q4 2008): 0.9%. Shrinkage in 2009, first quarter only: 1.4%.
Change in number of foreclosures in first half of 2009: +9%.
Number of bank failures in the first seven months (so far) of 2009: 57. Number in the last seven months of 2008: 22. Troop surge in Iraq (Oct. 2006 to Oct. 2007): 19% (from 144,000 to 171,000). Troop surge in Afghanistan (Sept. 2008 to June 2009): 65% (from 34,000 to 56,000).
Detainees held at Guantanamo as of May, 2009: 240.
Of the top 35 corporate contributors in the 2008 election cycle, the number who leaned Democrat: 21. The number who leaned Republican: 1. (That single one leaning Republican was the National Auto Dealers Association.)
Number of auto dealerships being closed by Chrysler in 2009: 789, or 25%. Being closed by GM: 42%.
Fraction of words mis-translated in a message from the US Secretary of State to the Russian Foreign Minister: 100% (one word of a one-word message). (English word: "reset". Translated meaning: "overload" or "overcharged".)
Fraction of DVDs given by President Obama to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom that cannot be played in the UK due to format differences: 100% (25 of 25).
Number of show-tunes on the iPod that President Obama gave the Queen of England: 40.
Number of bows given by Obama to the King of Saudi Arabia: one (that we know of).
Number of soul shakes given by Obama to Hugo Chavez: one (that we know of). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6117242.ece
Number of times Barack Obama meddled in Iran: zero. Number of times he meddled in Honduras: one or more. Number of books read per year by President Bush: "almost 100." Annualized number read by President Obama: "less than 10."
Amount recovered in back-taxes owed by Obama's cabinet appointees: $162,000, at least.
The exact salaries of White House staff after Obama's first-ever Presidential Memorandum "froze" them in January 2009: unknown.
The amount of government employees to be cut from the Defense Department to make it leaner: none; instead, 20,000 will be added to manage weapons acquisitions.
The number of pages in Obama's stimulus package: 1,071. Number of pages in Obama's health care plan: 1,018. Number of pages in the "Cap and Trade" legislation: 1,500. Number of pages in the US Constitution: about eight. Number of these pages read by the average US Congressperson: your guess.
The number of prime-time news conferences given by President Bush in eight years: 4. Number given by President Obama in six months: 4.
President Obama's overall approval rating on his first day in office (Jan. 21): 65%. His most recent approval rating (July 24): 49%.
Number of times a legal challenge to John McCain's status as a "natural-born citizen" has received a full court hearing and a written ruling: one. Number of times for Barack Obama: zero.