The Great Obama Welfare State
Much has changed in America since Barack Obama was sworn into office as the 44th president of the United States on January 20, 2009. In less than 1,000 days as chief executive of the U.S., President Obama's failed policies and initiatives have resulted in a dizzying array of dismal economic statistics. As it stands now, Obama appears headed toward an economic legacy that may very well surpass Jimmy Carter in its level of failure.
We have seen under this president an expanding number of citizens who are partially or wholly dependent on the government for their very livelihood, as the data show that the U.S. has become an ever-growing welfare state under Obama.
Government dependence, which is defined as the percentage of persons receiving one or more federal benefit payments, is at a staggering 47%, its highest level in American history, while 21 million households are reliant on food stamps. In fact, government spending on food stamps in 2010 ($68 billion) was double what it was in 2007, with the 2011 figure likely to be even higher.
According to the August employment report from the Department of Labor, the nation's unemployment rate remained at 9.1% with a total of zero jobs added to the economy during the month. Among demographic groups, Latinos had an unemployment rate of 11.3%, while African-Americans posted a rate of 16.7%. For blacks, that represents the highest unemployment rate for this group since 1984 and a rate more than double that of whites (8%).
When Obama took office in January 2009, the nation's unemployment rate stood at 7.8%, a rate higher than the historic norm, yet far below the current rate, and above any rate during the Bush administration. Since June 2009, six months into Obama's term, the nation's unemployment rate has been at or above 9% during 25 of 27 consecutive months.
Those are the official unemployment rates. The real unemployment rate, as it is sometimes referred to, rose to a seasonally adjusted 16.2% in August. That rate, as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, includes those in the official unemployment rate plus those who have given up looking for a job and those who are working part-time but wish to work full-time. This figure is now at its highest rate since August 2010 and represents about one out of every six potential American workers now without a job.
The economic numbers are especially poor for the demographic groups that most supported Barack Obama at the polling booth in November 2008.
Take Wayne County, Michigan, for example, where President Obama made a Labor Day economic speech. This county, which includes the city of Detroit, voted for Obama at a rate of 74% in 2008. It has been estimated that Detroit's "Real Unemployment Rate" might be upwards of 45%, and Michigan remains the state with the dubious honor of having the highest unemployment rate.
On a state-by-state basis, seven of the ten states with the highest unemployment rates voted for Obama in 2008, with Alaska, Georgia, and South Carolina being the exceptions.
Among the aforementioned Latino and African-American groups, with their higher than average unemployment rates, Obama carried 67% and 96% of these groups in the 2008 election.
These woeful economic figures have come during a time in which we have experienced the most government involvement in the economy since the days of FDR and government spending without parallel in our nation's history.
The list of taxpayer-paid government bailouts and government spending under the Obama administration is seemingly endless and has resulted in our national debt now above $14.7 trillion.
All of this is wearing on the American people, and rightfully so. According to a recent Gallup poll, President Obama's approval numbers have sunk to 48% among Hispanics versus 75% during his first month in office, while his approval figures among African-Americans have dropped to 84% from 92%. Each represents the lowest approval numbers he has had among these groups, which, recall, overwhelmingly supported him for president in 2008. Overall, Obama's approval number has slipped back down to 41%.
Now, President Obama has said he wants to spend hundreds of billions of dollars more to stimulate the economy. The American people can't take much more.
President Obama has thrown billions upon billions of dollars at the U.S. economy with nothing to show for it. His so-called stimulus policies have been, in fact, contractionary and his presidency stands to be remembered as nothing short of an economic failure.
Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the Midwest. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.