Where Are The Jobs?
Over the last three months, the economy has created around 75,000 to 80,000 jobs per month. That slow growth has caused the Republicans to criticize President Obama's economic policies and make claims that they could somehow do better. Just how did we get here? How did this all begin?
Let's first take a little trip down memory lane. In 2001 and 2003, Bush and the then GOP controlled Congress cut taxes and claimed that these tax cuts would pay for themselves and create 200,000 jobs per month. Approximately 38% of the Bush tax cuts went to the top 1% of income earners.
As we all know now, the Bush tax cuts were a disaster. According to the Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal, Bush had the worst jobs creation record since Herbert Hoover. Only 3 million jobs or 31,000 jobs per month were created during the Bush Presidency. (In contrast, 22 million jobs were created during the eight years of the Clinton Administration when tax rates were higher.)
The recession officially began in November 2007. Subsequently, the economy collapsed in 2008 and the U.S. faced it's most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression. By the time President Obama took office, the economy was losing 700,000 jobs per month.
President Obama responded by proposing and convincing the Congress to pass - with Senator Ben Nelson's support - the 2009 stimulus bill. This landmark legislation invested $831 billion in the U.S. economy. Something like $288 billion of the stimulus bill consisted of tax cuts for the American people. It was the biggest middle class tax cut in history.
How did the Republicans respond to this crisis? As we all know, they did everything they could to obstruct legislation that would create jobs - almost every Republican voted against the stimulus bill. Rush Limbaugh gave the game away in 2009 when he said that he wanted President Obama to "fail" and that he hoped the stimulus bill would "prolong" the recession.
As it turned out, the stimulus bill was a success. Three non-partisan sources have said that the stimulus bill prevented a Depression and ended the recession. The horrible job losses that President Obama inherited ended in early 2010, shortly after the stimulus bill took effect. Over the last 28 months, the economy has created more than 4.4 million private sector jobs.
Even though the economy is much better now than it was in January 2009, we Democrats know there is more work to do to continue to improve the economy. The economy continues to grow at a rate that is too slow.
Why does the economy continue to grow slowly? Just what is holding it back? Just how does President Obama plan to improve job growth? That will be addressed in part two of this series.