If you are experiencing some sort of confusion from the title, that means we are on the same page already. One the night of Barack Obama’s 3rd State of the Union Address, with all the GOP debates going on these days, and what with all the “mud-slinging”, “slandering”, and “food stamp-isms” being thrown around, it is hard for anyone to know what to believe. So, I decided to do some research on my own. But first, the backdrop: by my very nature I am a Libertarian, and proud of it. I believe in free markets, the right to bear arms (and use them in self-defense), the right to drive an 8-valve pickup truck, the right that women have a choice on abortion, freedom of religion, freedom of peace, but most importantly, the belief that the federal government should stick to world politics and the state and local governments should be in charge of enforcing the peace and prosperity of their citizens. In other words, Congress, get out of the way. My political preference might not sit well with some of you, but in typical Libertarian fashion, I am used to it and accept it.
Enough of the soap-boxing and on to the topic. After watching the last dozen or so Republican debates, I was left with a lot of questions. How bad of a president is Barack Obama? How many jobs has he “created” or “destroyed”? Why are they calling him the Food Stamp President? So, being the inquisitive Libertarian that I am, I decided to hit the web (aka Google) for some answers (thanks Larry, Sergey, and free enterprise). What I came up with has both satisfied my suspicions and elevated my fears. For the sake of time and space, I will limit my analysis to 5 subjects, complete with references: the unemployment rate, the federal debt, food stamps, Newt’s “child labor” claim, and why Obama feels the best route for the U.S. is to turn it into another European country.
First, I decided to look at unemployment. As we all know by now, Barack Obama has been touting his success in lowering the U3 unemployment rate to 8.5%. Great job. But, as most of us know, the U3 number only takes into account those of the population without jobs and have actively searched for work within the last 4 weeks. 4…weeks. Does anyone else see the problem with that number? I was out of work recently…for 6 months, not 4 weeks. So that means for the first month of my unemployment I was listed in the U3 number, and the rest of the time in the U6 number. The U6 rate is a bit more comprehensive: it represents those of the population who are unemployed, underemployed (part-time looking for full-time), the marginally attached (gave up looking for work due to lack of qualifications or lack of jobs), and discouraged workers (took a job just to have a job but are still looking for THE job). As of December of 2011 that number was 15.2%. The highest it got while Obama was in office? 17.2% back in October of ’09. The highest it got between the years 2000 and 2009, while Obama was not in office? 13.5% in December of 2008, a month after Obama was elected but prior to his taking office. Also note that the 17.2% was the highest the U6 ever got since 1994. The take-away: Obama’s latest 15.2% unemployment rate is still higher than any rate from any month since 1994 while he was not in office, and all this information can be found here.
Now, on to the federal debt. This one was easy to find, and one of the most disturbing to look at. The latest tally of U.S. Federal Debt is $15.5….wait for it….trillion, ending fiscal year 2011. Sounds like a big number, huh? But wait, let’s add some perspective to that number. At the end of fiscal year 2008, the last year of Bush’s presidency, it was $10 trillion. Whoa, another big number! Here’s one more: the estimated federal debt at the end of Obama’s term is $16.7 trillion. Now let’s do the math. Let’s see…..carry the 1, divide by 3, throw in a polynomial….aha! Under Barack Obama, our debt as a nation could potentially be 67% more than it was before Obama was president. The take-away: either his checkbook was stolen or he signs them arbitrarily in his sleep. Either way, not good for the country and all this can be found here.
Let us move on to Newt Gingrich’s claim that Barack Obama “is the best food stamp president America has ever seen”. Well, to the numbers! During Obama’s term in office, 18 million individuals were added to the food stamp recipients list. That is 26.2 million more than Bill Clinton and 15.5 million more than Jimmy Carter, just for a same-party-affiliation perspective. However, that is also 7 million more than George Bush (43) added. The take-away here? It sure looks like to me that the current president has no issue with 46.2 million Americans being on government handouts, 39% of which he alone added. Again, all this can be found here.
Another popular Newt Gingrich claim that his opponents love to attack him on is his comment that if poor kids would get jobs that they would gain confidence, experience, self-satisfaction, and yes, money. Well, for someone who has had a job since he was 13 and bought his first vehicle when he turned 16, I find it hard to disagree with the ol’ Newt’ster. However, I wanted to dig into the numbers of how many kids over the age of 16 had jobs. What I found was astonishing. In December of last year, 23.1% of the population between the ages of 16-19 were unemployed. According to the government definition, that is 23.1% of those teenagers were looking for work for 4 weeks. Just imagine how high that is given the more true U6 number! What is more is that number has changed little over the 12 months detailed in this report. There are other disturbing numbers in report, but for the purposes of this post I just wanted to focus on those unable to become “child laborers”. My take-away: stop whining, get a job, and grow up!……if Obama will let you.
I want to end this post with the often heard, often repeated, but little understood claim that Barack Obama is more than a Democratic president, but a socialist leader looking to turn the U.S. into another Greece or Italy. While there are no numbers associated with this example, the similarities are all right there: Socialized healthcare? Check. Higher taxes? Check. More government involvement in private business? Green energy, labor laws, job suppression? Check, check, and check. Simply put, from the perspective of someone who is neither a Republican or a Democrat, a Liberal or a Conservative, it is fairly obvious that the current president wants to incorporate as much of the government into our daily lives as possible, even it it means going against the Constitution. And that is something I will never vote for.