Barack Obama

Obama in 2010: 'We can't afford' the Kinds of Results That Obama Ended up Producing From 2011-16

If the State of the Union is used as an accountability tool, Obama has a lot to answer for


RAAAAACIST! ||| Reason

Remember "this generation's Sputnik moment"? No? Maybe that's because the moment vanished into thin air just seconds after President Barack Obama heralded its alleged existence in the 2011 State of the Union Address.

Perhaps you recall 2010's promise to "double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America"? This target was important enough that we received progress reports in 2011 ("Already, our exports are up") and 2012 ("we're on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule"). The results on deadline-day? Uh, 52 percent of the way there.

State of the Union addresses are so jam-packed with worn-out rhetoric, stillborn initiatives and unacknowledged impotence that those of us with the questionable habit of watching them year after year tend to fling ourselves, with ample justification, straight to the drinking game.

But these emetic pageants also present a rare opportunity to hold the taxpayers' most powerful employee accountable for his misfired words, ideas, and deeds, a process that can throw off some important lessons about the limited utility and effectiveness of government power.

So it's worth noting, while watching whatever stirring words tumble forth tonight, that they are issuing from the same lips that said the following in 2010:

Tonight all of our men and women in uniform, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and around the world, they have to know that we—that they have our respect, our gratitude, our full support. And just as they must have the resources they need in war, we all have a responsibility to support them when they come home. That's why we made the largest increase in investments for veterans in decades last year. That's why we're building a 21st century V.A.

Bolding mine. By 2014, that 21st century V.A. was looking mighty 19th, with appalling wait times for veterans, cover-ups by bureaucrats, and worse. It was no longer the go-to model for government-run health care.

And yet the man ultimately responsible for that mess described the V.A. thusly in his State of the Union Address of just a few months prior: "We'll keep slashing that backlog so our veterans receive the benefits they've earned and our wounded warriors receive the health care—including the mental health care—that they need." Or maybe government just doesn't know what the hell it's doing, including when it is doing very bad things.

There will be many nods at the president's legacy in this last turn at the lectern tonight, and there will be no lack of journalistic examinations of what promises he has failed to keep. But I suspect when the dust of history clears a bit, Obama will be judged on the effects of his economic policies in the wake of the financial crisis. And while he was already trying to spike that particular football last year ("[T]he verdict is clear. Middle class economics works"), a closer look at the man's own stated benchmarks for success illustrate something closer to the opposite.

Here's what Barack Obama said in the 2010 State of the Union address:

We can't afford another so-called economic "expansion" like the one from the last decade, what some call the "lost decade," where jobs grew more slowly than during any prior expansion, where the income of the average American household declined while the cost of health care and tuition reached record highs[.]

Obama presided over the slowest recovery since World War II. Median household income has fallen. Tuition and health care costs have reached record highs. The "lost decade" is at around 15 years and counting.

Tonight, the president will say that the state of our economic union is strong, and he will have some positive trend numbers to cite for that argument. But the lived-in reality of America, the consequences of bailout economics, continues to defy both the rosy depictions and the fatuous predictions of mere politicians.

NEXT: Iran Holding American Sailors Who It Claims Drifted into Its Territorial Waters

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  1. “But I suspect when the dust of history clears a bit, Obama will be judged on the effects of his economic policies in the wake of the financial crisis.”

    Three little letters disprove that, FDR.

  2. President Trump will deliver some entertaining and memorable SotU addresses.

    1. With class, real class.

      1. We’re going to be so tired of winning.

      2. How many products will he hawk, you think?

        1. I’m not just a customer, I’m also the President.

        2. How many times will he slap his dick on the lectern?

    2. You know that kinda hot chick from South Carolina, what’s her name, the governor?

      If I were her, I’d think twice about running on Trump’s ticket.

      I think Trump would have a hard time attracting a quality running mate. I’m sure Carly wouldn’t bother returning his calls.

      Maybe Rubio.

      1. Not sure if you saw the Coulter link in the PM thread but she was suggesting Mitt

      2. Try Susana Martinez. Republican Governor of New Mexico. On Time’s 100 most influential people in the world, back in 2013.

        Hispanic, helps bring in a swing state (maybe). And the hatred from the left towards a, whatever-is-the-Hispanic-equivalent-to-Uncle Tom, would be another cherry on the Troll Sundae that’s been the Trump campaign

  3. hold the taxpayers’ most powerful employee accountable

    He is not an employee. I know people love to say “hey, you work for us, pal!” but the truth of the matter is…he doesn’t. Try firing him before four years is up. And in what way can he possibly be held accountable? Is he going to get impeached for lying?

    “If I were registered to vote, I’d send these clowns a message by staying home on election day and dressing up like a clown.”

    1. Yeah, “employees” don’t get to write executive orders that rearrange the rights of their employers–but Obama does.

        1. Yeah, we’re all working for them!

    2. So – a regular Wednesday for you then?

      1. Wednesday is my night with your mom. Thursday is clown night, though sometimes the two are indistinguishable. Your mom can get pretty crazy, as I’m sure you know.

        1. My mom’s dead – so any craziness is you living out your own personal screening of ‘Psycho’.

          1. Wow, Ag takes it to the next level…

  4. I think Obama should wait and see if the Iranians release our soldiers before he takes a victory lap on his dealings with Iran on their nuclear and missile programs, too.

    “Obama presided over the slowest recovery since World War II. Median household income has fallen. Tuition and health care costs have reached record highs. The “lost decade” is at around 15 years and counting.”

    That is soooooooo homophobic and racist of you, Matt.

    And misogynist, too!

    1. I bet he’s practicing two version of his speech.

      One if the Iranians give us back our troops before the speech starts and another if they don’t.

      The version if they don’t doesn’t mention his efforts with Iran at all.

  5. …tend to fling ourselves, with ample justification, straight to the drinking game.

    Lushes. I told you.

    1. Since when do lushes care about justification for drinking? As long as you still care whether or not other people think you might have a problem, you don’t have a problem. You can get as drunk as you like as often as you like and as long as you feel ashamed about it afterwards, there’s no problem. If you stop being ashamed of how much and how often you drink, however …..well, then you still don’t have a problem I guess because who gives a fuck?

  6. We’ll keep slashing…our veterans…

    Death panels. I knew it.

    1. Yeah, these veterans that Obama cares so much about are the same people he’s stigmatized and likely to end up on his list of people who can’t buy guns because they’ve sought help for PTSD.

  7. He would be better off not mentioning the economy. Even the young jug heads that voted for for “The One” know the lie that is the Obama economic job recovery given that they live it every day. They’re stupid not blind. Of course they’ll probably still buy his lies about gun control cause they just can’t help themselves.

    1. A lot of people truly believe the economy is pumping along extremely successfully (including some writers on this site).

      Maybe I’m relying too much on anecdotal evidence, but I just don’t see it. To me, I see an economy struggling to grow while being strangled and not being allowed to thrive.

      1. Nonsense! Just look at the stock market!

        Oh, wait….


  8. Obama presided over the slowest recovery since World War II.

    He was handed the worst economy since forever. He didn’t ask for it, but it was thrust upon him and he took up the mantle reluctantly (some would say so reluctantly as to be not at all). It was so bad Cash for Clunkers couldn’t even save it. That’s how bad the Bush economy was.

    1. It was so bad that it will continue to plague Hillary for the next 8 years. Nothing can be done. So how about gun control.

      1. Just as consumer confidence was hindered by racism against Barry, it will be hindered by sexism again Hillary. When will America grow out of its right-wing culture of hate?

    2. Yep, the guy who swore he was smart enough to fix everything never anticipated that people would actually expect him to fix anything. Especially anything as mundane as the economy.

  9. I’m hopin’ last week’s episode of The Expanse will be running during the State of the Union, so I can show up as a statistic somewhere of people who knew the President was on but would rather watch reruns instead.

    1. I’m watching a mind-numbingly stupid show on the Disney channel with my kids. Still a better option than watching the light bringer.

      1. The Disney channel is brutal.

        Forcing terrorists to watch more than an hour of that shit should be against the Geneva Conventions.

        1. Disney’s animated shows are tolerable, but the live action shit is a crime against nature.

      2. I once watched Blues Clues with a bunch of horrible three-year-old’s, and I made a point to answer all of the questions correctly. They thought I was a genius.

        1. You know, you strike me as the kind of guy who would make a great Little League coach for a bunch of foul-mouthed unruly kids.

          1. Bad News Retards?

            1. Something like that. Needs more beer, though.

              1. As long as it stars ROB LOWE alongside Crusty.

            2. Bad News Retards is a great name for a band.

          2. I would be a fine role model.

            I would throw batting practice with a bucket of beer right next to the bucket of balls.

            1. …While you deal with a feisty runt.

              1. Amanda (Tatum O’Neal) was the shits. She was the real role model.

  10. “Obama presided over the slowest recovery since World War II. Median household income has fallen. Tuition and health care costs have reached record highs. The “lost decade” is at around 15 years and counting.”

    This is the new normal. And by new normal we mean to say, success!

    1. Consumption is bad for Gaia. Anything that cripples consumption provides good feels to the primitivists.

      1. There’s a couple in my family that offer witty observances about our evil over-consumption. They think they’re educating us when in fact they bore us to death with their nonsense. For example, the other day I was drinking Ginger-Ale and they informed me it wasn’t made with ‘real’ ginger while inferring we fell for marketing ploys to ensure consumption.

        Imagine that.

        The second the geniuses said that I said,

        ‘Ma, do you have more ginger-ale?’

        1. There is also the fact that most common ginger ales actually do have ginger extract in them, which- unless you like chewing on roots- is essentially what you get from any ginger ale making process. People say there is no ginger because the ingredients don’t list it, however companies like Canada Dry do use ginger- they just mix it with other flavors in a proprietary recipe and then cludge all those ingredients together into “natural flavoring”.

          1. Prog response: Natural “flavoring” What’s the flavoring? Yeah right! You buy that? CORPORATIONS!

        2. Rufus, this is over in the ‘Bernie-bots can’t count’ thread

          “EscherEnigma|1.12.16 @ 2:29PM|#
          Complaining about mathematical illiteracy?
          Sorry, but the “Free Market” *loves* mathematical illiteracy. Even if you ignore the industries that explicitly thrive on such (the lottery, every casino ever, anyone giving you “hot tips” for the stock market), move industries rely on it sooner or later. Whether you’re talking about pricing men and womens products differently, to a grocery store under-cutting on staples but bumping the price on other goods, to permanently having something on “sale” but having the “normal” price at twice the list price… that’s the Free Market.”

          I’m guessing he keeps buying the bargain-special and it keeps breaking.

          1. WTF/WUT/LOL/OMG?!

          2. I went over there and saw this. Holy mother of baby Jesus in the manger, Joseph (that stud) and The Three Wise Men”

            Tm1234|1.11.16 @ 6:06PM|#

            Sorry to breakup the pseudo-intellectual masturbation fest, but as someone working in economic development with a masters in international developmental economics, this article is wildly inaccurate and misleading. Free markets do not exist in practice. They never have and never will due to economies of scale, consolidation, and monopolistic competition. Sanders policies have the backing of nobel laureate political economists joseph stiglitz and paul krugman. Clinton’s secretary of labor, robert reich wrote sanders’ economic policies. If you want a ‘free market’ paradise, lets look at countries that fit that bill, India, Philippines, and most of the African continent. There is next to no regulation or government involvement in many parts of these nations. What happens? Companies literally have to build infraatructure for their employees housing, garbage disposal etc. There was a great article in the ny times a few months back explaining this in detail. How about our own history? The us during the robber barron/gilded age era woth mass social unrest and poverty from 1870-1920s. Not exactly the high points moments of social progress.

            OMG. If this guy is for real, no wonder things are fucked up.

            1. Like most proggies, s/he presumes “free market” means buying from mom-and-pop operations, not “without government interference”.
              The claims re: India and Africa are just flat-out lies and the 1870s to 1920s were times of great economic growth, while ‘social unrest’ was nothing like later in the 20th century:
              Wiki American civil unrest
              I’m guessing s/he’s a run-of-the-mill proggy with pretensions and no compunction about lying.

        3. Good thing you weren’t drinking a Coke, otherwise they would have really burst your bubble by informing you that it does not in fact contain any real cocaine.

  11. “straight to the drinking game.”

    Which is the only thing that matters right now. Who is the official ref? Someone needs to yell “Drink” and it can’t just be all ‘every-person for themselves’, else we’ll have anarchy. Someone must bring us ORDER

    1. You know who else sought ORDER in a drinking establishment…?

      1. My waitress?

      2. Putsch that beer away and watch the damned speech.

  12. What was his ‘fire me if I don’t deliver!’ un-employment rate?
    What ever it was, he didn’t get in the same area-code, and we never heard about it again.

    1. IIRC, it was 10% – but it wasn’t exactly a “fire me if I don’t deliver” target. What he said was if he didn’t deliver he would not get nor would he deserve a second term. Obama ran for a second term he himself said he didn’t deserve – suggesting Obama lacks the grace and humility of Lyndon Fucking Johnson.

  13. Obama presided over the slowest recovery since World War II. Median household income has fallen. Tuition and health care costs have reached record highs. The “lost decade” is at around 15 years and counting.

    Which would have been worse if not for Obama’s policies. That is how bad Bush was.

    1. Those are some pretty depressing graphs

  14. Sign the petition to get Rand on the main debate “Change .org-Put Rand Paul on the main debate!”

  15. OT: I blame all of you J.J. Abrams nerds for 11.22.63

    1. Yawn. Unless he’s killing baby Hitler GTFO. Would the world really be material different if Kennedy had lived? Nope.

      1. Maybe things we wouldn’t get so bad and then we wouldn’t suffer REAGAN!!

      2. Yes, because Kennedy would have been exposed for the POS he was versus martyrdom.

          1. +1 triple fried-egg chili chutney sandwich

    2. Pretty sure it’s all King’s fault.

      1. Elvis killed Kennedy!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

        1. The Reverend Wayne says so.

        2. “There’s a little rack along the front of the the counter bearing religious tracts, free for the taking, donation requested. Several slots on the rack are occupied by the Reverend Wayne’s famous bestseller. How America Was Saved from Communism: ELVIS SHOT JFK.

      2. What was the last good King book?

        1. His “cell phones turn you into zombies” novel was kind of meh.

          1. This “cell phones turn you into zombies” TV episode, however, is freaking excellent.

          2. Like most of his books, Cell was great, right up until the shoehorned supernatural bullshit explanation for it all. See, e.g, The Stand, The Shining.

            That said, though I’ve not read it, 11.22.63 is supposed to be good. The last 2.5 Dark Tower books I’ve read—who gives a fuck about Dark Tower 8?—were so bad, I’ve sworn off King for now.

      3. Imagine if Henry VIII blamed everything on Henry VII?

    3. I need you to go back there to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy creation of Treadstone.

    4. I want to take those numbers away and replace the title with

      James Franco in: Diarrhea

  16. stillborn initiatives

    Nice band name.

    1. Argh! ALBUM!

      1. Please give it up for President Prettyboy and the Stillborn Initiatives!

        1. “prettyboy,” not “boy,” you understand.

      2. Correct.

  17. To lighten the mood with a brief distraction: Which musician goes next? I gotta figure it’s about time for either Keith Richards or Bob Dylan to pop off. Who else?

    1. Keith Richards is immortal. If the drugs didn’t kill him, nothing can.

    2. Birthdays. Whose birthday is coming up, and they’re about 70 or so?

      Looking at this list, and thinking about the artist I’d like least to see die, how about Willie Nelson? He’s 82, and his birthday’s at the end of April. His lungs evidently aren’t the best anymore, if he’s having to take marijuana through a carbon-stripping device, and have stem cell treatments.

      Fuck, this is depressing. I’ve not met him, but friends that have say he’s one of the nicest guys. Course, that didn’t help Bowie, either.

  18. OT:

    Cop serving eviction tries to shoot man, hits him, bullet goes through his shoulder and kills his 12 year old daughter.


    1. What makes you think they’re trained?

    2. Steele is “very distraught over the situation.”

      It’s distraughtness all the way down!

    3. The difference is, citizens have to accept the consequences of their actions, police don’t.

      Also most citizens have a conscience, which most police probably don’t. Since even if they fully obey the law, they have to do a lot of shitty stuff, like evictions…

    4. Holy crap, that article actually said ” .223 caliber rifle”

      Not “high powered assault weapon” or “machine gun”

      Journalism where the author actually knows guns?

    5. The story links below that news item really speak to our current Zeitgeist

      Mother, daughter found shot to death in NC home
      Ashley Olsen, American artist, found dead in Italy
      Greensboro man stops for barbecue sauce, wins $1 million
      NC teen charged with murder in double shooting that killed 1
      39-week pregnant woman dead, baby delivered after car crash
      Boy who killed girl over puppy got gun from unlocked closet
      Car plows into trick-or-treaters; 3 dead, including 10-year-old girl
      Girl, 8, killed when car she’s driving crashes
      NC toddler shot and killed
      5-year-old girl finds SBI agent’s gun in North Carolina restaurant’s bathroom

      Lesson? beware of children. they all have guns. also, Barbecue sauce will make you rich.

    6. The guy he was shooting, Juvie, was pointing an AR rifle at him at the time. I can’t fault a man for defending himself against some nut with a rifle.

      I’d have preferred that the constable tried his utmost to de-escalate the situation, but I wasn’t there: he may not have been able to.

  19. All I know is that this is, hopefully, the last time dumbo will preempt all that quality programming.

    1. I would not bet on it.

    2. Luckily we get a year off after this. Then we could very well get these speeches from President Bolshevik.

  20. I’m really confused how the Reason drinking game article left off ‘common sense,’ ‘sensible,’ and ‘consensus.’ In terms of gun control or global warming. Don’t want to be responsible for anyone getting their stomach pumped?

    1. They didn’t want people dying inside of the first five minutes of the speech.

      1. #DrunkLivesMatter

  21. I’d watch the speech if there was a chance that Clint Eastwood would sit down in the empty chair next to Chewbacca. It works on so many levels.

    1. “You lie sit!”

  22. But I suspect when the dust of history clears a bit, Obama will be judged on the effects of his economic policies in the wake of the financial crisis

    I thought Obama was a stealth libertarian?…..-libertari

    Also the academics loves themselves FDR, JFK and LBJ and Reasonoids love themselves Carter and Bill Clinton even though they believed in the same terrible things Obama does.

  23. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

    Clik This Link inYour Browser….

    ? ? ? ?

  24. The simple truth to grow the economy and prosperity, is to have less government. But that’s not in the personal interests of politicians or their 1% friends who fund them to buy government favors at our expense.

    Obama is a failure in his job, but he sure wants to make us think he isn’t. After all, he’s now looking forward to a life of wealth and influence, and he’ll be missing those multi-million dollar vacation and White House parties.

    Politicians today will say want they want us to believe, regardless of reality.

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