The Talk Show American

THE TALK SHOW AMERICAN: 01/12/2014 - 01/19/2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Obama Numbers (As Of January 2014)

The latest numbers show stagnant wages, persistent long-term unemployment and moderate health care spending.

  • The number of long-term unemployed is nearly double what it was when Obama became president. 
More than 10 million people remained unemployed, including 3.9 million who had been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. That’s an increase of nearly 1.2 million “long-term unemployed” since the start of the Obama presidency.The average time that an unemployed person in December had been looking for work was 37 weeks, nearly double the average at the time Obama entered the White House. Another troubling jobs statistic is the civilian labor force participation rate, which has now declined by 2.9 percentage points since Obama became president, to the lowest point since 1978.

  • Wages remain stagnant, increasing a scant 0.3 percent after inflation during Obama’s time.
The divide between the affluent and ordinary wage earners — which the president last month called the “defining challenge of our time” — has widened during his time in office.
Wages remain stagnant, barely keeping up with inflation. Average weekly earnings of workers on payrolls, measured in inflation-adjusted dollars, have edged up a scant 0.3 percent between Obama’s first month in office and November 2013, the most recent on record. And there’s no clear upward trend. 

  • The number of low-income persons on food stamps remains just below the record level reached in 2012, with 15 percent of the population still getting benefits.
The increase in food stamp beneficiaries is due partly to economic pressures, but also to liberalizations in both benefits and eligibility under President Obama and is up another 15.4 million.

  • Health care spending has increased 15.8 percent under Obama, which is faster than inflation.
Health care costs have risen only moderately since Obama took office, but not for the reason the White House wants you to think.  Figures show health care spending in the U.S. rose 3.7 percent in 2012, and stood 15.8 percent higher than it did in 2008, the year before Obama took office. The nonpartisan number-crunchers at CMS said in their Health Affairs article that the ACA had only a “minimal” impact on the slowdown in spending. The reasons they cited instead were:
  • The economic slowdown and subsequent sluggish recovery.
  • Drops in some prescription drug costs brought about by the expiration of patents on several costly medications including Lipitor, Plavix and Singulair, which are now available in low-cost generic versions.
  • A one-time reduction in Medicare payment levels to skilled nursing facilities.
Health care spending consumed a record 17.4 percent of the nation’s entire economic output in the recession-plagued year of 2009, which declined slightly, to 17.2 percent, in 2012.

  • U.S. exports have gone up just 34 percent, leaving Obama far short of his announced goal of doubling them by the end of this year.
The president has yet to meet his goal of doubling exports of U.S. goods and services, which he set in his 2010 State of the Union address. Exports have increased only 33.6 percent since Obama took office, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.

  • The federal debt owed to the public has almost doubled since Obama took office, increasing by 95 percent.
The president is fond of boasting that annual federal deficits are falling rapidly. But they remain large by historical standards. And the fact is, they are piling up.
Total federal debt now stands at nearly $17.3 trillion, which is 63 percent higher than when Obama took office.

  •  The price of regular gasoline was at a national average of $3.33 per gallon in the week ended Jan. 13. The recent price is 80 percent higher than it was when Obama took office.
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