Obama’s Economic Performance Is Even Better Than It Looks

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Paul Krugman presents us today with an updated version of his chart showing private employment gains during the Obama administration compared to the Bush administration:

But Obama’s performance is even better than it looks. Here’s an updated version of my chart showing total government expenditures for both the Bush and Obama administrations measured since the end of the recessions they inherited:

Bush inherited a mild recession and got a huge fiscal boost. Obama inherited a deep recession and got a huge fiscal headwind. Even so, Obama’s employment performance has been far better than Bush’s.

As it happens, I don’t think presidents have a dramatic effect on the economy. But they have some. John McCain wouldn’t have fought for stimulus spending or extensions of unemployment insurance. He would probably have appointed more conservative members of the Fed, who might have tightened monetary policy sooner. He would have insisted on keeping the portion of the Bush tax cut that goes to the rich.

So Obama deserves some of the credit for this. George Bush squandered his political capital on tax cuts for the wealthy and soft regulation of Wall Street. We saw the results of that. Obama spent his political capital on stimulus and health care and the social safety net. The result has been a sustained recovery despite a net decrease in government spending over the past six years. Not bad.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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