While no Presidency is perfect, and that includes the tenure of Barack Obama, there has been a prevailing narrative over the last few months that somehow Obama abandoned the working people.
I do not agree with everything Obama has done over the last eight years (I doubt any intelligent person agrees with 100% that ANYBODY ever does), but it seems bizarre for people to assert that Obama “abandoned” the working people of this country after all the good he has done for them.
Here are 40 facts that are important to know before trying to make such a blanket claim:
1. The week of October 6th, 2008 the Dow Jones Industrial closed lower every single day, culminating in a 1,874 point — or 18% drop. This was the worst weekly decline in recorded history.
2. That month alone, the United States lost 489,000 jobs.
3. November would prove to be worse, with 803,000 people losing their jobs.
4. Within one year, the unemployment rate in the United States would spike up to 10.1% — double the unemployment rate before the economic crisis.
5. According to the United States Census Bureau, 13.2% of Americans were in poverty in 2008. That number was the first “statistically significant” change of that money since 2003. By the height of the recession, that rate would spike to 15.3%.
6. Also in 2008, 15.4% of all Americans didn’t have health insurance.
7. That’s 255.1 million people. 225.1 million people who couldn’t easily see a doctor, engage in preventive healthcare strategies, and for whom a health crisis might very well end up in an emergency room where the law requires they be treated — regardless of ability to pay.
8. Nationally, about 20% of ER visits were by people who are unable to pay for their treatment. That amounted to roughly $56 billion in unpaid medical expenses by people who cannot afford health insurance in one year alone. That cost is passed onto you, both as a taxpayer and as someone forking over premiums.
9. On November 19th, 2008 there was a meeting of the heads of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler with the United States Senate. The “Big Three” automakers. They made it clear, without assistance, all three would default in the current economic climate. President Bush eventually gave them some temporary funds, but it was clear that Obama would be called to do more once in office.
10. This was the American economy inherited by President Barack Obama.
11. On February 17, 2009 President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
12. The legislation had begun being drafted before Obama even was officially sworn in. Between the swearing in of President Obama and the passage of this act, roughly 800,000 jobs were probably lost.
13. The Recovery Act expanded the child tax credit, expanded the college tax credit, gave a $400 payroll tax credit to every American worker, and allowed small businesses to more easily claim tax refunds.
14. The legislation also invested $86.8 into Medicaid — health insurance for the poor.
15. As well as $53.6 billion to help local school districts prevent layoffs, and $15.6 billion to increase the size of the Pell Grant for students who could not afford college.
16. Not to mention $105.3 billion for infrastructure improvements.
17. At the end of the day it is estimated that this law saved or created 3 million jobs.
18. Only three Republicans in the Senate voted for the Recovery Act.
19. However, when running for re-election, 128 House Republicans who voted against the act had no problem trying to take credit for the jobs and money that it brought to their congressional district.
20. On February 18, 2009 Chrysler and General Motors once again approached the federal government for funding. After much debate, the Obama Administration agreed to help.
21. Republican Senator Judd Gregg criticized the decision, saying, “With so many sectors of our economy hurting, I seriously question why auto part suppliers deserve billions of dollars, especially when the auto makers still haven’t yet made all of the reforms necessary to be sustainable over the long term.”
22. Senator Gregg wasn’t alone. Only 32 Republican Congressmen voted for the auto bailout legislation. 15 of those congressmen were from the rust belt, where the auto industry is primarily based.
23. When the legislation was being considered in 2009, only 39% of Americans supported assisting the automobile industry. 60% said that they expected the loans given would never be repaid.
24. By 2012, General Motors was once again number one in car sales worldwide.
25. By 2013, economists concluded that the automobile bailout saved at least 1.5 million American jobs. 1.5 million mostly working class, rustbelt, jobs.
26. And by 2015, the automakers had paid back virtually all of their emergency loans from the economic crisis. Looking back, today 56% of Americans feel the auto industry bailout was good for the country.
27. On March 23rd, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
28. This legislation barred insurers from denying citizens health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, as well as allowed students to stay on their parent’s health insurance until they were 26-years-old.
29. It also opened health insurance exchanges that would allow private health insurance companies compete for business on state-wide internet exchanges — like how you use the internet to compare prices for other stuff.
30. The act also expanded the Medicaid program, making more poor Americans eligible for health insurance.
31. For the middle class, the legislation offered subsidies based on their income.
32. This law was similar to a program set up by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts when he was Governor. It also very closely resembled plans advocated for by Republican Senator Bob Dole and the conservative Heritage Foundation as an alternative to President Clinton’s healthcare initiatives.
33. Despite this, in 2010, the ACA failed to attract a single Republican vote in Congress.
34. And after suing for the right to do so, 19 Republican Governors refused to accept the federal money for Medicaid expansions in their state — cutting millions of people off from health insurance.
35. Despite this, in 2015, 90.9% of all Americans were enrolled in health insurance of some kind.
36. That’s roughly 20 million more people that have healthcare than before Barack Obama’s Presidency.
37. The real median household income in the United States is now only 1.6% lower than before the start of the recession, and it is still on the rise.
38. Between 2014 and 2015 alone, 3.5 million people left poverty.
39. Just last month, average hourly earnings rose 0.4% — one of the biggest increases of the last few decades — in part, because progressives pushed for minimum wage increases at the ballot box last November.
40. In 2016, The United States elected Donald J. Trump as President, in part, because of a belief that the Democratic Party abandoned the working class.