White House

Economists Agree That President Obama’s Economic Gains Are Remarkable

* The following is an opinion column by R Muse *

Republicans are proud to broadcast to the world how wonderful America is in one breath and decry how horrible it is with a Democrat in the Oval Office without ever skipping a beat. Their contradictory statements notwithstanding, they know America is thriving and the economic report released Friday proves it. But according to economic experts across the nation, there was more good economic news in the report than just another month of healthy job gains.

Although Americans still need a raise, something President Obama has called for since 2009, after years of economic desperation, American workers are finally regaining some of the ground they lost in the last Republican-created recession and the Republican-obstructed recovery that followed. According to the latest economic reports for March, under President Obama “companies have been hiring at a pace not seen before in this century, and wages are rising faster than inflation.” That was not the only good news.

It is fairly well-known that unemployment is in the proximity of the low levels last reached before Republicans nearly destroyed the economy; Republicans cannot deny that. However, the fact that the army of unemployed people who gave up and dropped out of the job market is not only back looking for work, but actually finding decent work with decent wages; it blows completely out of the water whatever absurd assertions Republicans make about declining unemployment numbers being due to lazy Americans dropping out of the workforce.

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The Labor Department report on Friday past noted that the “215,000 jump in payrolls capped the best two-year period for hiring since the late 1990s;” during the last Democratic president’s administration. And, “the proportion of Americans in the labor force which had been on a downward trajectory since 2001 and an even steeper slide since 2008  hit a two-year high” during the current Democratic President’s Administration.

The good economic news may be anathema to Republicans, but it has been touted by economists as a very encouraging sign that President Obama’s policies have brought America from the brink of financial collapse to normalcy.

For example, the deputy head of United States economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Michelle Meyer, said “It’s really a best-case scenario. I was particularly encouraged by the pickup in labor force participation.”

Another real economic expert joined the chorus of praise and said the latest report “portrays an economy returning to a more normal trajectory, while avoiding the bubble-like excesses that prevailed in the late 1990s and just before the Great Recession in December 2007.”

The senior policy analyst with an advocacy group for lower-wage workers with the National Employment law Project, Claire McKenna noted that the economy is working for more than just the very rich. She said that

The labor force in the last few months has seen significant gains. Things are moving in the right direction.”

And Scott Clemons, the chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman remarked that the hiring and wage gains have been healthy, but not to the point they “ignite inflation fears and tempt the Federal Reserve to quickly raise rates to temper growth. This is a Goldilocks scenario.”

The chief economist at an economic research and consulting firm, HIS, Nariman Behravesh said,

The last two years have been the best since 1998 and 1999, and that’s saying a lot. Those were boom years that we look back on very fondly, so to have that level of job growth again is pretty remarkable.”

Behravesh’ statement is only partially true. It is normal to have job growth and for the economy to thrive under a Democratic President’s administration. However, it could be considered remarkable when accounting for the deep dark economic hole Republicans left President Obama to dig out of and their obscene seven-year run deliberately attempting to sabotage economic growth.

What is indeed remarkable is that there are plenty of Republicans and no small number of “neophyte Democrats” that want to take the nation on a completely different trajectory than that of President Obama’s; this in spite of him leading the economy back from the precipice to near normalcy. It is curious why anyone would consider changing economic course when as most economists agree that “the underlying strength apparent in the March report reinforces growing evidence that the economy, despite a host of remaining ills, is now consistently moving in the right direction.”

The report, and acknowledgment by economists the country is on the right path, should put an end to Republicans who have been screaming about stagnant wage growth, as if they cared. It should also end their incessant claims that most American workers have left the labor force; a contention meant to prove that President Obama’s stewardship of the economy has destroyed private businesses due to a tidal wave of extremely harsh and excessive regulations.

However, like everything issuing out of every Republican’s mendacious mouth, that is a filthy, dirty lie. And Republicans know it is as dirty a lie as their persistent claims that taxes are destroying businesses, slashing wages, and killing jobs.

First, there have not been a rash of business-killing taxes or regulations; Republicans have had control of the House, and now the Senate, to prohibit any new tax hikes or regulations. Second, the steady expansion of the work force (job creation) and the tightening labor market is translating into more businesses having to compete for workers and that is in turn driving wage gains.

Does any of this good news mean that Democrats should eschew President Obama’s seven year call for higher wages and nine year cry to address income inequality? Of course not – and none of them are. But they damn sure better start citing the President’s success at growing the economy, and pledge to keep on that path towards a completely robust recovery.

President Obama has given Democrats a campaign gift no amount of money could possibly buy: a growing economy, businesses prospering, job and wage gains, and a chorus of economists touting the economy’s good health and another report that the economy has been “consistently moving in the right direction with a level of job growth that is pretty remarkable.”

All because of another pretty remarkable Democratic President’s Administration.

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