As the nation debates continuing coronavirus stimulus, AEI offers an eye-opening analysis:  Unemployment…
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Images of the Day: Unemployment Claims Plummeted Faster After $600 Checks Expired

As the nation debates continuing coronavirus stimulus, AEI offers an eye-opening analysis:  Unemployment claims plummeted and the employment picture improved much faster after those $600 checks expired, reestablishing that while we always want to help those who cannot help themselves, government payouts can sometimes reduce incentives and ability to return to the workforce.  And this doesn't even reflect remarkably positive employment reports released by the government since the end dates:

 

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="562"] Continuing Unemployment Claims Dropped[/caption]

 

 

 

 

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="563"] Initial Unemployment Claims Dropped[/caption]…[more]

November 12, 2020 • 11:57 AM

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Comparisons to Reagan in August 1982 Provide Obama Little Refuge Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, September 02 2010
Reagan could promise brighter days ahead in August 1982, but what can Obama promise right now?

Unable to defend their governance with citation to substantive achievement, liberals frequently resort to comparing Barack Obama’s approval rating with Ronald Reagan’s at this point in his tenure. 

Unfortunately for Obama, such comparisons are inapposite.  They begin to highlight the two presidents’ differing trajectories, as well as the healthy optimism engendered by Reagan versus the destructive pessimism Obama sows.

If one focuses narrowly upon Gallup approval snapshots, Obama’s August 2010 rating of 43% does compare slightly favorably to Reagan’s 41% in August 1982 and Bill Clinton’s 39% in August 1994.  So Obama seems to be sitting as well as those two, right? 

A more informed consideration suggests otherwise. 

Most importantly, Reagan’s signature economic policy was still several months from arrival on this date in 1982, whereas Obama’s already took effect over a year ago and has failed to fulfill its promises. 

In August 1982, Reagan could point toward the dramatic tax cuts scheduled to take effect on January 1, 1983.  When that date arrived, the results were immediate and profound.  Over the next four quarters, gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at an average of 7.7%, and the next twelve quarters witnessed 5.8% growth.  Unemployment festered at 10.4% when Reagan’s tax cuts became law that month, but plummeted two full percentage points to 8.4% just one year later, and all the way down to 7.3% twelve months after that.  By the time Reagan left office, unemployment was down to 5.4% - half the rate when his tax cuts arrived. 

In contrast, Obama’s economic agenda has already been implemented.  The results are grim, and future prospects less than encouraging. 

Obama signed his “stimulus” package into law 19 months ago, spending almost $1 trillion that we didn’t have.  Since that date, we have witnessed four-quarter GDP growth of only 3%, and 12-quarter growth projections are a tepid 2.9%.  Unemployment stood at 8.2% when Obama signed the bill in February 2009, but has actually increased to 9.5% since that date.  The Obama Administration promised that unemployment would top out at 8% last October under his plan, and would not exceed 9% even if we did nothing.  Instead, we’ve stagnated near 10% for an entire year now, and headwinds are stiffening rather than easing. 

Meanwhile, the federal budget deficit in 2008 was approximately $450 billion, but jumped to $1.4 trillion in Obama’s first year, and the White House projected $1.5 trillion for fiscal 2010. 

Thus, Obama’s policies are already baked into the proverbial cake.  Reagan could promise brighter days ahead in August 1982, but what can Obama promise right now?  Very little beyond higher taxes when the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire on January 1, even more top-down federal regulations, ObamaCare mandates, judicial and administrative appointments unfriendly to business, job-killing labor union demands, more debt and more spending. 

Optimism can be a self-perpetuating phenomenon, as Reagan proved.  Unfortunately, pessimism can take on the same self-perpetuating characteristic.  Obama’s rhetoric of grievance, class warfare and un-presidential scapegoating of his predecessor only serves to exacerbate the substantive effect of his policies. 

By way of illustration, consider a troubling Wall Street Journal passage this week in a report on the Federal Reserve conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming: 

“Several foreign central bankers said they were struck by the unusual degree of pessimism they had witnessed in the U.S., a contrast to typical American optimism.  ‘I can’t wait to get back to my side of the world,’ said Alan Bollard, governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.” 

What does it say when America’s famous optimism and cheer recedes, and foreign officials hasten to escape our newfound sense of gloom? 

Troublingly, Obama’s infectious pessimism extends beyond our domestic economic realm. 

Reagan inspired Americans and the free world with promises of ultimate Cold War victory and international renaissance, even if nobody expected success as quickly as it came.  In contrast, Obama’s rhetoric focuses more on exit strategies and the burdens of America’s mission more than on the simple concept of victory.  Reagan’s leadership brought American ascendancy, but Obama’s uncertain trumpet emboldens our antagonists around the world. 

All of this should give pause to liberals who quickly compare Obama’s poll standing to Reagan’s.  We’re running well below our moral and economic potential, which suggests a very different trajectory for the two presidents. 

Fortunately, the prospect of corrective future elections can serve to cheer the electorate, even if not Obama apologists. 

Question of the Week   
Thanksgiving was established as an annual event by which of the following presidents?
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Quote of the Day   
 
Wishing you and yours a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!…[more]
 
 
—The Board of Directors and Staff of CFIF
— The Board of Directors and Staff of CFIF
 
Liberty Poll   

How significantly have coronavirus restrictions disrupted your Thanksgiving plans?