General Question

SuperMouse's avatar

Are you better off than you were four years ago? If the answer is no, do you blame the president?

Asked by SuperMouse (30772points) November 17th, 2011

It was Ronald Reagan who asked this question for the first time back in 1980 when he was running against Jimmy Carter. The answer for many was a decisive no and Carter was a one term president. I have heard lots of noise from the conservative side about how much worse off the entire country is now than it was four years ago; they place the blame squarely on Mr. Obama’s shoulders.

So how bout it? Are you better off than you were for years ago? If you are do you think it is because of President Obama’s administration? If you are worse off do you blame the current president? Why or why not?

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95 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I feel my life is better than it was 4 years ago, thanks to Obama. Truthfully. My husband and father both have jobs that they would no longer have if it weren’t for the president. In fact, I would guess judging by the local economy, not only would they not have their jobs, they probably wouldn’t have a job at all. That’s pretty significant, to me, on a very personal level.

zenvelo's avatar

No. I am not, but that’s because of my divorce. Take that factor out and I’d be way ahead of where I was four years ago.

pageiv's avatar

I’m better off, but I don’t credit the president. The country isn’t on the whole and a lot can be said because of the Administration’s policies. Unemployment is near where it was so that is either a wash or negative depending how you look at it. Spending is up across the board with dubious results. The regulatory burden business have to deal with has increased.

As far as foreign policy goes, we’re pulling out of Iraq, but the Israeli Iran situation is at the breaking point. We’re projected to leave Afghanistan but someone forgot to tell the Taliban we won.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, I am better off than four years ago. No, I blame the Republican-led (if I can use the word loosely) House for my not being better still.

syz's avatar

I’m not that short sighted. And I’m doing about the same.

tedd's avatar

I am better off, but the presidents actions have had a limited effect on my own personal well-being.

(I do believe the country as a whole is better off for him being in charge though)

filmfann's avatar

I am not better off now, but I do not blame the current president.
It’s hard to stop an avalanche of shit once it’s started.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I am not better off, and yes, I place most of the blame on Obama. He’s trying to remake the USA into a socialist state along the lines of the European states. This is a model which does not fit the USA.

syz's avatar


“America is no longer based on markets and capitalism, instead our economy is designed as ‘socialism for the rich’ – it is designed to ensure that the wealthiest people take all of the gains, while regular Americans cover any losses,” he said at a press conference this afternoon in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a Las Vegas economy where regular Americans put their money on the table and the richest 1 percent own the house,” he said. “And if the 1 percent happen to lose money, the 99 percent bails them out – covers their losses and then stands by watching while the house does it all over again.”


Please note, these millionaires are talking about the possible renewal of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m certainly not worse off. I’m probably better off simply because we save.

I do not blame the President for the state of the economy. I think there are much larger forces in play, and there is nothing any individual, and not much the government can do to change things. Whatever is happening, I do blame the Republican Congress for slowing down efforts to improve things. Unfortunately, I live in an area where one can’t vote out Republicans, since there aren’t any. If only the rest of the country saw fit to get rid of their nutbags.

SuperMouse's avatar

@CaptainHarley would you be willing to share examples of how Obama’s “socialist state” has impacted you personally and/or your personal wealth? What concrete steps do you see Obama has taken to make this happen?

My personal wealth has dropped substantially since Mr. Obama’s election and I am 100% responsible.My situation is similar to @zenvelo‘s with a divorce costing me dearly. I am very curious to see how you hold this administration responsible.

Mariah's avatar

I am not better off, but it’s all due to personal stuff that the government couldn’t possibly influence. I do think that I would be even worse off than I am if not for the health care reform.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Yes, I am better off. The market was dropping like a stone and eventually dropped well below 7000. Now it is hovering around 12,000 and although it has bounced around, it is reasonably stable. We need to make painful choices to make the situation better and this president is trying to do that. Short sighted people only see as far as the hand in front of their faces. No one wants to sacrifice or plan ahead.

Oh, and I had a prostate 4 years ago. Now I don’t. I can’t blame that on Bush or Obama.

Judi's avatar

4 years ago I lost half the value in my home and our business was cut in half. We held onto all our payroll until the money ran out and had to lay off half our workforce.
I know when the problem began, and I know that if the president had a partner in congress rather than people whose entire agenda is to defeat him, rather than work to strengthen our country we would be further on the road to recovery than we are now.
I CAN tell you that I am way better off than I was 3 years ago.

syz's avatar

It’s sad to think that this community seems to be so much more thoughtful and reasoning than the country at large. Why do so many rely on scapegoating and short sighted, knee-jerk reactions?

gorillapaws's avatar

I am much better off. I was able to purchase my first home, and then took advantage of the fuel efficiency tax credits which helped me replace the oil furnace with a natural gas heater. My bills are now 60%+ discounted from what I was paying before. I can sleep a little better at night knowing it’s become harder for health insurance companies to fuck me over if I ever get an expensive sickness that ends up loosing them money. Not to mention the tax cuts Obama passed.

Now my employer, they have benefitted from the legislation designed to promote the migration to electronic health records. I believe they also received a tax cut.

CaptainHarley's avatar


I concur completely! Caught between the greed of the wealthy and the needs of the poor, the middle class is being squeezed out of existence.

mazingerz88's avatar

Financially I’m not better off but the cause of it is hardly related to any of Obama’s actions. Psychologically however, I’m in hell. I feel like shooting myself in the head every time I see Boehner and Eric Cantor’s faces on TV and hear them repeat the same words over and over and over and over and over again.

Coloma's avatar

No. My savings is down, but, it’s all part of the great wheel of life and the transient nature of everything. I’m frustrated but I’m not a blamer. Like someone else said, it’s hard to rope in the shit when it hits the fan.

4 years ago I was certainly better off than I had been 4 years before that, sooo…it is what it is. Fortunatley I am creative and resourceful, adapt or die ya know. lol

syz's avatar

@CaptainHarley “I place most of the blame on Obama” And that is Obama’s fault how?

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CaptainHarley's avatar


LOL! No, not completely, but he has simply exacerbated the situation to the point where the future of the USA is jeapordized.

syz's avatar

@CaptainHarley How? What policies, specifically, have squeezed the middle class?

As an aside, are you familiar with Keynesian economics? Are you familiar with the Republican defeat of the jobs bill? Drastic cuts to the budget that hurt the middle class? Explain to me how the Republican party can justify cutting education, and yet want to continue giving tax breaks to millionaires and corporations making billions in profits?

nikipedia's avatar

Yes and no. I have a partner who makes a lot more money than I do, so that helps, but I don’t think Obama had much to do with us meeting. On my salary alone I am slightly worse off, as I am making exactly the same that I did 4 years ago while my expenses have increased and my savings have disappeared. That is not really Obama’s fault either, and I would have lost my funding completely without the stimulus package and increases to NIH funding.

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OpryLeigh's avatar

I’m a little worse off only because I have my own bills to pay now! I don’t blame anyone but myself for being useless at saving my pennies.

Paradox25's avatar

I’ll admit that I’ve struggled since my last decent employer closed its doors since I was making good money with good benefits. I’m also thankful for the unemployment benefit extensions that Obama approved which helped me to survive too since there was no way I could have survived taking a low paying job. I had places close down on me under Bush’s Administration as well so if I blamed Obama then I would have to spread the blame beyond partisan lines. My situation does seem to be gradually looking up right now. No I don’t blame Obama.

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Roby's avatar

I was laid off shortly after Oboma took office. Still unemployed…

SuperMouse's avatar

@CaptainHarley I ask you the same thing that I ask of you in every one of these threads, how is this Obama’s fault? That is also part of the question as posed. I have yet to hear you give a solid, fact based argument for how President Obama and this “socialist state” he is creating are responsible for your woes.

HungryGuy's avatar

Yes, I’m much better off than I was 4 years ago. In fact, assuming that the economy doesn’t collapse again and I don’t lose my job, I’m better off than I had been since I graduated from uni and started working whilst living with my parents and had cash to burn on hot cars and stereo gear.

A for the recent economic disaster, of course I don’t blame the current US President or Prime Minister. GW Bush and the right wingers all share the blame for the recent near economic collapse, at least for the US’s role in it.

bkcunningham's avatar

Obama was definitely dealt a tough hand when taking office. No doubt about that. He has played his hand very poorly. Big government spending in the form of an $825 billion stimulus package, cash for clunkers, auto bailouts, energy subsidies, creating class warfare, the Public-Private Investment Partnership, record spending, budget deficits and uncontrollable debts are just a few of the things I can think of that Obama has played poorly,

mowens's avatar

The country was bought and sold years ago. This shit they shuffle around every 4 years is just to make us feel included.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Yes, I’m familiar with Keynsian economics, as well as the Austrian School. I much prefer the latter.

Please do not place me in the position of defending Republican policies. I am a Libertarian, not a Republican or a Democrat.

Jaxk's avatar

I am considerably worse off than 4 years ago. Unemployment, the sagging economy, and the high gas prices have taken a toll. The combination of new or increased taxes and regulation have stripped away any profit. I have two less employees than I had 3 years ago

Property values have declined another 10% in the past year. Taxes have increased dramatically in the past 3 years, some as much as a thousand percent. Most of the tax and regulatory impact have come from the state but it is a result of the sagging economy. My health insurance is higher and my business credit card was cancelled (thank you Dodd-Frank).

I blame Obama for all this. He had a chance to make whatever legislation he wanted while he had a filibuster proof congress but choose to spend his time raising my health care costs. He’s created a war on business and done everything in his power to divide the country along political and economic lines. With $15 trillion in debt we are approaching the level of Greece. Obama is a ‘one trick pony’ with spending being the only trick he has. Unless we find a way to grow this economy we will sink into the same situation we had in the 30s. And we can’t do it by demonizing those needed to grow the economy. We can’t do it as long as we are standing on the brink of stagflation and higher taxes.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Nor will you. If you are unaware of the people behind Obama, and unaware of his socialist tendencies, then no amount of “evidence” is going to convince you. You would always find a way of either excusing his behavior, minimizing it, or blaming it on Bush.

syz's avatar

@CaptainHarley I’m not asking you to defend any party. I’m asking you to defend your statement.

SuperMouse's avatar

@CaptainHarley it seems to me that when you make such a bold statement as “I place most of the blame on Obama” you would be willing to explain why you are making this statement. I am not asking you to convince me nor am I planning to minimize his responsibility, I am interested in hearing why you think Obama is responsible for your misery.

downtide's avatar

I’m not better off financially (though this is certain to be a temporary setback). In every other way though, I’m MUCH better off. I would far rather pe poorer and in my current situation, than richer and where I was 4 years ago.

I can’t blame the president for anything though, I’m not American.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
tedd's avatar

@Jaxk There are just so many holes in your last statement

1) Taxes have not gone up on anything in Obama’s entire tenure. In fact he lowered them on the middle class. Business taxes, taxes on the rich, etc, are all the exact same level they were when Bush left office. Let alone 1000%… in fact, are you kidding me?
2) Directly, property values have nothing to do with Obama and his administration. So you’re going to have to go more in detail if you want to pin that on him.
3) Most of the tax and regulatory damage from the state, thanks to sagging economy…. Again, pinning on Obama???? Which president obliterated our economy again?
4) Your health insurance would have gone up anyways, and moreover I seriously doubt anything Obama did effected it… saying as the vast majority of Obamacare provisions won’t come into place until 2014.
5) Willing to also bet that Dodd-Frank had nothing to do with your CC getting canceled .. and that it was rather the CC companies cutting people from their books, like they did nationwide before and after the DF bill…. and most importantly.. Obama is now responsible for Dodd-Frank????

6) And this is most important. You grow the economy by nurturing the middle class. We’ve had the filthy rich for the entire existence of our nation.. we didn’t become a world superpower and #1 economy until those in power realized that we need to make the middle class strong, because they spend all the money. We don’t need the rich to make the economy good again.. we need the poor.

Jesus, reading your crap is giving me heart burn.

In fact… why don’t I pull a page out of your conservative play book….. Maybe you should stop blaming others for your own personal failings. Your business model, clearly is a failure.. that’s your fault, not the presidents. In fact private businesses have been increasingly successful under Obama…you must have done something wrong.

Blackberry's avatar

I could be doing great, if I hadn’t married and divorced, so that is my fault. I don’t blame Obama for any of my problems, but I do blame some republicans for intentionally being stubborn simply because they’re butt hurt that Obama is in office.

And @bkcunningham, “creating class warfare”? Would you care to elaborate?

tedd's avatar

@bkcunningham Class warfare started decades ago… sad to tell you the rich have been winning the entire time.

bkcunningham's avatar

@tedd, in your list above, number 1): Taxes have not gone up on anything in Obama’s entire tenure. In fact he lowered them on the middle class. Business taxes, taxes on the rich, etc, are all the exact same level they were when Bush left office. Let alone 1000%… in fact, are you kidding me?

According to Politifact: A little more than two weeks after taking office, Obama signed into law a bill expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program. That was financed in part by an increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products; it went into effect on April 1, 2009.

There were also several tax increases included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care law. The biggest tax in the law is an extra 3.8 percent tax on investment income, which applies to persons making more than $200,000 a year or couples making more than $250,000. That one starts in 2013, and is expected to bring in $210 billion through 2019, when coupled with a 0.9 percent increase in the Medicare payroll tax for upper-income earners. But other taxes, like the new 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services, have started already. The 30 million Americans who reportedly use tanning beds have been paying more since July 1, 2010.

So, Obama has raised some taxes.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

@bkcunningham You seriously are upset about raising taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products to help a Children’s Health Insurance Program? You realize cigarettes and tobacco products cause health problems right?

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

tedd's avatar

@bkcunningham The increase on cigarette tax was part of the tobacco law that passed congress unanimously save for a dissenting vote from Ron Paul in the house. And as @RandomMrAdam said, seriously you have a problem with taxes on cigarettes that were put towards childrens health insurance???

Also, as I pointed out above, the Healthcare bill, and any taxes associated with it… will not go into effect until 2014… So no, taxes would not currently be any higher than they were 3 years ago…... And this is going to turn into a healthcare debate.. but if you being an idiot and tanning yourself and exposing yourself to skin cancer is going to have my insurance rates go up… then I have no problem whatsoever with you paying higher taxes to poison yourself.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m not upset about anything, @RandomMrAdam. Just pointing out an error in @tedd‘s response.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@SuperMouse @syz

Here. Chew on this awhile ( I know you’ll find some way to blame it all on Bush, or say that “this is what he SHOULD be doing,” or some such ):

A gallon of regular gasoline the day Obama was inaugurated was $ 1. 79 on average in the U.S. Today that price is $3.59, a 100.6% increase. The number of food stamp recipients has risen since Obama took office from 31,983,716 to 43,200,878, a 35.1% jump. Long term unemployment soared 146.2% during the same 32 month period from 2,600,000 to 6,400,000. Staggering “hope and change” isn’t it?

American citizens living in poverty have risen 9.5% from 39,800,000 to 43,600,000, and the number of unemployed has jumped almost 25% from 11,616,000 to 14,485,000 as of August 31, 201 1. The number of unemployed blacks has risen from 12.6% at the end of George Bush’s term to 15.8% today, a 25.4% increase, and finally, our national debt is up 34.4% from 10.627 trillion to 14,278 trillion *

Keep these figures in mind as we recount the number of “firsts” for this presidency:

First President to refuse to show a valid birth certificate.

First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.

First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.

First President to preside over a cut to the credit rating of the United States .

First President to violate the War Powers Act.

First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico .

First President to defy a Federal Judges court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law.

First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.

First President to spend a trillion dollars on shovel-ready jobs and later admit there was no such thing as shovel-ready jobs.

First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.

First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat.

First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S. , including those with criminal convictions.

First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.

First President to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space.

First President to encourage racial discrimination and intimidation at polling places.

First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present.

First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.

First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly speak-out on the reasons for their rate increases.

First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state they are allowed to locate a factory.

First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (Az, WI, OH, IN)

First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.

First President to fire an inspector general of Ameri-corps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.

First President to appoint 45 Czars to replace elected officials in his office.

First President to golf 73 separate times in his first two and a half years in office.

First President to hide his medical, educational and travel records.

First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.

First President to coddle American enemies while alienating America’s allies.

First President to publicly bow to Americas enemies while refusing to salute the U.S. Flag.

First President to go on multiple global apology tours.

First President to go on 17 lavish vacations, including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends, paid for by the taxpayer.

First President to refuse to wear the U.S. Flag lapel pin.

First President to have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife.

First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000.00 a year at taxpayer expense.

First President to repeat “the Holy Qur’an tells us,” and openly admit “the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth.”

Remember that 32 months of Obama White House we the people have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our nation’s entire history, as the Obama’s plan their next extravagant vacation to the Indonesian Island nation of Bali .

tedd's avatar

@CaptainHarley I’m not sure where you were buying gas when Obama was elected, but I wish I lived there. I’ve paid as high as $4 in the 4 or so years BEFORE Obama was elected.. And I was paying a minimum of $2.79 the day he was elected.

Long Term unemployment and food stamp recipients have gone up… that couldn’t be a sign of the devastated economy? And you can blame Obama for not fixing the economy fast enough… but who broke it in the first place?

The national debt btw, was around 12 trillion when Bush left office… Budget years end in October, so the first budget year under Obama (which is included into the total you listed) included ~3 months of the Bush presidency. In that 3 months Bush put the debt at around 12 trillion.

Now going down the list:
-He released his birth certificate last spring, and moreover, please god tell me you’re not one of these stupid birther people. I have respect for you because you usually back your arguments (I just tend not to agree with them)... please don’t flush that respect down the toilet with that nonsense.
-Proof please about the foreigner student aid thing.
-You want to blame Obama for cutting the credit rating????? WOW… you should probably call your Republican congressmen on that one.
-Most definitely not the first president to violate the war powers act.
-You have a problem with him stopping oil drilling during a major oil spill crisis? Don’t think it’s possibly ok that they take a look at the problem and make sure it’s not going on elsewhere?
-As far as violating a federal court order, no he didn’t.. his justice dept. appealed it to a higher court. You’re not violating until all litigation is done… and moreover, more federal courts approved his law than disapproved it.
-Purchasing products from a third party… why don’t you look into car insurance. And don’t feed me this “you don’t have to drive” nonsense… You have to drive in this country if you want to have a job.
-It was a 750 billion dollar stimulus, and over half of it was tax cuts not shovel ready job money. And the president never admitted they weren’t shovel ready, and in fact most of them were… I watched them with my own eyes on my way to work.
-The president didn’t bypass congress on the dream act, the dream act was never enacted.
-The president has deported more illegal immigrants in 3 years than Bush did in 8.. including countless convicts.
-Demanding a company hand over 20 billion… gonna go ahead and call BS, and demand proof
-Actually the president who canceled the shuttle program was George W Bush, not Obama.
-Racial discrimination and intimidation… you have got to be sh*tting me.
-The auto pen thing… sounds like progress to me.
-Actually the first president to ignore an existing law would be Andrew Jackson, see the Trail of Tears and the preceding Supreme Court ruling on that matter.
-Calling BS on threatening insurance companies.
-Also calling BS on telling a manufacturer where they can set up factories.
-“Czar’s” as the media calls them (they are not called that in the government) cannot be appointed to any office that is elected. and Obama’s 45 is _nothing compared to W’s 47.
-You have got to be sh*tting me on the golf thing. Do I need to link the video of W golfing after talking about catching the terrorists? Or how about the fact that he spent more time at camp david than any president in history
-No president can hide medical records, you have to release them to run for the office… and as such his records were released (I saw them myself) like 4 years ago. It was a joke on The Daily Show even that McCain had like a pamphlet of medical records and Obama’s was one page. And educational records… do you know how many presidents have released their educational records? (hint, you can count it on one hand).
-So now you’re begrudging the man for getting a Nobel Peace prize?
-Coddle America’s enemies? Are you on drugs? He’s killed more terrorists in 3 years than Bush AND Clinton in all 16 of their years. Iraq is on the right track, Afghanistan is almost done.. he helped take out Ghadafi.. and Iran has been sanctioned again… not to mention he negotiated a nuclear reduction with Russia. Who exactly is he “coddling” ... And we’re more popular with our european and asian allies now than we ever were under Bush.
-He does salute the flag, I can’t believe you buy that crap.
-Apology tours… omg, I’ve seriously lost most respect for you.

I can’t even read the rest of this crap. Oh btw as far as Islam goes, you know the first president to hold an Ish-tar at the White House… Was Thomas Jefferson.. who taught himself arabic from his own personal copy of the quran… which he kept bedside in the white house… right?

SuperMouse's avatar

@CaptainHarley you brought up a Birther argument? Seriously? The fact is that several of your points are nothing more than propaganda, many are unsubstantiated. I must point out that there is really nothing wrong with calling a holy book holy, or enjoying the sound of the Islamic call to worship. I wonder sir, would you add it to your list if the president mentioned how much he enjoys hearing The Lord’s Prayer?

All I have to say about the rest of your exhaustive list is, do you really expect me (or anyone) to believe that all of those things happened in a vacuum and president Obama is 100% responsible?

Jaxk's avatar


Your ignorance on this is astounding. As I said most of the tax and regulation came from the State. The state is raising taxes as a result of the slumping economy. You may want to criticize my business but over the past 3 years the business failure rate has jumper 40%. California has a 69% higher failure rate than the rest of the country. This is the result of a sagging economy.

The economy has not recovered and Obama choose to put his efforts elsewhere. I find it interesting that my revenues have not declined noticeably but profits have all but dried up. The reason for this is that gasoline revenues have increased dramatically and store revenues have declined. The customers are spending the same amount of money but getting less for it. From a business stand point the revenue has shifted from a reasonable margins from the store to razor thin margins on gas. That’s pretty much what has happened across the economy. The moronic energy policies of this administration, have stripped the average American of thier disposable income.

The best you seem to be able to do is say prices would have gone up anyway. Or maybe you want to use Obama’s excuse that it would have been worse. Of course that begs the question, would it have been better if he had not drained the country of revenue and drowned us in debt. I choose the latter.

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, why are you still copying and pasting dishonest chain e-mails about Obama? Remember when you got called out for that before? I thought you had more integrity than that. I guess I was wrong.

Yes, I am better off than I was 4 years ago, though a lot of my friends are not.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, you said “The economy has not recovered”

actually our economy has grown almost every month since Obama’s polices took effect at the height of the recession.

Surely you must have meant “the economy has not recovered enough to take us back to the level we were at before the recession”? Surely.

And regarding energy—as a gas station owner, I’m sure you have a vested interest in the Obama administration subsidizing that particular commodity. Surely you simply forgot to mention your personal business stake in that particular policy and how that might influence your views on the subject.

Jaxk's avatar


Let’s use Webster

1 : to get back : regain
2 : to bring back to normal position or condition <stumbled, then recovered himself>

We haven’t recovered. My personal business stake is that if gas prices decline, I do better. Not surprisingly so does the rest of the economy. I’m not sure what point you think you’re making.

Qingu's avatar

That steep drop in gas prices in 2007–2008 did wonders for the economy.

Why is it, do you think, that low gas prices can stimulate the economy, @Jaxk?

rebbel's avatar

Financially I am worse off.
Overall (love, socially, happiness) I am better off.
Obama has not a thing to do with it though, neither has the Dutch PM, or Dutch politics as a whole.
I feel I am responsible for my well being myself.

King_Pariah's avatar

No and no. It’s silly to blame a puppet, after all it’s clearly not sentient.

tinyfaery's avatar

Same ol’, same ol’. I blame my problems on myself, always.

Jaxk's avatar


Was that sarcastic or do you really think gas prices declined from 2007 to 2008? Here’s a sample of gas prices from that period. They went from about $2.50 to over $4. And yes it crippled the economy. It is in fact the trigger that started this recession.

If gas prices were back down to $2.50/gal, it would have the same affect as giving every American household $140/month. And yes that would stimulate the economy. And it would not take tax dollars to do it. You get the benefit without the cost.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, I misread my own chart, they declined 08–09. And I wasn’t being entirely serious, just pointing out that gas prices tend to decline precipitously during a recession. So it’s a bit more complicated than “low gas prices = better economy.”

But now we’ve arrived at the point. Because you agree that giving consumers more money is the fundamental mechanism that will stimulate the economy. I agree wholeheartedly! Which is why I support policies like payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits extension which put more money in the hands of consumers who will spend it!

But it’s true that those policies will increase the deficit. So I’m very curious as to how you think Obama could immediately lower gas prices without increasing the deficit.

Edit: I cannot believe you are still saying high gas prices “sparked the recession.” No serious economist believes this. You are mistaking symptom for cause.

RandomMrAdam's avatar

I am not going to get into the whole “Birther”, Socialist, Class Warfare, or Qur’an-loving comments that really just make me laugh when I hear them. I think FDR said it best:

No country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order.

We really need to understand that the hand that was dealt to Obama was a pretty crappy one and I think he is approaching in a way that he truly believes it’ll help. To put people back to work in the 1930’s, FDR launched a series of programs designed to protect America’s environment. Conservatives critics even then charged that the WPA was a “make work” program (big surprise). But what did the WPA do? – It basically built up America’s infrastructure while at the same time putting millions of people (skilled and unskilled) back to work. This in turn obviously helped stimulate the economy since it’s the middle-class who spends the money whereas the Super-Rich sit on their wealth and collect interest.

(More specifically, the WPA helped build 572,000 miles of rural roads, 67,000 miles of urban streets, 122,000 bridges, 1,000 tunnels, 1,050 fifty airfields, and 4,000 airport buildings. It also constructed 500 water treatment plants, 1,800 pumping stations, 19,700 miles of water mains, 1,500 sewage treatment plants, 24,000 miles of sewers and storm drains, 36,900 schools, 2,552 hospitals, 2,700 firehouses, and nearly 20,000 county, state, and local government buildings.)

Sounds pretty familiar with the “Job’s Plan” that the GOP claimed they would support initially. I mean it sounds fair enough to create a program to get people back to work, though I know a lot of jobs aren’t “shovel ready” maybe due to regulations (i.e. EPA) so maybe we should do something about that to, but I doubt that’ll ever happen.

Maybe there should just be a complete overhaul of Congress since it seems like special interest groups and lobbyist pretty much own congress and people rarely have any actual say anymore. I still think it’s ridiculous that people blame Obama or any other president for that matter for their financial woes when he’s just a puppet.

Honestly I am doing better now than I was 4 years ago, but then again I have received a bachelors degree, worked through a prestigious internship and gained much demanded job-skills to help better myself. I didn’t mope and blame the economy or the president for my problems nor should anyone else. There is always someone else to blame but you know who you should really be blaming and its not the president

Qingu's avatar

@RandomMrAdam, I recently read an argument that a WPA-style program wouldn’t work today because we already have a lot of public employees… and in fact the public sector (unlike the private sector) has been hemorhaging jobs. (So much for big government Obama I guess…)

So the money to fund WPA-style work would be better spent as aid to keep state and local public sector workers employed.

Jaxk's avatar


I think we’ve been down this road but there are several things that will have an impact. The first would have immediate impact and that is a change to our energy policy. Open up the lands we have set off limits and let’s begin reaping our own resources. The announcement alone will have a psychological impact on both oil speculators and OPEC.

Then we need to open ANWAR, Open the oil shale fields,. Ramp up the oil drilling permits in the gulf and stop trying to hinder production. We have a huge resource of oil and if we start tapping into it, we can break the back of OPEC. I think we should do that.

Qingu's avatar

So you believe that expanding domestic oil production (which, we both know, will not lead to much oil anytime in the next decade) will psychologically impact OPEC and speculators to lower prices now.


Jaxk's avatar


First, we will achieve dramatic increases in oil production by opening our resources. Some will come quickly, such as the gulf, some will come fairly quickly such as ANWAR and some will take a decade or more such as the oil shale.

The Prudhoe Bay oil discovery was estimated to be about 10 billion barrels back in the 70s. The ANWR field is estimated to be about 10 Billion barrels as well. The Alaskan Pipeline is already in place and a short spur to ANWR is not a major problem. At it’s peak the pipeline produced 25% of our oil and with ANWR, it could do so again. This coupled with the gulf oil finds would have a significant impact on our oil imports within the next 3–5 years. Filling the Alaskan pipeline again alone, would reduce our oil imports by 8% and inject about $1 billion monthly into our economy instead of Saudi Arabia’s.

Most of the middle eastern economies are fueled by their oil exports. The prospect of losing or reducing that money flow should spur a ramp up of production to get what they can while they can. Whether that actually happens or not, the prospect of oil independence makes it very lucrative. And I haven’t even mentioned the impact of jobs from all these as well as the Canadian pipeline. The argument that we won’t see any benefit for a decade or more has been used for decades. And it simply isn’t true.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Financially I make a lot less than I did 4yrs ago but it has nothing to do with the current President or the one before him.

tedd's avatar

@Jaxk Since I had to go to job two, I missed most of the posts, so here’s a skimming response.

1) Gas prices most definitely did not set off the current recession. The mortgage crisis did. I would definitely agree with you though that higher gas prices are a noose on the economy. But if anything, the economy is still down and they’re lower now than they will be when the economy goes back up.

2) The entirety of oil available in our country would power us for 50 years from the most optimistic estimates (some estimates put that significantly lower, to the tune of 5 years). Fossil fuels as they stand are not a viable long term solution… and ignoring for the moment that it will take several years to actually set up all the oil drilling infrastructure you are proposing…. Even if we could tap them immediately, the problem will just come back in a few decades tops… And this is also ignoring the fact that the US government has partitioned land in excess of thousands of square miles in alaska and texas, and offshore, to oil companies… and the companies have yet to even set up shop for fear of driving oil prices down.

3) Imagine how many jobs we would make if solar power and wind power, and other alternative fuels became the staple. First Solar (A company I own stock in) employs over 3000 people in the US and they currently only have the capacity for several gigawatts of power production… if they bumped that market share up to just 10% of all US power consumption.. they would employ nearly a million people. Not to mention since it’s the energy of the future, we would be paving the way for technology again… rather than letting China (who heavily subsidises their solar industry) take the lead from us.

4) Regardless, one thing you need to understand… the US will never break the back of OPEC. Our entire reserves do not come remotely close to theirs… and they have the rest of the world begging them for oil as well. Heck if anything we’re breaking their back… in 50 years they’re not going to have any oil left… and we’re buying it frankly for dirt cheap right now.

King_Pariah's avatar

@Jaxk isn’t green river basin projected to hold over 750 billion barrels of retrievable oil in oil shale? And is the single largest oil reserve in the world?

filmfann's avatar

@CaptainHarley Your list is pretty funny, but nothing could beat your mention of the War Powers Act.
Remember when Reagan sold weapons to Iran as part of negotiating for hostages, then used the money to fund an illegal war in El Salvador and Nicaragua? You think that violated the War Powers act?
Of course not. That was Reagan, and is ass is chapstick to the Republicans.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Strange, I thought we were talking about Obama.

filmfann's avatar

I was talking about the validity of your statements, like “First President to violate the War Powers Act.”
Was he really first?

CaptainHarley's avatar

I don’t know. I didn’t write all that. Some people kept insisting that Obama has done no wrong, so I just grabbed the first avilable list and threw it at them. : )

Qingu's avatar

And without bothering to check if what you were posting was honest.

Classy, and clever.

ETpro's avatar

Right now, I’m about where I was 4 years ago. But that’s taking us back to the days when the Great Recession of 2007 was just beginning. If you ask that question around November of 2012, 5 years after the start of the Great Recession and 4 years after its depths in terms of job losses, then the answer will almost certainly be Yes, I am better off now than 4 years ago in November of 2008 when we were losing almost a million jobs a month, real estate had dropped disastrously, the stock market had lost nearly half its value, banks were in threat of collapsing and foreclosures were happening up and down nearly every block.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, let’s say Obama does exactly what you want him to do and open the floodgates of domestic oil that are currently shackled by the administration. Please tell me how much you think this would decrease gas prices in the next three or so years, and why.

As for OPEC’s reaction, by the same logic they would ramp up production in response to American energy independence in the form of an increase in EV use and other green initiatives. Of course, that’s your logic. If I were the OPEC cartel and I sensed the emergence of significant oil supply in America I would just price gouge consumers even more while lack of competition lets me get away with it.

Jaxk's avatar


Yes the estimates project from 200–500 years at our current rate of usage. More than likely @tedd is trying to use ‘Proven Reserves’ for his number. That’s the game they usually play. Unproven reserves are defined as: Unproven reserves are based on geological and/or engineering data similar to that used in estimates of proven reserves, but technical, contractual, or regulatory uncertainties preclude such reserves being classified as proven.

A pretty neat trick. Keep the oil fields off limits and the reserves are never proven, therefore never counted. It is interesting to note that the world’s current proved reserves are 1.258 trillion barrels but in 1997 they were 1.0685 trillion barrels. And we pumped 290 billion barrels in the intervening years. Hell the reserves increased by 480 billion barrels while everyone is predicting the end of our oil supplies. We already know about trillions of barrels that aren’t counted in the proven reserves. We will find an alternative to oil long before we run any risk of running out even if it takes centuries to do so (unlikely it would take anywhere near that). And even when we do we still need oil for things like plastics and asphalt. I fear the claims of ‘Peak Oil’ are greatly exaggerated.

Jaxk's avatar


I’ve already noted several options for near term production in ANWR and the gulf as well as the Canadian pipeline for gas. As I said ANWR alone would reduce our imports 8% and that’s not full production just a full pipeline.

As for Green energy, yes we could accomplish the same thing if we had something that worked. Unfortunately we don’t. All the hype about electric cars is a lot of fun but they won’t replace gas. At least not in the near term and I suspect never. Even if you come up with some tremendous advance, I doubt you’ll power trucks or jets with batteries. And even if you do the time to swap out our transportation is about 10 years to get 50%. So first you need a solution then another decade to get half way converted.

As for OPEC, your scheme is possible but I doubt it. That’s just my opinion. Countries like Libya and Iraq are new governments with lots of rebuilding to do. In order to raise oil prices, OPEC must cut production. I don’t see these new governments being able to take that hit. Not to mention the competition from evolving oil countries like Venezuela, Russia, Canada, Mexico. Will they all take the hit? Maybe. But I don’t think so. Of course I could be wrong.

Jaxk's avatar


See my response to @King_Pariah about the proved reserves. We have plenty of oil. As for wind and solar, it has nothing to do with oil. It replaces coal for generating electricity. I doubt we will see a jetliner with a windmill for power. We only use about 1% of oil to generate electricity. Converting to wind and solar, even if it was feasible, would have no noticeable effect on oil or gasoline.

Honestly, I support solar but hate wind. We just need to make it competitive. We can’t keep subsidizing it. At some point it needs to be able to stand on it’s own and it’s certainly not ready for prime time. And jacking up the rates for electricity is a horrible solution to making it competitive. That’s all we need is another drain on the economy in current financial climate. I hope your stock does well. My last venture into solar didn’t work out so well. And frankly I never agree with hiring another million workers on the tax payers money just to force solar down our throats. If your guys can get that market share without government support, great. Otherwise, well…......

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, I am skeptical of your claims but certainly you might be right.

I just don’t see this as having much of an impact in the near term, even if you are right. Reducing imports by 8% in the near term, your best case scenario, would marginally affect the cost of gas for Americans… though not even as much as the normal commodity fluctuations (gas prices are currently in rather steep decline, as I’m sure you’ve noticed).

I guess I am seeing a disconnect between the efficacy of your own ideas, even in your own best case scenario, and your anger and blame towards Obama for not doing them. I’m reminded of tort reform in health care. Tort reform might indeed save us some money but “some” is the operative key word; it’s not going to fix our health care problems in the near term or the long term. And yet conservatives tend to treat tort reform as this magical remedy that will solve the health care industry’s failings.

Jaxk's avatar


I wouldn’t say 8% is the best case scenario but it is certainly good enough for evaluation. Between 2008 and 2009 our oil consumption dropped as a result of the high gas price and the recession. It dropped by about 10% During the same period gas prices dropped from over $4/gal to around $2.50/gal. The economy began to stabilize and the administration predicted a recovery. Remember Biden’s ‘Summer of Recovery’. That didn’t happen. Oil usage began to creep up and OPEC cut production. Gas prices began to rise approaching $4/gal again and we began to hear predictions of a ‘Double Dip’. It is impossible to ignore the connection between oil and the economy. At least for me.

There were other events that played a part in all this but it’s difficult to measure the impact. The gulf oil spill and resulting halt on drilling and permits. Mostly affecting future production. It probably played a part but how much is a guess. There is lots of oil out there. Hell, Brazil recently discovered a field that is estimated at 40 billion barrels AND it’s light sweet crude. My anger at the policies resides in the fact that had we started, we would already be seeing results. Instead we’re trying to make deals to import rather than exploit our own.

As for your take on Health Care, there is no magic bullet. I could easily view the Democratic solution the same way you view the Republican one, they think it is a magic bullet. It’s not. A couple of things I learned in management. One is that you can’t reorganize to fix a broken process. You merely end up with a broken process in a new organization. The second is that any major change, no matter how good, will create disruption and make the problem worse before it gets better. Obamacare merely reorganizes the health care under Government control without fixing the problems and it comes at a time when we can least afford it. Simply a bad idea at the worst possible time. I view it as inexperience and Ideology driven. another bad combination.

Qingu's avatar

Oil prices and the economy are indeed deeply connected. But gas prices did not cause the recession. A cause is different than a connection.

I don’t really see what your point is when you claim unimaginable wealth of oil in our own hemisphere, all of which would take years if not decades to develop. I thought we were talking about the failures of Obama to fix the economy within a couple of years?

Obamacare does not reorganize the health care system under Government control. As usual, you have remarkably strong feelings about things that you are ignorant about.

Jaxk's avatar


I suppose I could post the definition of ‘control’ and things like that but it would have little impact. For those that want to believe that ‘if Obama can’t fix it, nobody can’, there is little room for discussion. Obama was elected 3 years ago now and he’s yet to give a single speech where didn’t blame others for his failure.

There’s an old story about a CEO that got fired. Before he left he wrote 3 letters and put them in the desk drawer. The new CEO took over and saw the letters with a note that said “if you get into trouble, open the first letter”. Sure enough with in a few months he was having trouble with the company. He opened the first letter. It said “blame your predecessor”. That sounded like a good idea, so every time he found a problem he blamed it on the last CEO. That worked for a while but pretty soon things were not getting any better and no one wanted to hear the excuses any more. So he opened the second letter. It said “reorganize”. That sounded like a good idea as well. So he reorganized the departments and appointed new executives to run them. That seemed to satisfy everyone for a while but pretty soon, it became obvious that things were not getting any better. So he opened the third letter. It said “write three letters”.

That’s about where we are right now. Obama has blamed his predecessor about as much as we can stand. He’s reorganized appointed a plethora of new new departments and Czars. It’s time for him to write the three letters.

Qingu's avatar

Well, that’s certainly one way to look at it. And it’s folksy to boot.

A more honest way to look at it is that Obama did in fact inherit the recession and the structural weaknesses (financial system chaos, massive govertnment debt, massive consumer debt, a housing bubble that burst) that caused it, and his policies have in fact done much to ameleriote the financial crisis and stave off unemployment. And to the extent that Obama has been unable to lower unemployment further, it is largely because Republicans have voted in lockstep to block or hold hostage every single attempt to spend money—or even cut taxes—to do so.

bkcunningham's avatar

How can the Republicans have so much impact when the Democrats held the majority in the House and the Senate up until November 2010? They still hold the majority in the Senate and in the Executive Branch. Let’s be real about things and stop blaming the Republicans.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham first of all, requiring 60 votes for any measure is a steep hurdle. FDR had 67 Democratic senators in the bag when he took office. Obama and the Dem Congress did get a lot of stuff done in 09–10, but they had to appease “Blue dog” Democrats who are basically Republicans in fiscal matters (and also corrupt).

But I’m not talking about 09–10, I’m talking about after that. Because Republicans in theHouse have blocked virtually every initiative put forth by the white House. I don’t really see what you’re not getting. Our Congress is designed to favor inaction and minority sabotage. I mean, were you paying attention to the deficit ceiling debacle, when John Boehner and House Republicans held it hostage until they could get, in Boehner’s own words, “98 percent of what he wanted”?

Jaxk's avatar


Obama is not the first President to have a split congress. In fact he is one of the very few that had a complete filibuster proof majority during any portion of his reign. Yet others seem to have gotten some consensus. They’ve still been able to work with the other side.

If I called you a jackass every time I opened my mouth (I’m hypothesizing here), would you be more or less willing to work with me? Would you be more or less willing to give me the benefit of the doubt? That is in fact how Obama has operated since the campaign. And then he complains even more forcefully that no one will work with him. It’s a ‘Self Fulfilling Prophesy’.

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Qingu's avatar

Blaming Obama for Republican obstructionism is like blaming a battered wife for not being nice enough to her husband.

The Bush administration routinely branded political opponents as traitors, un-Americans, who want the terrorists to win. And yet Dems routinely voted with the administration.

Obama has done nothing but offer olive branches and compromises with the Republicans and they have done nothing but obstruct.

And I think you are perfectly aware of this, @Jaxk.

Jaxk's avatar

I think you need to stir those tea leaves one more time. Your interpretation is less than accurate.

silentwanderer's avatar

Worse off, and no I don’t blame the President. I blame rampant speculation, and greed on the part of Wall Street.

Helpr's avatar

I never blame other people for things that happened in my life. Especially not for my complete standard.
I live better than 4 years ago, and if we had better president I would live – even better.

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