Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Speeches We'd Like to Hear - Obama on the Recovery

Can the Obama Administration allow the nay-sayers, truth benders and Congressional bigots sabotage the economic recovery for political advantages?

After all, enough "bad press" can throw us all back into the second dip of this economic morass.

MeanMesa has already taken the bold step of "putting words into the mouth" of President Obama.  (See "Speeches We'd Like to Hear - Obama on the Deficit," a recent posting on this blog go to the posting here  )  Now, we'd like to return to that theme with another "speech" concerning the recovery.

This posting finds the neo-con "sludge factory" running at full steam -- as usual.  All sorts of folks with Congressional seats or cheap, corporate microphones are spouting daily invectives, lies, of course, but still quite palatable to the hill billies and bigots who don't care enough about our country to even find out what's happening.  They form a chorus of extremely questionable voices which say things such as "Not a single job was created."  "We would have been better off if Obama had done nothing!"

The voices of scholarly economists -- with personal positions on both sides of the issue -- mean nothing.  Neither do facts.  Whenever something emerges from the routine sources of the government, public opinion or think tanks, the verdict is simply to "shoot the messenger" for these knuckle dragging troglodytes.  Philosophically, it is an existential impossibility (if there is such a thing...) for any credible information to contradict the pablum these losers swallow daily from the "fact benders" whether the voices belong to the Hannity Limbaugh ilk or the only slightly less soiled Republicans "talkers" in the House and Senate.

Ooops.  Did MeanMesa tip our hand, perhaps staining our nationally respected equanimity?   If anyone is wondering, we're so over these losers and crooks, we're ready to turn off the lights!

One last note before we begin the "speech:MeanMesa's brilliant (and, BTW, available) IT Guy, Dave, has educated us on the correct procedure for posting graphics!  No more scrawny little, half legible visual wreckage on this blog site!  For those wishing to view the original source of the graphics used here 

Thanks Dave!

Once again, it is time for Barack Obama to become the teacher.  The topic of class for this speech is the United States economy in the process of recovery.

Good evening, my fellow Americans.

Although my recent talk about the country's deficit has drawn a significant amount of fire from our political opponents, a good number of Americans have told us that it helped explain things.  Remarkably, most of the folks talking to us via email and letters were not upset by the idea that I wanted to include a couple of graphs to explain my point.

Based on that reception, I've decided to talk in the same way -- that is, with more graphs -- about how our economy is performing as we take steps to get things going again.  Although the media presents economic information in rather small packages when there is a new development, I wanted to discuss a block of economic news which needs to be considered as a whole.  I especially want to address the economy's performance in areas which concern the majority of Americans the most.

Tonight, we'll take a look at five major areas of the economy.

  1. Jobs - the employment outlook
  2. Deficits - my plans to greatly lower the national debt
  3. Our GDP - what the future of the whole economy might look like
  4. Services - the future course of state and local government spending, and
  5. House Values - the future housing starts as the economy recovers

As I said before, I want to talk about a chart for each of these five areas.  In each case, I want to discuss what the numbers on those charts can mean to our recovery.  Because our unacceptably high unemployment is the most pressing and immediate problem for both myself and for many Americans, let's begin with what jobs situation is predicted to do as we move ahead in the recovery.

Jobs and Unemployment
We are all painfully familiar with the "dip" in employment this graph shows.  It began around the start of 2008, got worse, then finally began to climb around the middle of 2009.  This "pocket" of job losses was immense, growing by around 3/4 of a million jobs a month at its very worst.  However, right here we have to remember that this graph shows job losses not the total number of people who are out of work.

To get to that number, we have to add all the bad news in my chart together.  Those are the stories of workers and families that make up the unacceptably high unemployment figures we face today.

Right at the 2010 line -- where the grey starts -- we see a jump that tells us that we finally began adding jobs.  Some of these were census workers, but a lot of them were Americans starting to go to work on projects funded by the Recovery Act.  Of course, those increases are now tapering off a little even though job growth remains on the positive side of the chart.  My administration decided that it was important to "break the cycle" which had begun in 2008.

As of right now, the country has had job growth for the last year.  This hasn't been as much as I would liked, but compared to what we have just put behind us, it's very promising.

The graph shows slower-- but still positive job growth -- coming up for the next year or so.  If you're unemployed, don't lose hope.  I know times are rough, and I am thinking about the problem everyday, trying to find even more that the Federal government and my administration can do to get us out of this as soon as possible.

The Deficit

Next, even though my last talk was about the national debt, we want to spend just a moment on the deficit.  First, regardless of what my Republican colleagues are saying about the deficit, it is more than politics -- it is a national security matter.  Again, since they -- like me -- are trying to win elections this November, they have been voting against policies such as the extension of unemployment benefits and justifying their opposition by complaining about how they raise the deficit.

As I mentioned in our last talk, they should know quite a lot about deficits.  The problem is that they don't seem to know much about what it's like to not have a job and to be relying on unemployment benefits to make ends meet.

I won't try to confuse anyone.  My administration has been pumping money into the economy big time, starting just as soon as I took office.  We had to do this because the economy had lost so much value that it was in danger of simply stopping.  My deficit this year is almost a $1 trillion dollars.  The government's tax revenues are way down because business is so bad, and that means that we have been borrowing money and printing money to put into the economy to get it going again.

We cannot keep pumping deficit money into our economy forever.  The deficit chart shows that this practice will be winding down to roughly the level before the crash by around 2012.  After that, my administration's austerity policies will continue to gradually control the deficit.  We don't want to choke the recovery now that we have actually got it started, but we know in no uncertain terms that our government spending must come back into line with our resources.
Jobs and Unemployment


Now, a quick comment on our national GDP and the forecast for the American economy's growth in the next few years.  However, here again the numbers need a little explanation.  

The GDP before the crash was almost 40% financial products.  We now know where that kind of an economy will lead us.  As a result, we will work toward a GDP which is much more based on real growth -- manufactured things such as auto mobiles, energy saving solar panels and infrastructure improvements.  Unlike the financial products which have caused so much trouble, "cars, planes and trains" actually continue to hold value and improve the economy.

We need to go to this approach to get out of the financial collapse and to insure future growth for the nation -- real growth -- a GDP based on real products.
This chart shows that we have set a target of around 3.5% growth as our economy goes ahead to 2015.  That may sound modest, but we have to remember that the GDP growth we were experiencing before the collapse was based far too heavily on financial products -- not real ones.  When everyone saw what was fueling those GDP growth numbers, the "growth" collapsed right along with the rest of the economy.  We want real growth, not more high priced, risky financial  gizmos.

For those of you who don't usually think in terms of GDP, I'm not going to launch into a long explanation of it right here.  Just understand that a good healthy GDP, based on strong healthy products, means that everything else  in the economy will start working better, too.  That's what we're after.

State and Local Government Spending

A lot of the services of your government are the result of taxes collected and money spent by your local and state governments.  Paying for schools, fire departments, road maintenance and your local police and state troopers all depends of whether or not your city or your state has enough revenue money.  Right now, the economic downturn has not only reduced the amount that the Federal government take in, it has done the same thing to your local governments, too.

As we estimate the amounts of revenues which will become available to state and local governments in the next few years, we can see the trend to restore  necessary government services as the financial situation improves.  State and local governments usually can't go into the red -- even for a single yearly budget.  As a result of this, when the state and local money dies up, the services have to be cut to balance the books.

Now, we might think that this is a great chance to lower government spending.  To a certain extent, this may be the case.  However, as more and more of the government programs which support our economy get cut, too many other things go down as well.  A manufacturing plant struggling to stay in business simply doesn't need the road out in front to get so bad that its delivery trucks get ruined.

House Prices

The last of the five topics is one area which is causing Americans serious problems.  People have wisely used their homes as a bank account, a safe place to put all their savings over a lifetime.  We all know about  sub-prime mortgages and the other financial instruments which have caused so much trouble, but tonight, we need to look at the on-going effects of those problems.

Many Americans have had their houses foreclosed.  Many more are in danger of the same thing.  We have tried a number of programs to decrease these foreclosures, but we have not had the success I wanted.  We will work even harder on this as the recovery continues.

However, many Americans who are not in danger of foreclosure have seen the value of their houses drop sharply.  One reason for this is that so many homes have been foreclosed that there is a surplus of houses for sale -- many of them for sale at low prices as banks and mortgage holders try to sell foreclosures.  Making matters worse, many Americans who would -- in better economic times -- be in the market for a house are either not in a position to afford one or are waiting for housing prices to begin to rise again before they buy.

Because of this, not many new homes have been started even after the low point in 2009.  However, when housing starts -- the topic of my last chart -- begin to pick up, it means that the market has sold many of the surplus homes on the market right now.  More housing starts means higher prices on houses for sale, and higher values on homes currently owned.

Of course, the industry which builds homes in America will also start growing healthier when this happens.  My housing experts see this kind of progress gradually picking up steam toward the end of 2010.  If you presently own a home, hang on to it if you possibly can.  Things will get better.

I hope that the information on these charts has painted a picture of an economy in recovery.  The arguments which have been relentlessly presented to suggest otherwise are not based on the facts of the matter.  My administration has been working every day -- including quite a few long nights -- on our country's economic problem.  The facts show that our efforts are succeeding.  We all wish that things were moving faster, but let there be no question:  our economy is in recovery.

During the time I've been President, the economic emergency has consumed time when, if things were better, we could have done many other, important things for the country.  Every American is paying an immense price for this recovery.   This is a time when all of us must do whatever we can to move our recovery forward.  Each one of us  must participate in this effort.

However, politics is always politics.  Different ideas about the future course of the country make us the vibrant democracy that we are.  However, when a large part of what should be a healthy political discussion has no basis in fact, good decisions about our future suffer.  When the political discussion at election time centers on massive misrepresentations of the facts about the challenges we face, our real challenges go untended.

I encourage all Americans -- including those voting for either party -- to make their ballot decisions on the best information available.  The recovery depends on it, and our country's future depends on it.

Thank you, and God Bless the United States of America.

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