Hot Air Green Room colleague Howard Portnoy noted on October 3, Joe Biden said that the middle class has been “buried” for the past four years. A tacit realization that President Obama’s impotent economic policies has killed American economic vigor. Keep ‘em coming Joe! Biden seems to be talking the Democratic ticket right out of the White House, but let’s focus on the middle class.
John Merline at Investors Business Daily wrote on October 2 that:
Since 2009, the middle 20% of American households saw their average incomes drop 4%. In 2011 alone, they fell 1.7%. The poorest 20% have fared even worse under Obama, Census data show. Their incomes have dropped more than 7% since 2009, and are now lower than they’ve been at any time since 1985, after adjusting for inflation.
Meanwhile, the wealthiest have managed to eke out gains in two of the past three years. In 2011, the top 20% saw their average income climb almost 2%, the Census data show.
These results are in direct contrast of what President Obama said his policies would produce when he ran for president in 2008.
Merline noted that in Obama’s “first budget, released in February 2009, Obama said his policies would bring about ‘bottom-up growth that empowers hardworking families to climb the ladder of success.’ But so far, none of that has happened during Obama’s recovery, which started in June 2009 and has produced historically low rates of economic growth….only the wealthiest households have managed to eke out income gains… these results are highly unusual in an economic recovery, which typically produces income gains across the board. During the eight-year Reagan boom, for example, incomes at the bottom climbed 14%… the middle [class] climbed 13%, and those at the top 22%.”
So, given Obama’s regulatory onslaught, the waves of uncertainly he creates through the ominous tax hikes under Obamacare, and the increase in the welfare state, should we be surprised that our economy is weak. The president says ”In this country, prosperity has never trickled down from the wealthy few…prosperity has always come from the bottom up.” Merline aptly notes that “left unanswered is why Obama expects his policies to produce different results over the next four years than they did in the previous four.
When he ran for president, then-Senator Obama spoke in March of 2008 at the Cooper Union in New York City to talk about his economic agenda and slam Republican John McCain for having one that “amounts to little more than watching this crisis [2008 financial crisis] unfold.” Additionally “Obama said ’I’ve put forward a series of proposals that will foster economic growth from the bottom up.’ Later that year, he said the country faced “a choice between more of the same policies that have widened inequality, added to our debt,” or policies that ‘will restore balance to our economy; that will invest in the ingenuity and innovation of our people; that will fuel a bottom-up prosperity.” The irony is palpable.
This could be an interesting pivot for Romney to take during the debates as he shapes his narrative to say that he’s better equipped on the economy than Obama. Yes, he needs to make the conservative distinction, but to expose the president’s crusade against the middle class and working poor, while producing the exact opposite, could get under the president’s skin. A move that could lead to making him look visibly agitated a la Al Gore. It’s something he’s mindful of since it’s happened to him already – so Mitt poke and prod away. Let’s put Obama’s patience to the test. Furthermore, it should make every single WaPo fact checkers’ head explode.