Where we were, where we are (Election 2012, now with added prediction)

I’m writing this to provide some perspective on where we were and how far we’ve come under the current Presidential administration. Take it for what it’s worth (much of this is lifted from a similar Facebook post of mine).

In November of 2008, as the Bush Presidency was winding down, the U.S. economy lost 803,000 jobs. In December, the economy shed 661,000 more jobs. GDP during the last quarter of 2008 fell almost 10%, the kind of precipitous drop seen previously only during the Great Depression. In January 2009, the U.S. economy lost another 818,000 jobs. President Obama assumed office at the end of the month.

At that point, due to a financial crisis of a kind unseen in this country for generations, the economy was hemmorhaging jobs. In mid-February 2009, the President and congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “Stimulus”). Job losses were vastly mitigated by May 2009.

By November 2009, the U.S economy began to create jobs once again, though the trajectory was bumpy, with one month showing gains, another showing losses. But by October 2010 and through and including October 2012 (when the economy added an unadjusted 171,000 jobs), the U.S. economy created jobs. In every month. Every month. That trajectory looks poised to continue (compare with the European countries that pursued an austerity agenda, advocated by Republicans here; the contrast between their recovery and the U.S. recovery is instructive).

Now, you may be unhappy with the rate of recovery. I am, too. But I’m cognizant of the fact that recovery from recessions driven by financial crises (as this one was) takes much longer than recovery from recessions driven by downturns in the business cycle.

The long and short is this: We’ve come a long way. Keep that in mind. Perspective.

Now, I know some think that there’s little difference between the policies likely to be implemented by either of the major party candidates, that they’re essentially the same, etc., and some use that perception as a reason not to vote. I think that’s a mistaken view (and please don’t do that). While we don’t have the benefit of an alt-world Fringeverse to compare the effects of different policies in real time, we do know the policies candidates advocate, and I’m convinced that if the election of 2008 (for example) had turned out differently, America would look very different than it does today. A President McCain almost certainly would not have passed a stimulus of the kind Obama did (instead pursuing an austerity agenda), would not have passed a healthcare bill that now provides insurance for tens of millions of previously uncovered Americans, would not have passed a pay equity bill, would not have appointed Kagan and Sotomayor to SCOTUS (with all of the implications those appointments have for women and their right to choose), and I could go on a long while. Of course, whether one thinks those policies are good or bad depends on one’s political leanings, but I think it’s indisputable that an America under a President McCain would have looked vastly different than America under President Obama. I feel the same way about the differences between an American under a President Romney and an America under a President Obama. So, you know, vote.

And speaking of voting, I offer my prediction for Tuesday: Based on recent polling, and assuming there’s no systemic flaw across all state polls, I say President Obama will win re-election with an electoral college victory margin of either 303-235 or 331-207. If/when he does, I’ll take comfort in the fact that the Oval Office remains in good hands.

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5 Comments

  1. This was rather helpful. I still need to look more into the candidates however. I did not vote last time but I plan on changing that!

  2. I early voted this year, first time. It was very slick. No waiting in line, and I felt just as good voting as I did all those other times waiting in line. Granted, I know voters in some states might have a bit longer wait (especially with early voting finished now) but there is no doubt it is worth it. Generations of those who came before us fought for the right to vote and we honor them and the spirit of this nation by taking advantage of this unique opportunity.

    I used your same line of thinking Paul as I cast my vote here in Wisconsin.

    • Agreed.

      And I wish Michigan (and every other state, for that matter) had easy early voting processes. There’s no good reason not to.

  3. I was extremely pleased with this past election, not because Obama had won, but because 4 of the “Flat Earth 5″ had been thrown out of office.

    I would, honestly, find the republican party far more palatable if they didn’t deny science (see Broun) so vehemently, and so frequently.

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