Obama hardly a failure on the economy

Dear Editor:

In discussions of economic prosperity or blight, it is illuminating to compare the rate at which America’s gross domestic product grows to that of other countries most like our own. A recent commentary contended that our President caused the American GDP growth rate to fall to about 2 percent. Setting aside questions of causality (e.g., presidential action versus congressional obstructionism), a look at Germany — hardly an economy on the skids — reveals that its economy was growing at a mere 1.6 percent (although the flight of the United Kingdom from the European Union is expected to rein that in to an anemic 1.2 percent).

To conclude that the GDP growth percentages have slackened overall since the present administration took office flies in the face of real-world arithmetic. Here are the actual figures, starting in December of 2009, at the bottom of the recession: 2009 (-.24 percent), 2010 (2.73 percent), 2011 (1.68 percent), 2012 (1.28 percent), 2013 (2.45 percent), 2014 (2.47 percent) and 2015 (1.98 percent). Hence we can see that growth in the American GDP has averaged about 2.3 percent every year since the second year of Obama’s presidency. This compares favorably with Germany and France, both estimated at 1.3 percent as of the beginning of this year.

True, the growth has been modest compared to the boom years when our grandparents came roaring out of the Great Depression (GDP shrinking at -26.34 percent at the end of Roosevelt’s first year in office, as of Dec. 31, 1933) to go to war against the Axis, achieving a high of 76.87 percent GDP growth by December of 1943. But we live in a substantially different world today, and citing comparative depression/recession recovery statistics from our grandparents’ time seems on its face something of an apples-to-oranges comparison. What we do know is that we have averaged twice the GDP growth these last seven years than a couple of middle-of-the-pack European Union countries did as of last December. One, therefore, is forced to conclude that American business and our President, an intransigent Congress notwithstanding, must have been doing something right.

Nick Humez

Trenton and Painesville, Ohio

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