The Obama Presidency — By the Numbers–15fh.,b26
This is a rare area where both Obama and his critics highlight the eye-popping statistic. With the addition of 209 more shortened sentences on Tuesday, Obama has now commuted more prison terms than any other president in history. In fact, Obama has granted more commutations than the previous 12 presidents combined, from Franklin Roosevelt through George W. Bush, according to the U.S. Pardon Office.
But William Otis, a former federal prosecutor who worked in both Bush administrations, said the disparity between Obama and his predecessors — both Republican and Democrat — demonstrates a radical departure from accepted use of one of the few presidential powers that is absolute.
Economic Growth — 1.5 Percent
The gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services, grew by an average of 1.5 percent from 2009 to 2015. In the first two quarters of 2016, growth nearly stalled at .8 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, before posting a healthy 3.5 percent rate in the third quarter.
Even though the current recovery is one of the longest on record, growth never kicked into high gear. Obama’s best year was 2.6 percent last year. He will finish his presidency Friday as the first president since before World War II to never preside over a single year of growth exceeding 3 percent.
Economists say that is one of the reasons why wages have been stagnant. According to the Census Bureau, the household median income in 2015, $56,516, climbed above the inflation-adjusted figure in 2008 for the first time in Obama’s presidency. But it remained below the inflation-adjusted high of $57,909 in 1999.
Labor Force Participation Rate — 62.7 Percent
Even as the unemployment rate tumbled during Obama’s tenure, a more troubling long-term trend took firm hold of the economy — labor force dropouts.
The government calculates unemployment as a percentage of the labor force without jobs. The labor force consists of everyone who has a job or is actively looking for one. But it does not count people who are not looking.
The percentage of adults — those 16 and older — who are employed or looking for work has declined steadily. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force participation rate was 65.7 percent when Obama took office in January 2009, the depths of the Recession triggered by the financial meltdown in 2008. Last month, after a long economic recovery, the rate was 62.7 percent, down 3 full percentage points and near an all-time low.
Trade Deficit — Approximately $500 Billion
Obama campaigned for president in 2007 and 2008 on the promise of reining in abuses by China and closing the trade deficit. Instead, he leaves office after having watched the gap in imports and exports grow by more than 30 percent.
Through the first 11 months of 2016, the trade deficit in goods and services was $454.05 billion, on track to come close to or exceed the $500.37 billion gap in 2015.
National Debt — Nearly $20 Trillion; The national debt for 2008 stood at $10.02 trillion. By last year, it had ballooned to $19.5 trillion. And although the flood of red ink slowed after the economy pulled out the Recession, the budget never came close to balancing under Obama. The debt is projected to grow to $20.1 trillion when the current fiscal year ends in September.
Domestic Terrorism Deaths — 146– According to the terrorism index tracked by the Institute for Economics and Peace, there were 105 terrorist incidents resulting in 93 deaths from 2009 through 2015.
Major Regulations — 660– The American Action Forum counts 600 new “major” regulations — those in which the economic impact exceeds $100 million. The total cost of those regulations exceeds $800 billion, said Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the Washington-based think tank. The creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Affordable Care Act, and Obama’s Clean Power Plan made it almost a certainty that regulations would be numerous and expensive.
“They created a whole new agency during the Obama administration,” he said. Batkins said that if Congress raised taxes by $100 billion every single year of Obama’s tenure, “That would certainly get people’s attention.”
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Obama administration wrote an average about 35 new regulations for every law passed by Congress, roughly twice the ratio during the Bush administration. The think tank estimates that the regulatory burden cost the economy $1.885 trillion in 2015.
Obama Vacations — 217 days
According to Mark Knoller, a CBS News reporter who tracks presidential leisure, Obama has taken 28 vacations covering all or parts of 217 days during his two terms.
That is less than his predecessor, who spent 490 days at his Texas ranch while he was president.
Obama’s travels did not come cheap to taxpayers. The conservative watchdog Judicial Watch reported last month that records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that taxpayers have spent $96.9 million on Obama’s travel.
“The Obamas’ notorious abuse of presidential travel perks wasted military resources and stressed the Secret Service,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement at the time.
source-brendan kirby, neil eggleston, william otis, william robert johnson, sam batkins, competitive enterprise inst., mark knoller, cbs,