Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How is Obama Doing?

The folks at MP are having an interesting discussion.
MinnPost: Obama by the Numbers
Fact Check: Obama Numbers

Thoughts?

52 comments:

Laurie said...

Obama is doing great, especially considering how nearly completely unwilling congress has been to work with him. Here's what stuck out to me as some accomplishments that which are easy to give him credit for:

The increase in solar power in particular has been spectacular. The U.S. generated nearly 25 times more electricity from solar power in the most recent 12 months than it did in the year before Obama took office.
These trends are partly due to large federal tax subsidies for wind and solar generation, all supported by Obama.

The fact that, with few exceptions, the U.S. is viewed more favorably overseas now than it was before Obama took office. According to the most recent polling for the Pew Global Attitudes Project, 83 percent of Italians said they viewed the U.S. favorably in 2015, an increase of 30 percentage points over 2007, the last time Pew polled in Italy prior to Obama’s time in office.In France, 73 percent viewed the U.S. favorably, up 31 points from 2008.

Number of Jobs —The economy has now added 7,865,000 jobs since Obama first took office.

the last one I will give Obama partial credit for.

and here is one more that stands out for me as positive (though some will disagree based on how things are going there now.) Military fatalities in Iraq operations since Obama took office to 270.

Laurie said...

as usual I will let someone else make arguments supporting my views - in this case how great Obama is. I look forward to your disagreements, John

Barack Obama is officially one of the most consequential presidents in American history

John said...

As I said on MP. I thank heavens the GOP Congress was there to constrain his desire to spend and raise taxes.

"I personally think the Republicans and Obama have been doing a good job of keeping spending increases down and raising taxes on the wealthy somewhat during the past 5+ years. Now if we could keep this going for another 4 years we may actually get back to surpluses and paying down some of that massive National Debt that they have been ignoring. Without the creative conflict, I pretty sure either side would have made things worse.

Then there is also that pending SS and Medicare disaster that they all have been avoiding... Please remember that SS Disability is already on the edge of the precipice. And that we should be getting closer to the ~8 year recession cycle...

Maybe they deserve a B-...

John said...

I think beauty is going to be in the eye of the beholder on this one. If one likes the idea of the USA moving towards Democratic Socialism, then one should like what Obama tried to accomplish domestically. If one wants to maintain more personal control of their finances, decisions, freedoms, etc, then they will not like what Obama tried to accomplish.

Regarding immigration, if one wants to reward people who violated the US borders, budged in line in front of potential immigrants who followed the legal progress, took jobs from low skilled American workers which kept wages down for them, etc. And if people want the President deciding to not enforce US laws, then Obama did a great job.

I actually support Obama's decision to engage Cuba, however I am unsure if the Iran work will be good or terrible. (time will tell) The trade work he is pushing is good. His losing control of Iraq after the big investment Americans made in money and lives is tragic.

Overall I am sticking with the B-.

John said...

Brookings Poll Results

Laurie said...

Your link is not working for me.

I am curious as to how you would grade GWB. To me he was also quite consequential in a very negative way - with the Iraq war and the stock market crash. I'd give him a D.

I think I may have found your link:

Measuring Obama against the great presidents

Anonymous said...

Is the United States moving toward a socialist system? A quick definition of socialism is: "Socialism is a social and economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy."

Like many definitions of complex concepts, this definition raises as many issues as it answers. What does socialism mean in a 21st century context? The definition speaks of social ownership of the means of production. What is "social ownership"? We live in an economy where quite a large percentage of the public owns stock through mutual funds and retirement plans. Is this what is meant "social ownership"? What about "co-operative management of the economy"? Is that a direction toward which we are heading? Are the companies we own through stock ownership cooperating with each other, perhaps in the form of mergers?

Are these trends progressing under Obama? What would an anti socialist policy look like? Would it mean breaking up retirement funds? Greater anti trust regulation to disrupt the control of markets we see from various corporate cartels? Would any of that be sound economic policy?

--Hiram

John said...

Laurie,
After giving this a brief perusal, I also give Bush a B-. Though the wars did not go as well as planned, there were many other things that were good, including the tax cuts that minimized the ~2000 tech stock bubble pop and world trade center destruction recession. As for the 2008 crash, unfortunately bubbles pop...

Hiram,
In an anti-socialist economy, individuals get to choose:
- how much they save and where it is invested
- which insurance policies they buy
- they can buy or sell investments as they wish

They get to use more of their personal property as they wish, and they have to live with the consequences of their decisions... Good or Bad.

John said...

Remember that as the Blue Area grows, our freedom to make personal choices declines.

Sean said...

"Regarding immigration, if one wants to reward people who violated the US borders, budged in line in front of potential immigrants who followed the legal progress, took jobs from low skilled American workers which kept wages down for them, etc. And if people want the President deciding to not enforce US laws, then Obama did a great job."

Congress has consistently underfunded our immigration courts. Before the President issued his executive order, the handling of immigration cases was inconsistent and frequently arbitrary. All the executive order does is prioritize what cases come at the top of the list, and which ones are at the bottom of the list. Now, you can complain about his priorities, but it's a perfectly rational response to a difficult situation.

We should also point out that net illegal immigration over the last few years has been at or near zero.

John said...

Zero illegal immigration. Maybe NAFTA is working...

USA Today Judge Blocks Action

John said...

"the handling of immigration cases was inconsistent and frequently arbitrary"

How hard can this be?
Judge: "Do you have any documentation that allows you to be in America?"

Illegal Immigrant: "Well, No"

Judge: "The IMS will escort you to the airport and send you back to your home country, where you can apply to immigrate here legally like everyone else. Have a nice day."

Sean said...

This is from five years ago, but the issues still remain today.

ABA on Immigration Courts

Laurie said...

About Bush's grade, he came in 35th on the Brookings poll, but I really don't want to debate. I was more interested in seeing how biased you are on this. I don't want to join the immigration debate either as it is clear to me no minds will be changed at all.

John said...

It would be interesting how much they use metrics in their grading process?

Will Obama drop in their ranking if the ~8 year recession occurs before he leaves office, like it did with Bush? Is Obama's higher rating because he took office in the middle of the Great Recession? It may be as much lucky timing as Presidential skill...

Laurie said...

The standings of both presidents will change over time but I think it is highly likelly that 50 years from now Obama will be rated significantly higher than Bush.
While it is too soon to give Obama a final grade, He just got another A on a big project:

"I would give it an A": Why nuclear experts love the Iran deal

John said...

If the economy does not tank until 2017, then I am sure he will say a big thank you prayer and go down in history as a very good President. If it implodes in 2016, the success of his Presidency will be in question. I mean other than the wars, most people seemed to be doing pretty well from 2000 thru 2007. House values were rising, taxes were low, stock values were rising, unemployment was low, etc and then POOF... Some people stop paying their mortgages and the house of cards collapses.

It will be interesting to see if he gets the nuclear deal passed. It seems some folks don't see it as deserving an "A".

WP 4 Problems with Deal
BI Deal Leaves Lot to Iran
FOX Obama Defends Deal

Anonymous said...

"POOF... Some people stop paying their mortgages and the house of cards collapses."

I think it's telling that you put the onus on the victims of predatory lending.

Sean said...

"It will be interesting to see if he gets the nuclear deal passed. "

Republicans seem to living in the fantasy world that we can thumb our noses at a deal that got signoff from our three most stalwart European allies plus Russia plus China and force Iran into a better deal. If we blow up this deal, you're not going to get the sanctions back in their current form (much less the more stringent ones that the GOP claims to want) and you're going to end up hardening resistance on the Iranian side, too. (Not to mention that the GOP has little to crow about when Iran went from 0 to 6,000 centrifuges under the previous Administration).

It's not a perfect deal, but it's a lot better than no deal.

Laurie said...

I am quite sure congress will not block the deal. To block the deal would be limit sanctions to USA imposed only and have with no (fewer) restrictions and verification on Iran's ability to move forward on nuclear weapons. It would be really dumb.

And one more link that I found very interesting about the deal:

The real reason the Iran deal is so controversial

John said...

"Predatory Lending"...
Does that mean someone snuck quietly into the mortagees home and forced them to take out a mortgage for more than they could afford if the economy hit a road bump?

Please remember that I spread the "onus" out...
- ~40% mortgagees
- ~40% banks and investors
- ~20% government

Had some mortgagees defaults not started the dominoes toppling....

John said...

Regarding the nuclear deal... For the good of the Middle East and the World, I sure hope Iran has seen the evil of it's stated intent to wipe Israel and Sunni's off the map and wants to join the world community in an era of peace. However based on recent past history that seems very unlikely. News Piece

Did you see how much oil they had stock piled and ready for sale? If it passes, they will soon have a lot of money to start causing mischief again.

I am guessing within a year we start seeing "those news reports" again... "Today nuclear inspectors were not allowed to inspect Iran's ****... UN is discussing new sanctions if Iran does not give inspectors unfetterred access to ****."

Here is an interesting documentary

Laurie said...

about "some folks don't see it as deserving an "A". What do others think of the deal?As no readers here have expertise in this area which leaders and experts (and journalistic sources) do you rely on to form an opinion?

Laurie said...

Here are comments from President Obama making the case that this is the best option for dealing with Iran:

President Obama: Argument for Rejecting Iran Deal 'Defies Logic'

What do you see would have been a better option, John? Maintain the status qou / continue the sanctions? Going forward I think approving Obama's deal is the only option that makes any sense. If congress rejects it what would be the next step? Start dropping bombs?

John said...

It appears the people are torn... No bombs required...

"The American public appears somewhat divided on the new agreement. According to an Associated Press poll conducted in the week before it was announced, 51 percent of respondents said the United States should engage in a diplomatic relationship with Iran. Forty-five percent said the number of sanctions against the country should remain at the current level, and 32 percent said there should be more sanctions."

I am somewhat indifferent to what happens in this case, I just think it way premature to be giving Obama an "A" on this. There is a 50/50 chance that it will end well or in disaster, yet the Liberal bias is too cheer Obama.

On the upside, if by some miracle Iran has changed their stripes, this is great. On the upside, if Iran has not changed their stripes and they strike out, the USA will likely have legal justification to bomb their military infrastructure back into the stone age. Looking at it that way, it is a win/win deal.

Well maybe not for those who are killed if Iran strikes out.

John said...

By the way, I gave 3 links that had experts who identified holes in the plan.

Laurie said...

about your 3 links - I thought they were unpersuasive -the Israeli ambassador and Fox news- so I am going to link to one I think is better. David Frum is my favorite conservative journalist.

What the Next U.S. President Should Do With the Iran Deal

about the people are torn - of course they are and I don't even think one needs to hate Obama to disagree. Some people are just opposed to diplomacy.

John said...

"opposed to diplomacy... Maybe

Or they understand that it is unwise to negotiate with religious fundamentalist terrorists, because these people think very differently than humans who are after peace and prosperity in this current life. Because they are more concerned about "fighting evil" in this current life in order to receive rewards in the next.

By the way, the FOX article was from the Associate Press. And though biased, I think the Israeli folks are probably the ultimate experts when it comes to Iran. Likely they have studied them more closely and have more data than anyone else in the world. So I would not discount their concerns totally.

Sean said...

"I am guessing within a year we start seeing "those news reports" again... "Today nuclear inspectors were not allowed to inspect Iran's ****... UN is discussing new sanctions if Iran does not give inspectors unfetterred access to ****.""

If this happens, then the sanctions snap back on. It's covered in the agreement.

Sean said...

"Or they understand that it is unwise to negotiate with religious fundamentalist terrorists, because these people think very differently than humans who are after peace and prosperity in this current life. Because they are more concerned about "fighting evil" in this current life in order to receive rewards in the next."

The problem with this line of logic is that Iran acts like a perfectly rational actor on the world stage. Sure, they say crazy stuff (to rile up their populace) from time to time, but they don't act irrationally. They're not the Taliban or ISIS. The current Iranian regime has never launched a war against its neighbors (recall it was Saddam that invaded Iran to kick off the Iran-Iraq war). Yes, it funds its proxies in other countries, but so does everyone else in that region (witness what the Saudis are doing in Yemen as an example).

Laurie said...

Here is one more link about the Iran deal that makes the case that it was better than other options. You haven't said what you think may have been a better option, John.

Why the Iran Deal Makes Obama's Critics So Angry

If people are tired of discussing the Iran deal we could move on to Obama's next project, reform in the criminal justice system, which I think is quite likely to be another win for him.

President Obama Is Right: Americans of All Stripes Strongly Support Reducing the Country's Prison Population

Anonymous said...

In an anti-socialist economy, individuals get to choose:
- how much they save and where it is invested
- which insurance policies they buy
- they can buy or sell investments as they wish

Well, we haven't had one of those in quite some time. And we seem to be doing ok.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

By the way, it is interesting to me that socialism is seen here as forms of market regulation. Socialism is generally defined in terms of ownership of the means or production, not in terms of market regulation. Indeed, it's hare to imagine how a market would work if there weren't rules.

--Hiram

John said...

Laurie,
As I said... "I am somewhat indifferent to what happens in this case, I just think it way premature to be giving Obama an "A" on this."

Hiram,
Market rules are fine within reason as long as the individuals get to save, spend and invest as they choose. In the case of SS, SS D and Medicare, the government forcefully collects ~15% of every dollar earned, chooses where it will be invested and when individuals will get it back. Please note that the Blue really took of in the 1960's.

Sean said...

"In the case of SS, SS D and Medicare, the government forcefully collects ~15% of every dollar earned, chooses where it will be invested and when individuals will get it back."

Yet, Social Security and Medicare are probably the two most popular things that the federal government does. So much so that any time one party even hints at reforming one of those programs, the other one attacks accusing them of "hurting seniors".

John said...

Laurie,
Just curious, if Iran does nuke Israel after this deal. Will you be willing to hold Obama accountable for that negative consequence?

Sean,
Are you saying that Iran has done nothing crazy while this guy has been in charge. I assume this stuff is just conspiracy theory stuff then.

And this is just rhetoric.

John said...

Sean,
SS, SS D and Medicare are such sensitive topics because everyone has paid in and is expecting their money back. But ignoring the issue will not make it go away. See Page 4

If people had not been forced to contribute for decades, would they have volutarily supported the systems and thought they were great?

My point was that personal freedom of choice was replaced with forced contribution. Just like single payer would remove choice from the healthcare system. Therefore less personal freedom of choice.

Sean said...

Sure, the Iranians have sponsored terrorists. And while that's not good, that shouldn't preclude us from reaching an agreement on this issue. (We're close allies with Saudi Arabia, for instance, and we know that members of their royal family funded Al-Qaeda pre-9/11.)

Sean said...

"But ignoring the issue will not make it go away."

No one's suggesting we ignore the issue, John. Set that burning strawman aside.

"Just like single payer would remove choice from the healthcare system. Therefore less personal freedom of choice."

Sure, I would agree with that on some level. But there are tradeoffs, too. I would argue that our pre-ACA healthcare system, while it allowed for more freedom of choice, significantly restricted freedom in other ways. For instance, our continuing insistence on linking health care to employment is a huge disruption to labor markets. In an ideal labor market, folks wouldn't make decisions on their employment based on benefits -- it should be about matching skills and experience with available work. Our old system dramatically limited what people with pre-existing conditions could do, and what types of employment they (or members of their families) could reasonably take. That's a loss of freedom, too.

Anonymous said...


"Market rules are fine within reason as long as the individuals get to save, spend and invest as they choose."

Some market rules are good, some arent'. But socialism is about ownership of the means of production, not about market rules.

" In the case of SS, SS D and Medicare, the government forcefully collects ~15% of every dollar earned, chooses where it will be invested and when individuals will get it back. "

Sure, but that isn't a form of ownership of the means of production. That's just the government doing stuff. Governments often do stuff.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

If people had not been forced to contribute for decades, would they have volutarily supported the systems and thought they were great?

Presumably, if the systems hadn't been created, nobody would have had any opinion about them at all.

--Hiram

Laurie said...

If Iran does nuke Israel in the next 10 years Obama will be held accountable by most people, though the next president will have some share in the responsibility.

About Khamenei -I found this Thom Hartmann article very intesting in how he presents the Reagan arms for hostages deal as established fact. I have always thought that was true but didn't know of any evidence for it.

Here is a link about the case against the deal:

I looked at the leading Iran hawks' cases against the deal. They're utter nonsense.

John said...

Laurie,
The question I posed is will you hold Obama accountable for the deaths, like you do with Bush?

I don't know if I can read another VOX link. I am starting to think they make FOX seem fair and balanced by comparison. Do you really read that far Left stuff all the time?

You seem to be the mirror image of my Mom, she thinks Rush and Fox are good news sources.

John said...

Sean,
Did the King of Saudi Arabia publicly call for the destruction of America and Israel? I must have missed that.

Companies and compensation/benefit packages are just part of choosing an employer. And people who wanted to be self employed could choose their health insurance before ACA and pay for it themselves.

Personally I may be able to take advantage of ACA in ~6 years. I am thinking of retiring early and living on savings... This means I would have little "income" and therefore should be able to have the tax payers pay for my health insurance... Maybe this ACA stuff will be okay.

John said...

Sean,
Yes the citizens and the politicians are keeping the blindfold on tight regarding the pending ~23% reduction in SS and medicare benefits as they continue to point at each other. I sure am thankful I never put it into my retirment planning.

However I met a financial advisor on a plane who thinks the Liberals will try to seize the IRA and 401K assets in order to use them to fund the SS and Medicare trust funds... Like This He was encouraging his clients to pull their money out ASAP.

John said...

Hiram, "That's just the government doing stuff"

SS, SS D and Medicare are about government operating an insurance and investment company where they take ~15% of your paycheck, choose where to invest and choose what you are allowed to have back.

Since many people have a hard time saving and investing, it is likely necessary. However there is no doubt that it is Uncle Sam deciding what insurance you must have, how much you will save, how you will invest it, etc.

And that is roughly what ACA and single payer do. Uncle Sam needs to approve the plans and you must choose one of them.

Remember how to boil a frog. Just put them in the water and then slowly turn up the heat.
Comic 1
Comic 2
Comic 3

Laurie said...

I would include myself with the most people I mentioned and hold Obama accountable, along with the next president in this hypothetical situation.

I read Vox because it has a liberal slant. I do think they do a much better job of supporting their views with facts than Rush or Fox. Occasionally on a road trip I will listen to Rush. 1-2 minutes is about all we can tolerate from that blowhard. Do you ever listen to him?

I still haven't found a news source with a conservative slant I like other than David Frum. I would read conservative columnists on WAPO and NYT if I didn't so quickly run out of free pages each month.

So I am curious what you think of Thom Hartmanns views of actions taken by Reagan and Nixon.

Sean said...

"However I met a financial advisor on a plane who thinks the Liberals will try to seize the IRA and 401K assets in order to use them to fund the SS and Medicare trust funds... Like This He was encouraging his clients to pull their money out ASAP."

That guy is, too put it kindly, an idiot.

John said...

Sean,
Maybe he is a bit paranoid, however remember the frogs. And...

It is a large pool of money that is in government programs.
The people with the most money in them likely have above average net worths. (ie "rich")
The money to make up for us citizens not paying high enough premiums needs to come from somewhere. Or the benefits need to be reduced.
People don't like the idea of reducing benefits to be aligned with premiums paid. (ie payroll taxes)

If us savers need to help pay for the healthcare of non-savers, it is not a large leap that some will think we should help pay for their retirement.

Sean said...

No, it really just goes to prove that anyone who can come up with a cockamamie story about what scary liberals might do has your ear.

The SS fix is easy -- they'll remove the earnings cap, extend the retirement age (which is a bad idea), and maybe do a little means-testing on benefits. No one is going to touch your IRA.

John said...

Well removing the earning cap without raising their benefits is cooking the frogs a little more, but it is a little better than taking over our savings. Time will tell.

Laurie said...

I don't think there is interest but if people still want to consider the merits of the Iran deal here is a good article:


Is There a Viable Alternative to the Iran Deal?