Hugh Hewitt: Markets have taken the measure of Barack Obama

Just the facts, please, as Congress returns and the fall campaign gets under way in earnest. How have the Obama/Pelosi/Reid Democrats done with their enormous congressional majorities and their jam-down economic and legislative policies?

In November 2008, unemployment was 6.7 percent. In January 2009 it was 7.6 percent. That January, Christine Romer, along with Vice President Biden's top economist, Jared Bernstein, argued in a report that the economic stimulus package the president, the speaker and the Senate majority leader were pushing would keep unemployment under 8 percent.

Without the stimulus, Team Obama predicted employment would rise to about 9 percent in 2010. The “stimulus” passed, of course, and today unemployment is 9.6 percent.

The country's debt at the end of 2008 was $5.8 trillion. It will be $9.8 trillion at the end of this year. The last annual deficit before the Democrats took over Congress in January 2007 was $160 billion.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts the deficit for 2010 to be $1.34 trillion, though many suspect that number will prove to be low. As a percentage of the nation's GDP, the deficit in 2010 will be 10.64 percent. In 2008 it was 3.18 percent.

On Oct. 11, 2007, the Dow Jones industrial average hit 14,189. On Nov. 5, 2008, the day President Obama was elected, the Dow dropped 485 points, hitting 9,139. On Dec. 1, 2008, the Dow closed at 8,149.

On Jan. 20, the day of Obama's inauguration, the Dow dropped 332 points to close at 7,949. On March 9, 2009, it hit 6,547.

The November 2008 average price of a home in top 20 metropolitan markets in the United States, using the Case-Shiller index, was $154,500.

The June 2010 average price for the same index — the most recent data available and published in late August — is $148,000. That number is widely believed to have been buoyed by the now-disappeared new home tax credit, and it is believed to again be falling.

The index of consumer confidence stands at 53.5 today. That number was 39 during the panic of October 2008. It dropped to 37 in January 2009. It hit 55.9 in January of this year — before Obamacare passed and while hopes for the stimulus and the president's placebo economics persisted.

On Thursday last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the federal centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had recalculated their projections on health care costs in light of Obamacare.

Prior to Obamacare's passage, the annual increase in total health spending in the country over the next decade was supposed to be 6.1 percent. After Obamacare, the centers now calculate that annual growth in spending at 6.3 percent.

On Wednesday, the Journal reported on a survey of major health insurance companies and found premium increases of between 1 percent and 9 percent for self-insured Americans and employees in small businesses in the next few months because of the mandate for new benefits under the law.

Thus no matter how you look at it, and no matter how you do the numbers, the president's two signature legislative “victories” — the “stimulus” and Obamacare — are abject failures. The toll of economic misery his policies have brought managed to stall and reverse the country's recovery from the Dodd-Frank panic of 2008.

Forward-looking investors first priced in the calamity he would bring to the private sector and now are again hedging their bets about the president's ability to do other than mouth Alinksyisms and bash business.

If the GOP does not triumph as expected on Nov. 2, watch out for falling indices. The markets have the measure of this president and his advisers, and those markets know that unchecked, they will wreak even more havoc.

Examiner Columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.

hugh hewittOp EdsUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Lakeshore Elementary School was closed in March shortly before SFUSD closed all schools due to coronavirus concerns. The district is now working to prepare all elementary schools to reopen by mid-January.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
School district preparing buildings for hybrid learning

SFUSD plans to use 72 elementary schools and 12 early education sites for first phase of reopening

There have been at least 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among workers at San Francisco International Airport. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supes back SFO worker healthcare legislation despite airline, business opposition

Costs of ‘Health Airport Ordinance’ in dispute, with estimates ranging from $8.4 M to $163 M annually

Thankfully, playgrounds that were closed due to the pandemic during the summer have reopened.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
The perils of parenting, COVID-style

At long last, it’s OK to take your little one out to play

Ten candidates are running for a seat on the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Community College District.. (Courtesy photos)
Strong leadership needed as City College faces multiple crises

Ten candidates vying for four seats on CCSF board

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Most Read