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Right Hooks

Voters and the Obama Malaise

With GDP growth like this, it's now wonder Hillary Clinton is so confused.

Nate Jackson · Jul. 29, 2016

If it feels like listening to a broken record each time disappointing economic numbers come out, it’s because, yes, you’ve heard this disappointment before. It appears to be the new normal under Barack Obama. “The U.S. economy expanded less than forecast in the second quarter after a weaker start to the year than previously estimated,” Bloomberg reports. While surveyed economists predicted growth of an unimpressive 2.5%, it actually clocked in at a downright anemic 1.2% — and that followed just 0.8% growth in the first quarter, revised down from 1.1%. Furthermore, Bloomberg reports, “The new breakdown shows a more pronounced slowdown in the economy heading into 2016. The year-over-year growth rate cooled from 3.3 percent in last year’s first quarter to 1.9 percent in the final three months of 2015, rather than the previous downshift from 2.9 percent to 2 percent.”

Obama’s streak of sub-3% economic growth continues. He is the only president in U.S. history to never have annual growth over 3%. Naturally, he blames George W. Bush. But it was Democrats who sowed the seeds of the 2008 economic crisis.

Yet Nancy Pelosi argues that anyone voting Republican is doing so in spite of themselves. “I think that, so many times … non-college-educated white males have voted Republican,” she said this week. “They voted against their own economic interests because of guns, because of gays, and because of God, the three G’s, God being the woman’s right to choose.” The economic numbers would argue otherwise.

And with tepid growth like this it’s no wonder Hillary Clinton is so confused. In her coronation speech Thursday night, she at once lamented the pathetic economy and said Obama and Biden don’t get enough credit for saving it: “Too many people haven’t had a pay raise since the crash. There’s too much inequality. Too little social mobility. … Now, I don’t think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. … But none of us can be satisfied with the status quo. … I’ve heard from so many of you who feel like the economy just isn’t working. Some of you are frustrated — even furious. And you know what? You’re right. It’s not yet working the way it should.”

So which is it? Economic malaise, or incredible and underappreciated prosperity? We think voters know the answer. The question is whether they’ll vote for more of the same.

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