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Roy Exum / February 23, 2011

Obama’s First Two Years

When Barak Obama was inaugurated on a cold January 20, 2009, he promised “a big change” to the gleeful crowds who clapped and cheered his arrival in Washington. Brother, he delivered just as promised.

The trouble is that his changes weren’t quite what many who voted for him or against him had in mind, as was best evidenced by the midterm elections in November. A guy named K.E. Campbell has just delivered a statistical look at the President’s first two years in office. What he has done was to compare January 20, 2011, with the way things were the day Barak Obama took office.

I don’t mean for this to be political, nor to dwell on what Obama “inherited” or what storms he’s since encountered with his hand on the tiller of our ship. I present this only as information that I hope everybody in America will consider regardless of their political or civic beliefs.

It has been said of statistics, “If you torture numbers long enough, they’ll confess to anything.” Another wise person claimed, “Statistics can be made to prove anything – even the truth.” But my all-time favorite is, “The human body, statistically speaking, has one breast and one testicle.”

Our Mr. Campbell has done nothing more than compare two sets of figures, both taken on January 20th but two years apart. Mind you, the current figures were noted two weeks ago. At the end of each entry is a source number and you will find those better attributed at the closing of this piece.

So let’s take a numerical look at the first two years our current president has been in The White House:

AVG. RETAIL COST OF GASOLINE – $3.10 a gallon, up from $1.83 on 01/20/09, an increase of 69.6 percent. (source 1, see below)

BARREL OF EUROPEAN CRUDE OIL – $99.02, up from $43.48 on 01/20/09, an increase of 127.7 percent. (source 2)

BARREL OF WEST TX CRUDE OIL – $91.38, up from $38.74 on 01/20/09, an increase of 135.9 percent. (source 2)

NATURAL GAS (dollars per MMbtu) – $4.48, down from $4.85 on 01/20/09, a decrease of 7.6 percent. (source 2)

GOLD (London, Troy Ounce) – $1,369.50, up from $853.25 on 01/20/09, an increase of 60.5 percent. (source 2)

CORN, No. 2 YELLOW – $6.33 per bushel in Chicago, up from $3.56 on 01/20/09, an increase of 42.3 percent. (source 2)

SOY BEANS, No. 1 YELLOW – $13.75 per bushel in Chicago, up from $9.66 on 01/20/09, an increase of 42.3 percent. (source 2)

SUGAR, (raw, cane, world, Ib. fob) – $35.39, up from $13.37 on 01/20/09, an increase of 164.7 percent. (source 2)

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (urban) – 219.2, up from 211.1 on 01/20/09, an increase of 3.8 percent. (source 3)

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX – 183.0 for finished goods, up from 170.3 on 01/20/09, an increase of 7.5 percent. (source 3)

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX – 189.9 for all commodities, up from 171.0 on 01/20/09, an increase of 11.1 percent. (source 3)

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (Non-Farm) – 9.4 percent, up from 7.6 on 01/20/09, an increase of 23.7 percent. (source 3)

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (African-American) – 15.8 percent, up from 12.6 on 01/20/09, an increase of 25.4 percent. (source 3)

NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED – 14,485,000, up from 11,616,000 on 01/20/09, an increase of 24.7 percent. (source 3)

NUMBER OF FEDERAL WORKERS (ex. uniformed military) –2,840,000, up from 2,779,000 on 01/20/09, an increase of 2.2 percent. (source 3)

REAL MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2008 vs. 2009) – $49,777, down from $50,112 on 01/20/09, a decrease of 0.7 percent. (source 4)

NUMBER OF FOOD STAMP RECIPIENTS – 43,200,878 (curr 10/10), up from 31,983,716 on 01/20/09, an increase of 35.1 percent. (source 5)

NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT RECIPIENTS – 9,193,838, up from 7,526,598 on 01/20/09, an increase of 22.2 percent. (source 6)

NUMBER OF LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED – 6.4 million, up from 2.6 million on 01/20/09, an increase of 146.2 percent. (source 3)

POVERTY RATE (Individuals) – 14.3 percent in 2009, up from 13.2 on 01/20/09, an increase of 8.3 percent. (source 4)

AMERICANS BELOW POVERTY LEVEL – 43.6 million in 2009, up from 39.8 on 01/20/09, an increase of 9.5 percent. (source 4)

HOUSE PRICE INDEX – 192.7 (3rd Qtr 2010), down from 198.7 on 01/20/09, a decrease of 3.0 percent. (source 7)

S&P HOME PRICE INDEX (20-city composite) – 145.3, down from 146.4 on 01/20/09, a decrease of 0.8 percent. (source 7)

PROPERTIES SUBJECT TO FORECLOSURE FILINGS – 2.87 million, up from 2.82 million on 01/20/09, an increase of 1.7 percent. (Source 9)

DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE – 11,825, up from 7,949 on 01/20/09, an increase of 48.8 percent. (Note: “The Dow” was 12,403 on June 3, 2008 when President Obama received the Democratic nomination.) Source 2

NASDAQ – 2,725, up from 1,441 on 01/20/09, an increase of 89.1. (It was 2,480 on June 3, 2008.) Source 2

S&P 500 – 1,282, up from 805 on 01/20/09, an increase of 59.2 percent. (It was 1,378 on June 3, 2008) Source 2

GLOBAL DOW – 2,153, up from 1,356 on 01/20/09, an increase of 58.8 percent. (Source 2)

U.S. RANK IN ECONOMIC FREEDOM WORLD RANKINGS – No. 9, down from No. 5 on 01/20/09. (Source 10)

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX – 52.5, up from 37.7 on 01/20/09, an increase of 39.3. (Source 11)

PRESENT SITUATION INDEX – 23.5, down from 29.9 on 01/20/09, a decrease of 21.4 percent (source 11)

FAILED BANKS – 164, up from 140 on 1/20/09, an increase of 17.1 percent (source 12)

U.S. DOLLAR VS. JAPANESE YEN – 82.03 exchange rate, down from 89.76 on 1/20/09, a decrease of 8.6 percent (source 2)

U.S. MONEY SUPPLY M1 (in billions) – 1,865.7, up from 1,575.1 on 1/20/09, an increase of 18.4 percent (source 13)

U.S. MONEY SUPPLY, M2 (in billions) – 8,852.3, up from 8,310.9 on 1/20/09, an increase of 6.5 percent. (source 13)

NATIONAL DEBT (in trillions) – $14.052, up from $10.627 on 1/20/09, an increase of 32.2 percent.

SOURCES:

1. U.S. Energy Information Administration
2. Wall Street Journal
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics
4. Census Bureau
5. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
6. U.S. Dept. of Labor
7. Federal Housing Finance Agency
8. Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller
9. Realty Tac
10. Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal
11. The Conference Board
12. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
13. Federal Reserve
14. U.S. Treasury

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