Even though it’s been eight years since George W. Bush was in office, we are still trying to overcome all the damage his incompetency inflicted upon this nation. Republicans scoff at the idea that Bush is still to blame for some of the issues we’re currently having to deal with, but just because he left office doesn’t mean the mess he created isn’t still his fault. If I go into someone else’s house and rip apart the inside, dragging everything out from every closet and every drawer, just because I leave doesn’t mean the mess in that house is no longer my fault.
While there are many problems we’re still having to deal with that are directly linked to Bush’s disastrous eight years in office, obviously one of the biggest issues was the economy considering his policies were responsible for the worst economic crash since the Great Depression. And while we’ve made remarkable strides during Obama’s time in office, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.
That being said, Republicans have spent the better part of the last eight years doing anything and everything they can to blame the economy on President Obama. He hadn’t even been in office a few weeks before they started acting like the Bush administration never happened, practically blaming everything that we were suffering through in 2009 on President Obama.
So it should come as no surprise that, during Donald Trump’s big speech at the Republican National Convention, he attacked President Obama’s economic record.
“What about our economy?” he asked. “Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when President Obama took his oath of office less than eight years ago. Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely. Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000. That’s 16 years ago.”
Clearly, even though he said “since the year 2000,” he was trying to imply that incomes have fallen under President Obama. Unfortunately for Trump, all he really did was confirm how terrible George W. Bush was for this nation.
You see, while it’s true that incomes have fallen more than $4,000 since 2000, the bulk of that occurred during Bush’s presidency.
During the first eight years of the span Trump referred to — 2000 to 2008 — Bush was president. And during Bush’s tenure, inflation-adjusted median household income declined by $2,411, which is more than half the total amount it fell between 2000 and 2014.
Since Obama took office, it has fallen by $1,656. That’s not a great legacy, but it’s worth remembering that slicing the numbers this way puts all of the Great Recession on Obama’s watch while also denying Obama 2015, when there was a slow but steady recovery, because data is not available.
It’s true that incomes have fallen during Obama’s eight years in office, but despite the fact that he inherited the worst economic crash in nearly a century, they’ve fallen at a slower rate than they did during Bush’s eight years. And remember, Bush took over a strong economy and a balanced budget.
Plus the data only goes through 2014, so there are two more years of positive economic growth that will still be added to President Obama’s economic legacy which will undoubtedly improve his numbers.
It’s never good for a president to leave office having seen incomes drop during their two terms, but when it comes to President Obama, context matters. This president came into office as the nation teetered on complete collapse, yet has managed to set numerous (positive) economic records over the last few years, while also reducing our deficit by around $1 trillion. Meanwhile, Bush inherited a strong economy and a balanced budget, then proceeded to screw all of that up by nearly doubling our debt during his eight years and crashing the economy.
So, while Donald Trump took his jab at President Obama which I’m sure the Republicans watching his speech absolutely loved, all he really did was provide the country with another reminder of how awful George W. Bush’s presidency was for our nation.
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