If Obama deserves a C+ Republicans merit an F
In a recent op-ed, Robert Samuelson gave President Obama a C+ on an economic report card. But his criterion for the grade was seriously flawed.
Samuelson compares the anemic 2.2 percent growth rate recovery under Obama with the 4.2 percent recoveries from other recessions. But this attempt at comparing apples to apples is negated by the severity of our recent Great Recession. Better to compare recent growth rates with those from the Great Depression.
Samuelson's rubrics are further challenged by his contention that the Affordable Care Act has hurt the economy by making "hiring harder and costlier." Basing a grade on something that hasn't been enacted yet hardly seems to be a sound standard of measurement.
His assertion that the president "fostered a take-no-prisoners political climate" falls flat when one considers that many aspect of the ACA drew from Republican ideas, many going back decades. A more valid appraisal of recent "stalemates" and "brinkmanship" can be traced to a tyranny of the minority. Whether it's Sen. Mitch McConnell's priority to prevent the re-election of Obama as the primary goal of governance or the inordinate power of the unelected Grover Norquist's no-tax pledge, attempts at cooperation and common goals have been doomed. Tie in the "damn the consequence" stance of the tea party members with billionaires perpetuating self-serving policies and platforms and it should be of little wonder why stalemates and brinkmanship are the norm.
Maybe Obama deserves a C+. But the forces that stand against compromise and the general welfare of the nation certainly deserve an F. Their failing grade has dragged most of us down, including the president.