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Do 14 Million Unemployed Feel “Better Off” Due to “All the Steps” the Obama Administration Has Taken?

November 03, 2011

President Obama this week said Americans are better off due to his policies: “I think that we are better off now than we would have been if I hadn’t taken all the steps that we took.”

The facts, and the experience of 14 million unemployed Americans, tell a different story.  As the chart below displays, the President’s economic advisors projected that under his trillion-dollar 2009 stimulus plan unemployment would rise no higher than 8 percent and would be down to 6.4 percent by now.  Instead, unemployment stands at 9.1 percent and has been above 8 percent for 32 consecutive months – the longest stretch since the Great Depression.  That’s with the “steps we took,” according to President Obama.  (Note that even with the “steps that we took,” the unemployment rate has never been lower than what the President’s economic advisers forecast it would be if Congress hadn’t wasted $1 trillion on the failed stimulus plan.) 

And the situation is probably not getting better anytime soon.  On November 2nd Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) current estimates for future unemployment rates.  As the green line in the chart shows, unemployment rates are now expected to remain above 8 percent through mid-2013, instead of 6 percent and falling to 5 percent as the Administration originally forecast with their stimulus plan.

Source: Department of Labor unemployment rate data, Obama administration projections, and FOMC projections.