The Economic Echo of President Obama
Political pundits are too quick to attribute the current economic boom to Donald Trump. In truth, the seeds of current growth started in 2008 – when Barrack Obama gain control from George Bush.
Exacxtly10 years ago, the Great Recession began. At that time, the nation and world were traumatized by how rapidly the economy plunged into an abyss of massive unemployment, financial collapse, and housing foreclosures. That process destroyed wealth in minority communities more drastically than any event in modern history. Unlike other groups in society, Blacks and Latinos held the lion’s share of their wealth in home equity – which the recession obliterated.
Along with that, the jobs that were displaced were those most likely to be held by Blacks and Latino, including those in manufacturing and construction trades.
At the depth of the recession, 40% of all displaced workers were either Black or Latino. Both groups experienced a tremendous loss in income, alongside their massive loss in wealth. As the economy recovered, starting in 2009, the average re-employed professional worker received a wage that was only 50% of the wage of the lost job. Corporations contributed to this in their attempt to regain profitability by using contract workers, temporary help and part-time employees – individuals to whom they could pay lower wages and fewer benefits.
The slow economic recovery also redistributed benefits disproportionately to the wealthy and rewarded the financial sector by keeping interest rates historically low- despite the fact that the financial sector was largely responsible for causing the recession. Today, those dynamics have created one of the widest gap in wealth and income inequality the country has ever experienced.
The brightest spot in all of this was that America could rely on the committed and good judgment of Pres. Obama to steer the nation through the deep recession. The policies he pursued cushioned the downward spiral of the economy. He did this by restructuring key manufacturing industries, especially automobile production; putting banks and financial institutions back on a stable footing by limiting speculation and increasing capital requirements; providing assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure; helping students offset the burden of rising tuition; and mandating universal health care coverage for the entire population. Along with that, he installed a Justice Department that actively sought to protect minority communities from police injustice and vigorously prosecute traders who illegally abused the market.
Finally, Pres. Obama restored worldwide respect for the country, renewed America’s leadership of the world community, and gradually ended the deployment of US troops in war-torn regions across the globe.
Today, the rules of the game are being turned upside down; nevertheless, it is worth remembering that the growth now touted by President Trump and his legion of followers began nine years ago by policies attributable to President Obama.