Tonight, in Chicago — the nation’s murder capital, Barack Obama boasted of his self-styled achievements as president, and gave a preview of his future as the nation’s first activist former president. The setting provided a bitter irony for Obama’s self-praising. Chicago is both where Obama honed his activist chops, and is one of the places most negatively affected by his policies. A perfect allegory for a failed presidency.
In the final year of the Obama presidency, under the guidance of his former chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel, Chicago’s murder rate has spiked. This is directly the result of president Obama’s war on cops. Rather than put themselves in danger through aggressive policing, Obama’s friends in the Black Lives Matter movement have made their neighborhoods more dangerous, with police just staying out of certain neighborhoods.
Chicago is Obama’s legacy. Tonight he tried to put a shine on his legacy. But the facts tell a different story.
Obama once again touted success with Obamacare. He crowed about millions more now insured. That may be true, but at what cost? He even, with no hesitation, said that health costs are growing at their “lowest rate in 50 years.” As CR’s Daniel Horowitz recently explained, Obamacare is more expensive than if nothing had been done … especially when it comes to Medicaid.
The cost of covering an individual in the subpar Medicaid program was $3,247 per individual in 2011 before Obamacare was enacted. In 2015, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, the cost of enrolling an individual in Medicaid doubled to $6,366 per individual. And that is only for the second year of implementation. The cycle of regulation, public funding, overutilization, and lack of ability to peg the cost to the service has created a circuitous death spiral of unaffordable costs and unsustainable subsidies.
But it’s not just that. Millions of middle class Americans now have coverage they can’t afford to use. Before the election Bloomberg highlighted the problem:
Harris is one of many people with Obamacare plans that feature high out-of-pocket costs that can put health services out of reach. That’s because the insurance coverage Harris and others like her have purchased is designed not to kick in until patients have spent thousands of dollars.
She’s not alone. While the Affordable Care Act has pushed the uninsured rate in the U.S. near a record low, a Commonwealth Fund study this year found that about four in 10 adults in ACA plans aren’t confident they could afford care if they got sick.
Obamacare has also been a drag on the overall economic outlook for millions of Americans. The full-time employer mandate has meant more people are working part-time and in need of multiple jobs. The CEO of Carl’s Jr., a Trump supporter, said in January of 2015 that ‘Obamacare has caused millions of full-time jobs to become part time.” A statement that even Politifact had to rank as “half true” — a moniker they use when the facts buttress an argument but the editors of Politifact don’t like the outcome.
Oh and about that lowest health cost claim, CNNMoney reported in September of 2016 that healthcare costs rose the most in 32 years. Speaking of Politifact, they gave a similar claim by Hillary Clinton during the campaign a rating of FALSE.
Obama told the nation that we are safer because of his presidency. He touted that no foreign terrorist organization has attacked American soil. Of course, he is parsing words. As the Daily Wire wrote in December of 2016, many of the jihadi attacks in America have been inspired by jihadi organizations or the jihadis were trained by those organizations.
The list compiled by the Daily Wire reports on “the major, verifiable radical Islamic attacks over the last eight years.” The Daily Wire further explains that there have been other attacks in which jihad is suspected but not verified. The thirteen attacks highlighted include the Little Rock military recruiting station attack, the Fort Hood attack, the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent firefight, a beheading in Moore Oklahoma, a Queens hatchet attack, the execution-style murders of two cops in Brooklyn, the Garland draw Mohammed attack, the Chattanooga recruiting station attack, the San Bernardino Christmas party attack, the Orlando night club attack, the St. Cloud mall attack, the New York/New Jersey bomber, and the Columbus Ohio State University attack.
Tonight’s speech was a powerful reminder of how much better the nation will be when the ink in Obama’s pen runs dry, and his government cell phone contract is dropped.
Obama also took credit for his climate change agenda. Something he has always believed poses a greater threat to world peace than radical Islamic terrorism. Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, explained on CNBC why Obama’s focus on climate change has hurt the nation as a whole.
Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, said Thursday the Obama administration’s heavy focus on combating climate change is “radical behavior” that’s holding back the economy.
A longtime GOP supporter, Welch told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” the priority on preventing climate change spills over into “all kinds of policies throughout the different agencies.”
The result, he said: “You get an economy that won’t move. You get ozone regs that are wacky.”
“You [also] get a reduced military,” he added — saying the U.S. needs to rebuild its national defenses to combat the threat from the so-called Islamic State terrorist group. “You can’t be sitting here with the real threat of a caliphate and ISIL … and talking about climate change.”
The Obama focus on ‘climate change’ has led to a weaker, less prosperous, and less safe America. Hardly an accomplishment to crow about. Not to mention that now some scientists think we are headed into a new ice age.
Obama also once again tried to paint the nation’s employment picture as rosy. He boasted about how he “unleash[ed] the longest stretch of job creation in our history.” While it may be factually correct, it belies the type of job growth and the stagnant rate of growth.
Because of Obamacare, there have been a disproportionate number of part-time jobs created. The labor force participation rate is still anemically low.
CR’s John Gray has blown a hole in Obama’s jobs record. Back in 2015 he laid out the case, which hasn’t changed much.
Obama Touts This. Currently at 5 percent, the unemployment rate is at the lowest level since Obama became president. In addition, the president has “created” about 8.1 million net new jobs since 2009 – a little less than the 8.7 million that were lost during financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.
But Not This. Those rosy unemployment numbers fail to factor in millions of people only marginally attached to the workforce, or those who would like to work, but have quit looking for employment out of frustration at the lack of opportunities. When those workers are factored in, the real unemployment rate, otherwise known as the underemployment rate is now 9.9 percent – nearly twice the rate of the “official” metric.
More importantly, a growing share of the population is no longer participating in the workforce altogether. The labor force participation rate has dropped to 62.4 percent, or nearly 94 million American not in the labor force; labor force participation has not been this low since 1977.
Those are just a few of the areas that Obama tried to take “credit” for improving. He then went on to talk about areas he would be judging President-elect Trump on, signaling that he would not step aside quietly to let his successor govern, as is the precedent with past presidents.
Tonight’s speech was a powerful reminder of how much better the nation will be when the ink in Obama’s pen runs dry, and his government cell phone contract is dropped. Then all he’ll have is a soapbox, where he can utter “just words.”
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include the correct hyperlink to the Daniel Horowitz article referenced in the fourth paragraph.