Who is the greatest ever American President? It is an issue which has long been the subject of debate in pubs and clubs up and down the United Kingdom. We’ve all become used to rowdy debates on Saturday nights between supporters of JFK and FDR. I’ve even witnessed a fist fight between proponents of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. But now the matter has finally been settled. In the United Kingdom, as in America, it is a truth universally acknowledged that the greatest ever American President is Barack Obama.
And just how has this giant of a man overtaken in the public’s affection Presidents who have secured American independence, abolished slavery, defeated Hitler or put a man on the moon? One simple reason – his handling of the economy.
When Obama became President in 2009 he was faced with an economy in crisis. The government was spending far more than it was receiving in taxation revenue, people were dying through lack of healthcare, unemployment was rife and those on welfare were living in grinding poverty. In just four years Obama has fixed all of these problems.
His handling of the economy has been nothing short of miraculous. He alone understands that the only way to get out of a recession is to raise taxes on the rich and increase welfare spending on the poor. As the economy fails to respond to this spending stimulus he increases the dosage, and is currently locked in a battle with congress who, short sightedly, prefer government spending cuts to Barack’s proposed new $85 billion tax increases on the rich. As Obama pointed out last week – those cuts could cost 750,000 American jobs – but if Congress let Obama spend the $85 billion he could preserve those jobs at the tiny cost to the taxpayers of only $113,000 a year to subsidise each job. Those jobs, based on an average salary of $49,816, would generate $37 billion which would be spent within the US economy. They would raise $11.6 billion in taxes – only a fiscal idiot or a Republican wouldn’t want to spend $85 billion of taxpayers money to generate $11.6 billion in taxation revenue.
Obama understands the simple fact that, in a democracy, there are more poor people than rich people so if you adopt a Robin Hood economic policy and tax the rich to feed the poor it will result in electoral, if not economic, success.
Take Medicare, for example. When Obama became President he was appalled to learn that 46 million Americans could not afford healthcare insurance, resulting in the death of 45,000 Americans a year. Obama immediately fixed that problem with his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010, paid for by 21 new taxes on the rich and middle classes. Republicans have criticized it, pointing out that when Ronald Reagan was in power US government healthcare spending was $256 billion a year but, thanks to Obama’s Medicare policies, it now stands at $2.6 trillion a year – but forget the enormous cost to the taxpayers – let’s concentrate on the benefits to Americans. The measures were taken to help the 46 million Americans who could not afford health insurance in 2009 and to prevent the needless deaths of 45,000 Americans a year. Now, thanks to Obama’s Medicare spending of $2.6 trillion a year, in 2012, only 48.6 million Americans could not afford health insurance and only 48,000 Americans died needlessly. That is just one example of Obama’s economic genius.
His tackling of the thorny issue of unemployment has also been extraordinary. When Obama became President in January 2009 the unemployment rate in the USA was 7.9%. He immediately set about tackling this problem with a brilliant two stage plan. The first stage was to increase unemployment. No-one can deny this stage was stunningly successful. By October 2009 Obama had managed to raise unemployment from 7.9% to 10%. Then came stage 2 – Medicare. By introducing 21 new taxes and increasing health care spending to $2.6 trillion a year Obama was able to create 320,000 new jobs in the healthcare sector, entirely funded by the taxpayers, which brought unemployment back down to precisely the same level as when he first became President – 7.9% – and became a springboard for his re-election in 2012.
Obama’s handling of the US economy generally has been undeniably the work of a genius. Republicans are always banging on about the Reagan/Bush years where, between 1981 and 1993, the US economy grew by 90%, the stock market grew by 1,500%, jobs increased by 34 million and federal spending was only 18.2% of GDP (in 2012 it was 22.7%.) Republicans are quick to point out that these economic miracles came about as a result of tax cuts and reduced government spending – exactly the opposite of the policies adopted by Obama – but they fail to mention just how difficult it was to live on welfare during the Reagan/Bush years.
Now, thanks to tax increases on the rich and middle classes the 12.3 million Americans who claim welfare receive an average payment of around $1,224 a week so can now afford a few of life’s necessities like beer, cigarettes, fast food, lottery tickets, cellphones, cable and flat screen TV’s. Thanks to Obama’s compassion and economic brilliance US government spending on welfare is now$1.03 trillion a year, an increase of 32% since he came to power. The average wage in the USA is now $22.00 an hour, but those on benefits receive the equivalent of $30.60 an hour. So those who work a 40 hour week earn an average of $958 a week compared to those who sit at home all day watching Jerry Springer who receive an average of $1,224 a week. Of course the worker also has to pay taxes of around $155 a week taking his or her take home pay down to $803 a week compared to the welfare claimant (who is exempt from tax) who takes home $1,224 a week – an average of $441 more.
I know at first blush it might seem unfair that those on welfare have a disposable income of $63,648 a year compared to $41,756 a year for those who work but living on welfare is much more expensive for the following five reasons.
1) People on welfare have a lot more kids than those who work and need to feed and clothe them, often with little or no help from any of the kids’ different fathers;
2) People on welfare are, thanks to their sedentary lifestyle and general laziness, much more likely to be obese, so need much more money for food, especially fast food as they will probably be too lazy to cook;
3) People on welfare spend far more money on heating as they are home watching TV all day (which means they also need cable);
4) People on welfare are much more likely to smoke and, unlike smoking workers, have unlimited time to light up;
5) People on welfare are much more likely to be heavy drinkers and, because they don’t have to work, will often open their first beer shortly after they get out of bed at noon.
I’m sure that all working people reading about how much harder it is to live on welfare will not begrudge the extra money welfare claimants get and that the, on average, 8.5 working people whose total combined tax payments support one welfare claimant, will feel that their hard earned money has been well spent by President Obama.
But things like increased welfare spending don’t come cheap. Even with the enormous taxes imposed by Obama on rich and middle class Americans there is still a small government spending deficit. The total government spending deficit for all Presidents, from 1789 to 2009, is $5,326,088,000.
The total government spending deficit for President Obama, from 2009 to 2013, is $5,332,720,000. So President Obama’s budget deficit is $6,332,000 more than every previous American Presidents’ combined – quite a feat in just four years.
The previous 43 Presidents during their combined 220 years in office put their $5,326,088,000 budget deficit down to relatively trivial factors such as expanding the nation from 13 to 50 states, fighting 2 world wars, fighting the civil war, putting a man on the moon, winning 338 noble prizes, defeating fascism and communism, expanding democracy to hundreds of countries, becoming the greatest and most powerful nation in the world, and introducing important legislation like abolishing slavery and extending the right to vote to women.
President Obama during his 4 years in office puts his $5,332,720,000 budget deficit down to major factors like increasing welfare by 32%, increasing healthcare spending from $256 billion to $2.6 trillion a year and introducing important legislation like the right to gay marriage and gun control.
Nobody reading this article could deny that Obama is indisputably the greatest American President of all time and I’m sure you’ll all agree that current plans to celebrate his Presidency by adding his image to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial by sculpting Obama’s features over the sculpture of the inconsequential President, Teddy Roosevelt, are long overdue.