While You Were Sleeping: An Open Letter To Obama Supporters

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If you are one of the millions of scared, bleeding hearts watching Obama’s farewell like it was a eulogy for our country, you may want to sit down for this. You’ll need to take off those rose-colored glasses, too. It’s time for some real talk.

The current president-elect has already received more criticism from liberals than Barack Obama ever got during his entire presidency. It is a good thing that the nation is on high alert about our new Commander-in-Chief, but the question that so many of us who have always remained critical is: Where have the rest of you been?

If military adventurism, mass surveillance, torture, deportation of immigrants, mass incarceration, lack of transparency, lack of accountability, and the total elimination of the revolving door in Washington were all things that concerned you during the Bush years, then why in God’s name have you been silent all this time? Why are you joining all of your friends in collective revisionism of the last eight years? Why are you pretending that the last eight years have been just fine, even though the results of this election indicates the country does not agree?

The left is in complete denial of basic facts, and it refuses to learn its lesson. As the events involving the cast of Hamilton: The Musical and the speech of Meryl Streep would seem to indicate, the sins of one’s own tribe do not seem to matter. They never used their opportunities in the spotlight over the years to draw attention to Obama’s war policies, or his attack on whistleblowers. No one seems to blame Obama for the fact that Ed Snowden is still considered a traitor, even though Trump would be crucified for having the exact same position.

These things would be easy enough to point out, but it is true of his economic policies as well. A perfect example of revisionism that has been floating around on social media comes from Occupy Democrats, which has cherry-picked a few favorable stats to prop up Obama’s legacy.

This is just one of countless memes that are being used to prop up a failed administration. I could pick many others to deconstruct, but I want to look at this one because it’s important. There needs to be an understanding of why the left lost this election, and propagating misleading statistics only demonstrates a willful ignorance of why Trump won in the first place. It tells voters that they are too stupid to realize that things are better.

Pointing to the Dow Jones and the S&P 500
is misleading for a number of reasons. First, the growth of these markets probably has more to do with the Federal Reserve’s zero-interest-rate policy, from which the economy has been benefitting (and basically amounts to borrowed time, because they cannot remain at zero forever). The Fed is only just now deciding to raise them again, and you can be sure that Trump will take the fall if and when this has the negative consequences that Obama would have had to deal with, had it happened on his watch.

Second, the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 are only two markets, and while they are considered good indicators of the strength of the economy, any good economist worth a damn would admit that it’s never enough to look at a single data set to find the truth. The GDP is another, and it tells a different story. Even in two terms, Obama may be the first president to never have a single year of 3% growth in GDP. Our trade deficit has also increased from $28.6 Billion in February 2009 to almost $68 Billion in November of 2016, a difference of about $40 Billion. These trade deficits are also made to appear less egregious than they actually are by the added problem of currency manipulation, which can cost millions of jobs.

Thirdly, Obama has overseen a concentration of power by political elites, and those concerned with income inequality should be very angered to find that under Obama it has actually increased, as has the rate of poverty. The rich have also gotten richer than they have ever been under Obama, which would present a bit of an existential crisis for progressives looking to the Dow for evidence that their savior has succeeded.

The rest of the numbers in this graphic only further illustrate the departure from reality that progressives display on economic matters…

Repeating this unemployment number is further manipulation of facts. Consider Gallup, who studies numbers all day long, having acknowledged that this number is misleading because of what it leaves out. Namely, those that are no longer in the work force.

In reality, the true labor participation rate is down to around 62%. That means nearly one hundred million Americans age 16 or older are no longer working or even looking for work.

That’s really, really bad. It is why the jobs numbers can look rosy, but most Americans know it’s a lie (and they are the same ones who keep getting called racist because they supported the guy calling the lie for what it is). The participation rate hasn’t been this low since the 70’s.

There is no doubt that auto sales have boomed over the last eight years, but this can hardly be attributed to Obama’s economic policies. The most likely causes include the aforementioned zero-interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve, low gas prices spurred by increased domestic oil production and competition from natural gas (production of which is expected to increase, along with petroleum), as well as global demand, which has been increasing for decades.

As for Obamacare, one has to struggle to find a silver lining. It’s easy to say there are fewer uninsured adults for the same reason voter turnout in compulsory-voting Australia is over 90%. Or why Kim Jung Un has a 100% approval rating. But actually, the real question is why there aren’t more uninsured Americans signing up for coverage on an ACA exchange. After a failed launch, the program got a paltry number of people to sign up. And the latest projections are not much better.

Honestly, to even mention the Affordable Care Act as being anything but a negative aspect of Obama’s legacy is to demonstrate hubris. It may not seem as problematic or unpopular for some as much as others, but a list of its problems have been detailed by many others, and if you are someone that thinks it’s cute to throw out a statistic here or there about uninsured adults or people with pre-existing conditions, I highly suggest you educate yourself about the true catastrophe that it has been.

It’s true that the Consumer Confidence Index is a leading indicator of consumer optimism. But what does it say that the latest number is 98, considering who won the election? After all, uncertainty is the single most negative impactor of consumer confidence, is it not? Does this mean Trump has brought people more certainty instead of less?

Not to mention, it could be argued that, if consumer confidence kept pace with overall economic growth, then it should actually be higher. And besides, there is little evidence that Obama’s policies have directly impacted consumer outlook at all. Correlation in this case does not equal causation.

And that leaves the most deceptive fact of all: the deficit. Liberal paragons like Rachel Maddow have argued for years that Democrats have been better about reducing the federal budget deficit than Republicans, reminding us of things like the surplus created by Bill Clinton when he left office. But they usually leave out the fact that he only accomplished this by taking the surplus out of Social Security.

When most people hear talk of the “deficit” they get the wrong idea. The deficit just refers to the difference between how much the government spent in a fiscal year versus what it took in as revenue. It is merely one of three types of debt the federal government has, and is expected to be close to $600 Billion for FY2016. Occupy Democrats’ graphic presents it in terms of GDP because it is looking for a good way to spin this as a positive, but deficits under Obama have been the highest in history.

The actual public debt is worth investigating and studying, if you haven’t already. It’s like the nation’s credit card, and if you’re one of the people sharing the meme above that doesn’t yet understand it, you had better get educated. It has actually doubled during Obama’s two terms, bringing the total close to $20 Trillion. Every time there is a deficit, it gets added to the national debt, and this is that debt. Whenever a private or foreign party buys treasury bills or bonds, that also gets added to the debt. And if you can believe it, there is even a portion of this debt that the government owes to itself, usually for things like Social Security. That is because the government has borrowed from these trusts over time, and they will eventually have to be paid back.

But the third type of debt is entitlements, and this is the real monster. Nobody even knows how much unfunded liability to Social Security and Medicare there actually is, but it has been estimated to be anywhere from $30 Trillion to $211 Trillion, depending on who you ask. The point is, Obama and the political elite he has surrounded himself with since entering office, has never been concerned with any of this debt. If he was, it would not have grown faster on his watch than any other president in history. Obama’s flawed economic policies cannot be used as evidence to defend him, but as evidence against him.

The meme I chose to debunk here just happened to be about economics, but I could have chosen countless others. Revisionism has been rampant the last few weeks, as progressives have scrambled to highlight the positives of an otherwise dismal presidency.

This is not to say that there were no positives at all. Making history with the first black president, and adding a degree of respectability to politics, are important things to consider. And speaking for myself, I genuinely believe that Barack Obama has only ever done what he believes is right. But when it comes to intellectual honesty, none of that matters. All that matters is what he has actually done, and what it says about his legacy.

It’s important because we are about to have an entirely new type of president, and this president will get no sympathy from the press, from Washington, from the intelligence community, from most foreign governments, and from most Americans. It is a good thing that he will be under the microscope, and his every action scrutinized.

But the same should go for Obama. He should not get a pass for all of the things he has done, while Trump does not. Both should be scrutinized equally, and judged accordingly.

If you are the sort of person to share the meme I’ve just debunked, then you likely are not aware of, or do not care about, any of the things that people like myself have been discussing for years.

The fact that he is a Nobel Prize winner that has actually bombed another Nobel Prize winner.

The fact that we have not experienced a day of peace during his administration, and that we dropped an average of 3 bombs every hour during 2016.

The fact that we have bombed seven countries, that we’ve indirectly armed ISIS, and that he promotes a no-fly zone over Syria — effectively waging war with Russia.

The fact that our military intervention in Libya was a disaster that set the country ablaze, leading to the death of Gadhafi and to sectarian violence (events that Hillary Clinton has no regrets about, by the way), and that Obama was not given the same treatment for this failure that Bush got for doing basically the same thing in Iraq.

The fact that he has deported more undocumented immigrants and broken up more families than any other president in history.

The fact that he has all but declared war on whistleblowers.

And the list goes on.

For these and so many other reasons, Obama does not deserve to be let off the hook. He should be judged every bit as fairly as the next president will be. I fully expect that President Trump will get away with very little that the average American won’t hear about at some point. Just like we all heard about Abu Graib, we will hear about everything Trump has his hands on.

But don’t for a second think you’re helping, if you wouldn’t have done the same to Obama. If you wish to hold Trump in contempt for doing the same things Obama did, you will only add fuel to the fire that put him there in the first place, because everyone will see it for the value-signaling hypocrisy it is.

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Alan Hayman

Alan writes about film, politics, religion, science, and many other things. Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therandomspoon/ Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DuckTempo

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