The economic legacy of the Obama era will be something that will divide liberal and conservative economists for years to come. President Obama came to office in the middle of an economic crap storm. But he also had the tools available to make things better—he could’ve cut taxes so businesses could hire more, he could’ve tried not to demonize all rich people through his words and his tax policies.
Instead, he passed the well-intentioned but misguided Obamacare, which created additional tax burdens and regulations and ultimately led to massive premium increases paid not just by the rich but by middle- and working-class people. He passed a major stimulus bill that didn’t do much to create shovel-ready jobs.
However, President Obama’s biggest economic accomplishment, no doubt, was a raging stock market, which climbed from about 8,000 on the Dow just after he took office to nearly 20,000 as of this writing.
And yes, the headline numbers look pretty good as Obama’s term comes to an end: some GDP growth, low unemployment, and a strong stock market. But those numbers become more suspect the closer you look. In some part unemployment is declining because people are dropping from the workforce, GDP growth is pretty low by historical standards, and the stock-market boom has, unfortunately, helped only a small segment of the population.
Charles Gasparino is a Senior Correspondent at Fox Business Network. Follow him on Twitter.