Did Obama make the economy worse? See the graph

Some are asking whether Obama’s policies have made the economy worse. The answer is definitively yes – and by Barack Obama’s own standards.

When Obama took office, he released a report painting two economic scenarios for the country – one with his stimulus policy, and one without.

Today is the first day of the third quarter of 2011. Obama’s report predicted the unemployment rate without a stimulus package would be roughly 7.9% at the beginning of Q3 2011. The “no stimulus” scenario is represented by the light blue line in the graph below.

Obama predicted that his stimulus package would save the economy by lowering the unemployment rate to roughly 6.6% at the beginning of Q3 2011. The scenario with the stimulus is represented by the dark blue line in the graph below.

The unemployment rate is currently 9.1% – considerably worse than the worst-case scenariopainted by Obama without the stimulus, and dramatically worse than his 6.6% projection with the stimulus. The actual unemployment rate is represented by the red line in the graph below.

Today, even Factcheck.org said this about the stimulus: “It’s accurate to say the stimulus hasfailed to live up to initial expectations. White House advisers wrongly estimated that the stimulus would bring the unemployment rate down to 7 percent. …” (Factcheck.org, “Dueling Economic Ads,” June 30, 2011)

The stimulus failed, and made unemployment worse – by Barack Obama’s own standards.


This chart can be found here – it was produced by the White House Council of Economic Advisors, and has been combined above with historical unemployment data.