Oct 02 2014
Middle-Class Americans Continue to Struggle Under President’s Misguided Economic
Since the President took office in January 2009, middle-class Americans have been saddled with slow economic growth, weak job markets, and smaller paychecks.
Following is an analysis, prepared by the Senate Finance Committee Minority Staff, on the Obama economy:
WEAK JOB MARKETS:
When President Obama came into office, the national unemployment rate was 7.8 percent and rose to as high as 10 percent in October 2009. Today it is 6.1 percent, however:
- The number of people who are not in the labor force has grown, despite a growing working-age population, by 11.7 million.
- The number of people who are not in the labor force who want a job has grown by nearly 600,000 during the Obama Administration. Many simply gave up on trying to find a job in the Obama economy.
- The employment-to-population ratio has remained consistently below 60 percent during Obama’s tenure and has barely budged; in contrast, the ratio averaged 62.9 percent between the beginning of the year 2000 through when Obama assumed office.
- The labor force participation rate has continued to trend downward during Obama’s tenure, from 65.7 percent when he took office to its current low of 62.8 percent.
- Payroll job growth has been tepid over Obama’s tenure: it has averaged only 132,000 per month since the end of the recession.
- While over 7.4 million payroll jobs were lost during the recession, there has only been a net 4.3 million jobs created over Obama’s tenure.
Middle-class Americans’ take home pay has shrunk under the Obama Administration’s economic agenda:
- Earnings have barely budged during President Obama’s tenure. Average hourly earnings, adjusted for inflation, were $10.38 when the president took office; nearly six years later and a full five years and two months after the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the recession ended (June 2009), average hourly earnings were down to $10.33.
- Inflation-adjusted median household income has fallen during President Obama’s tenure from $54,423 in 2008, the year before the president took office, to only $51,939 in 2013 (the last year of data availability), putting a squeeze on middle-class American families.
- Inflation-adjusted per capita income has fallen from $29,173 in 2008 to $28,829 in 2013.
- The number of people in poverty has risen over President Obama’s tenure. As a percent of the total population, 13.2 percent of Americans were in poverty in 2008, before the President took office. In 2013, 14.5 percent of Americans were in poverty.
SLUGGISH ECONOMIC GROWTH:
The tax-and-spend agenda of the Obama Administration has led to record high debt and anemic economic growth:
- Annualized growth in the inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) has averaged a meager 1.7 percent over President Obama’s tenure (and averaged a tepid 2.2 percent since the end of the recession), in contrast to the long-run (1948 Q1-2014 Q2) average of 3.3 percent.
- The Obama-era deficits have been as high as 10.2 percent of the size of the entire economy—deficit levels not seen since the years surrounding World War II. The federal budget deficit ballooned to $1.47 trillion in fiscal year (FY) 2009, fueled by the failed $800 billion-plus stimulus law that ended up costing American taxpayers close to $1 trillion, without any meaningful return to Americans in terms of improved economic outcomes.
- Despite claims that budget austerity and the slashing of spending were the drivers of deficit reduction, the deficit reduction that has occurred since the outsized deficit in 2009 is entirely accounted for by higher federal revenues; not by spending reductions.
- Since the high-water mark of deficits in FY 2009, deficits have fallen. In August of FY 2014 the fiscal-year-to-date deficit was $590 billion, a $670 billion decline in the deficit of $1,260 deficit at the same time in FY 2010. Yet the deficit reduction was more than accounted for by higher federal revenue—up $747 billion for the fiscal-year-to-date in 2014 through August relative to the same period in 2010. Despite continuous claims of budget austerity and spending cuts, federal outlays were also up—by $76 billion for the fiscal year-to-date in 2014 through August relative to the same period in 2010.
- For the fiscal-year-to-date in August of 2014 relative to the same period in 2010, increased federal receipts more than account for (111 percent) of the deficit reduction of $670 billion that occurred; increased federal outlays account added nothing and, in fact, detracted from deficit reduction.
- Gross federal debt outstanding has risen by an unprecedented $7.2 trillion since President Obama took office, and currently stands at $17.8 trillion, which is over 111 percent of the size of the entire United States economy.
Oct 01 2014
Utah Senator Introduced Legislation to Close Loophole in Federal Law to Protect students, provide tools to parents when information is shared with third parties
U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a current member and former Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today applauded the California Legislature for passing the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act to protect students’ online data. Hatch, along with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), introduced the Protecting Student Privacy Act in July to strengthen federal law to prohibit the sharing and use of private student data to third-party vendors, as well as to provide parents with clear information about where their children’s information is stored.
“It’s good to see that states are taking the important initiative to safeguard student’s data, and it’s time the federal government follows suit to tighten federal laws that govern student privacy,” Hatch said. “The legislation Sen. Markey and I introduced in July does that by closing a loophole in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. It’s the right step to take and I hope Congress acts soon to protect students’ privacy.”
U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a current member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation:
“I appreciate Eric Holder’s service as Attorney General, even though we did not agree on every issue. I hope President Obama will consult with members of the Judiciary Committee about who he will nominate to be the next Attorney General, and I look forward to participating in the confirmation process.”