11/9/2012 9:45 PM ET|
Obama's challenges, in 17 charts
Expect the president to use the next 4 years to prove he can move the country 'forward.' Here's a look at the daunting tasks that await him.
Two years, more than 30 debates, a record $6 billion spent, and what do we have to show for it? The political balance in Washington, D.C., has barely budged. Latin may be a dead language, but the term "status quo" has never been more appropriate.
For President Barack Obama, four more years in the White House will be an opportunity to cement his place in history and to show whether he can move the country "forward." Job No. 1 in that regard is to increase employment and strengthen the economy.
Obama's legacy may ultimately be based on his health care law -- or perhaps his Wall Street reform or his stimulus bill. It may yet be built on a grand bargain that tackles Social Security and Medicare costs, or tax reform, or a new immigration law that gets pushed through in the next four years. Or it may yet be determined by his response to some unforeseen crisis -- a 3 a.m. phone call about another act of terror or global threat.
But much as former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton are remembered in large part for the economic expansions that took place while they were in office, Obama's presidency is likely to be measured by the extent to which today's sluggish recovery gains momentum in the coming months and years, or whether it peters out and leaves businesses and families in no better shape to deal with the financial challenges ahead.
One thing did change Tuesday night: Obama will no longer be able to blame George W. Bush for the state of the economy. Voters may have agreed with the president about the depth of the hole we were in and who put us there, but having won another term, it is Obama's economy now. Following is a look at where it stands.
GDP vs. the Great Recession
The U.S. has enjoyed a decades-long stretch of economic prosperity. The Great Recession was the most severe break in that stretch. While the economy has been growing since the second half of 2009, that growth has been bumpy -- and modest at best.
The Federal Reserve has pushed interest rates to historically low levels in an attempt to speed the recovery.
Although the low interest rates have fueled fears among some that inflation will become a problem, core inflation (blue) has been tame even as food and gas prices have been somewhat volatile.
Low interest rates have helped stabilize the housing market after a long and painful bust. Housing remains far from robust, but there are signs of improvement in an area of the economy that had been a huge drag on growth.
The stock market has surged during Obama's time in office, regaining much of what it lost during the economic crisis.
More from The Fiscal Times:
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
We as the American people have so long let a small amount of politicians (lawyers), say and do what they have studied, and determined will, be tolerated by "We the people" (Us), and have been manipulated by seed thought, of master control. WE believe it is (us) that is in control, I say we are being herded. To what end is yet to be determined, by our ignorance of the diabolical and unscrupulous greed of those we have in trusted to do the RIGHT thing with Integrity. How naive it is to think they vote themselves increased salary and we don't need any more we need to sacrifice as a whole to maintain the two party system Republican and Democrat. for the benefit of two party at the expense of all others. We need to come together and oust all the career controllers and get some farmers and ditch diggers in to help the country. It is so much easier to get less than 600 players to play the rules out to benefit oneself and keep it secret. and I will say no more until I check to see if there is a targeting drone over head.
This business owner is giving it until December 1st.
Already came up with a list of 15 employees who will be cut if the fit hits the shan.
Corporate profits (after tax) are at an all time high. Wages are the lowest percentage of the GDP on record. This aint government people. This is the private sector. Thank heaven we didn't elect a private sector guru in this economy.
# 1 = HIMSELF
# 2 = THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
# 3 = VALERIE JARRETT
# 4 = PROGRESSIVE'S IN THE ELECTORATE
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