Obama’s Failed Approach Has Increased Income Inequality

Main St. Agenda by from National Review, December 5, 2013

President Obama has declared his renewed commitment to fighting income inequality. But we now have five years of evidence to draw upon, and it’s clear that Obama’s methods in this regard have failed miserably. In fact, they’ve worked about as well as Obamacare.

Obama’s approach to addressing income inequality, of course, is to funnel ever more money and power to Washington, while promoting a culture of cozy cronyism between Big Government and Big Business (especially Big “Green” Business). When having a well-positioned team of Washington lawyers and lobbyists becomes a necessary prerequisite to getting ahead, that’s hardly conducive to Main St. prosperity.

The utter failure of Obama’s trickle-down-government approach is perhaps best captured by two contrasting stats. When he took office, we were a full year into a major recession. Economically, there was almost nowhere to go but up. And, indeed, that’s what the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which tracks the stock prices of 30 very large companies, has done: gone up. In January 2009, the Dow was at about 8,000. It’s now at about 16,000. It has essentially doubled on Obama’s watch.

Meanwhile, according to Census Bureau figures compiled by Sentier Research, the median American household income when the Obama household took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2009 was $55,972 (in 2013 dollars). Now, nearly five years later, the median American household income is just $52,529. That’s a decrease of $3,443—or more than 6 percent. And that’s during a “recovery”!

If Americans’ median income were now merely the same (in real dollars) as during the recession, that would mark Obama’s tenure as a miserable economic failure. Instead, Americans’ median income has noticeably dropped.

It’s important to note that these median-income figures include government payments, such as unemployment.

Now, in the face of five years of failure, Obama is pushing for more of the same. His immigration/amnesty push would widen the gap between rich and poor, further squeezing the middle class. His proposals for further government intervention in the economy—such as through raising the minimum wage—would make it harder for many people to find work. His administration’s incessant regulatory barrage makes it hard for businesses—especially small businesses—to succeed. And then, of course, there’s Obamacare.

What’s needed is to stop funneling so much money and power to Washington, get the government out of the way of the efforts of everyday American workers, and get the economy moving in a way that promotes the economic prosperity of the middle class. President Reagan’s famous words ring truer than ever: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

© 2013 by National Review, Inc. Reprinted with permission.