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America is great: Obama’s economic legacy

EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON | 11/7/2016, 9:47 a.m.
Listening to the political messages of this campaign season, many candidates will have you forget just how deep of a ...
eddie bernice johnson

U.S. House of Representatives

Listening to the political messages of this campaign season, many candidates will have you forget just how deep of a hole this country was in eight years ago. You don’t have to go far to hear someone claim “we have to make America great again” or “we need to bring back our jobs from overseas” or any other numerous claims that suggest America is in worse shape than it was before the election of President Barack Obama. Until every able bodied citizen is able to find a job that can allow them to provide for themselves and their family, we will still have work to do. The facts, however, show that our nation has come a very long way from the dire straits we were in when Obama was elected.

If we rewind the clock back eight years, the economic outlook for the country was very bleak. America was embroiled in “the worst financial crisis in global history, including the Great depression,” according to former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. The private sector had lost 4.5 million jobs, and nearly $13 trillion in household wealth was eliminated in the final year of the Bush presidency. Bush policies pushed the unemployment rate to peak at 10 percent by October of 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Current political narratives would have you forget just how deep the hole our country was in when Obama came into office. There is so much political rhetoric dominating the airwaves that suggests we must “make America great again” and bring our country back from the brink of disaster. The facts, however, suggest an entirely different narrative.

The facts are simple. Under the leadership of Obama, America has had a historic economic recovery. The economy has added 15.1 million private sector jobs in his past 78 months in office. The facts are that the unemployment rate in America has been cut in half to 4.9 percent since it peaked in October 2009. The facts are that the nearly $800 billion American Recovery Reinvestment Act (commonly known as the “stimulus package”) was a critical policy that was able to jumpstart the recovery that our economy has seen over the past six years.

As America prepares for a monumental election between two candidates with vastly different visions for America, I ask that you separate facts from rhetorical fiction. The facts are that America has made great strides in the past eight years. Right here in Texas, we have seen the benefits of investments in infrastructure and the recovery of the automobile industry.

There is a lot of information to sift through during election season. Citizens throughout Texas and the rest of the country must sort through the rhetoric and campaign ads, to find the facts and the truth. This is part of our civic duty as Americans to make an informed choice on our ballots. Yet one thing must be clear, America never lost its greatness, but in fact, under Obama, America has remained great and will continue to be great.

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas. She is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the highest-ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.