On anniversary of recession, Obama set to herald economic record
September 15th, 2013
08:00 PM ET
8 years ago

On anniversary of recession, Obama set to herald economic record

Washington (CNN) – Five years after the economic collapse that defined the first 100 days of President Barack Obama's presidency, the White House is taking credit for "strengthening" the economy, with the president preparing to embark on a week of events aimed at making that argument.

Gene Sperling, a senior economic adviser to the president, said Sunday that while the economic decisions the Obama administration made in 2009 were controversial – citing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the auto bailout and revamped banking regulations – all have outperformed their original forecasts.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker'] [twitter-follow screen_name='danmericaCNN']

"These very difficult, bold and politically controversial measures that the president took in 2009 have uniformly performed better than almost anyone could have projected," Sperling, the outgoing director of the National Economic Council, said on a call with reporters.

After Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy in 2008, the U.S. economy went into freefall in the final days of the George W. Bush presidency. After Obama took office in January 2009, he took controversial and expensive steps to stabilize the U.S. economy.

In a flurry of economic policy, the Obama administration pumped $250 billion into banks both large and small to shore up their capital, known at the TARP program, and pledged $85 billion to rescue the insurance firm AIG from collapse.

Economic security and the Obama administration's decisions appear to be the White House's focus in the coming week.

On Monday, the president will use a Rose Garden speech to herald his economic decisions. To hammer home the point, a White House spokesperson said Sunday that Obama will be flanked by people who represent different sectors of the economy aided by Obama's decisions.

Obama will sit down for an interview with the Spanish-language news channel Telemundo on Tuesday, and on Wednesday and Thursday he will deliver remarks at two different economic meetings.

On Friday, the president will take his message to the road, traveling to a Ford production plant in Kansas City, Missouri, where he is expected to tout the 2009 auto bailout and his next economic steps.

A White House report released Sunday, which Sperling previewed on the call, credited Obama with making these tough decisions, stating that "America has fought our way back" largely because of these steps.

"Thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we've cleared away the rubble from the financial crisis and begun to lay a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth," reads the 49-page report.

Expectedly, not everyone agrees that Obama's economic decisions have strengthened the economy.

Republicans, such as House Speaker John Boehner, have long criticized Obama for "mediocre" job growth and growing the national debt.

"The sooner President Obama starts working with both parties to … solve Washington's spending problem, the stronger our economy will be for all Americans," Boehner said earlier this month.

But it isn't just Republicans who doubt the stability of the U.S. economy.

Six in 10 Americans told Gallup in August that economic conditions are getting worse, and earlier this month, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, found that 95% of income gains from 2009 to 2012 went to the top 1% of earners.

In short, the study found, the slow economic growth the United States has experienced since the economic crash of 2008 has primarily favored top earners, while incomes for the vast majority of people have stagnated.

While Sperling acknowledged on the call that the United States has not fully recovered from the economic downturn, Obama said in an interview with ABC on Sunday that the rich have fared far better than the poor during his time in the White House.

"The folks in the middle and at the bottom haven't seen wage or income growth, not just over the last three, four years, but over the last 15 years," the president said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

Sperling argued on Sunday that things would have been worse if auto companies had not been bailed out and the president's scheduled visit to the Ford plant signals that the White House plans to tout its accomplishments with the auto industry.

In 2008 and 2009, General Motors, Chrysler Group and Ally Financial, the finance firm then known as GMAC, received $79.7 billion. While some of that assistance came in the form of loans, most of it was given to the companies in return for their stock. Stock sales, dividend and loan payments together have returned only $52.7 billion to the government, leaving a $27 billion deficit.

Sperling argued, however, that they were a net positive.

"Autos is striking," Sperling said on Sunday. "The president made the right and very politically difficult call. I don't know that anybody at the time would have predicted that by the first quarter of 2011, the big three would not only have survived by have been profitable for the first time since 2004."

Obama's handling of the auto bailout was controversial at the time and became a flashpoint point in the 2012 election.

Some Republicans – including the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney – argued that the White House should have allowed the auto companies to go into a structured bankruptcy and criticized Obama's decision to use government money to prop up the industry.

Filed under: Economy • President Obama
soundoff (296 Responses)
  1. David Marriott

    What economic record? Record low interest rates for our retired, a 5,500 dollar income drop for the averarage family, record gas and food prices, wasted money given to the green and automotive industries, the largest addition to our national debt ($7 trillion) ever or perhaps the longest most sluggish recovery in history! ...if Obama isn't on his teleprompter, he may draw another embarassing red line on the unemployment charts!

    September 16, 2013 04:49 am at 4:49 am |
  2. What in the world

    That's real funny, In the manufacturing industry the incoming orders have been on a steady fall since December 2012.... Retail is up...... But that is in the cheap import area........
    Smoke and Mirrors.... Like the Unemployment rates, those that are no longer eligible are not counted, only new Applicants, and not returning Applicants.

    September 16, 2013 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
  3. Jason

    What a joke.

    September 16, 2013 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  4. Brenda

    Wow, this guy has no shame what so ever. Real unemployment is around 15%, its 25% in the black community. Obamacare is making everyone limit people's work hours to 30/week so they aren't "full time" employees. His "cheaper" health insurance exchanges are only cheaper in two or three liberal states like NY, NJ that have out of control health care costs anyway.

    At what point does someone inform the President about the reality of America, not the fantasy world he lives in.

    September 16, 2013 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  5. shawn

    He's set to do what? herald what? Detroit is bankrupt, 47 million are on Welfare, Jobs growth is stagnant? are you Democrats really going to let him tell you a lie and back his play? When are you going to stop backing his revisionist version of events. My lord, what the hell is wrong with you people, he's not your guy. Unions running from him, Putin backhanding him, this is a joke.

    September 16, 2013 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  6. Dave

    But I thought he was a communist?

    September 16, 2013 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  7. liberal disease

    this guy has lost his mind!

    September 16, 2013 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    Hello, Tarp worked in its defined limited sense, perfect no, but the government will make a profit. AIG they already have.
    Auto bailout. Would a bankruptcy structured or otherwise have led to the situation where the three majors are now back as market leaders and very profitable... sooner or better... I do not know. The oracle ( financial guru) that can fairly make that answer is guessing. I do know ( as does any financial guru) the government will get its money back in full with interest.
    Since when in America has making a profit been a bad decision??

    September 16, 2013 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  9. SpgfldTom

    Did he get permission from Putin to make these campaign speeches? Sad part is that he really is starting to believe his "accomplishments".

    September 16, 2013 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  10. Bill

    What is he heralding? Five years of the worst possible record, with made up "facts" about unemployment??

    September 16, 2013 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  11. SeeThruIt2

    CNN has just demonstrated with this article that they are a partisan mouthpiece for the President.

    September 16, 2013 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  12. kirk

    Let's see 15 years, so that puts guess who in charge, big shocker there, now all you have to do is realize it was just like the wars,, all planned to do exactly what they did . And for you idiots who say bush was lied to will never admit that he and Cheney made the lies, and sold them to senate and Congress

    September 16, 2013 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  13. SeeThruIt2

    No mention of Bush and who made decisions on the TARP failures CNN?

    Bush's administration with Bush's promotion created the TARP, and it's greatest failures were those of Obama's giveaways to GM, Chrysler, and AIG.

    September 16, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  14. SeeThruIt2

    Obama's going to visit a Ford auto plant to tout his bailout success?

    Ford didn't take any bailout money. And Ford would be far more successful today if GM and Chrysler (their competitors) had been allowed to fail. Talk about a slap in the face: using them to promote his accomplishments.

    September 16, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  15. kirk

    We would do well to recognize that the gop is promoting class warfare that endangers the middle-class working families in favor of yet even more wealth for the already very wealthy, why are people so willing to overlook that voting gop will hurt their standard of living. They want you to believe if you give the rich more money they will give back, that's not happening and never will

    September 16, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  16. Bob

    You've got to be kidding me!

    September 16, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  17. Bob

    CNN used to be the Clinton News Network. Now this the Communist News Network

    September 16, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  18. Steve- Illinois

    LOL....awesome recovery. Just ask anybody.

    September 16, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  19. Don, thl Toronto

    Well I knew that the Republican obstructionists in congress who would rather see the US fail than for any of President Obama's policies to succeed would have something negative to say. People like Mitch McConnel say it was his goal that Obama would be a one term president. He and his cohorts failed at that but that did not stop them from trying to fool the American public. The more ignorant ones bought into the Repubs progandas and lies and believe it is the president and his administration's policies that is holding back the American economy. However the evidence/results are there to show that the president's policies helped and continue help the economy to grow. Things would even be brighter if the Obtructionists would work with rather than trying to oppose the president every step of the way. Evev programs that the president propose that benefits their constituents, they lie to their ignorant constituents that it will not help. Those constituents rather than doing their due diligence to look into the facts for themselves bought into the lies they were and still are being fed. Some of the constituents had banners telling the president to keep his hands off their medicare/medicaid while it was the Republicans in congress who were trying to get their hands on hit as the president was protecting it. When I saw the signs at Tea Part (Republican gangsters) meetings, I had to laugh at how ignorant some people are. They seem not to read or listen to the news and analysis of honest commentators. They just go to townhall meetings and barbecues and listen to lies and more lies. If one should ask some of these folks to name ten states in the USA, they would probably name ten counties in their immediate vicinity. Most have no idea as to what is going on in Washington DC. The next problem for the president is, how to get these people to become knowledgeable about their own country and its bureaucracy and how they are truly affected and how they can make positive change i.e. Stop providing Safe Haven districts for career politicians who are only interested in toeing party lines rather than doing what is right for the bettering of the nation on a whole even if the decision is hard and goes against the party's elites stance. People, Bin Ladin is dead and the Auto Industry is alive thanks to president Obama's policy many Republicans in red states still have a job. The banks are now lending to many republican farmers and small business people. What would have happen had he let the financial and auto industries failed. Answer: many republicans who have a job today would probably die already from stress of being jobless or be on welfare. Smarten-up people and wake up to who really cares about you and not how long they can hold unto their house or senate seats.

    September 16, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  20. Denny

    Obama, the economy is tanking. Lack of people in the workforce and too much government aid is not economic prosperity. You failed.

    September 16, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  21. smith

    "Set to herald economic record" Really, the economy is in the crapper. High unemployment, low wage jobs, only jobs created have been part-time, and still in massive debt. The only thing Obumbles has done is cut military personnel and put that money in the private sector(just like billy clinton did).

    September 16, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  22. They call me joe.....

    The repubs will never be satisfied as long as we have a Democratic President. They've spent the last 5 years on trying to humiliate our President and not get anything done. They've criticized Obama for not having guts in dealing with these terrorist but the minute that he puts his foot down...... they complain that he is too aggressive. And then you have some repubs that only want wars.... Sad.... very sad only...

    September 16, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  23. Long

    How's the City of Detroit doing, Obama?

    Unfortunately OCP will not be turning it into Delta City.

    September 16, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    "The sooner President Obama starts working with both parties to … solve Washington's spending problem, the stronger our economy will be for all Americans," Boehner said.
    GOP Economic Solution: "Let's cut taxes." ... ... and make the spending problem even more acute. Bush tried that, and it failed.

    September 16, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  25. cuisinemanager

    Only in a parallel universe would a president celebrate an economic meltdown. On top of that he is going to celebrate TARP, bailouts, a failed stimulus programs and a $ 17 TRILLION debt that has resulted in a very weak economy, very high unemployment, virtually no job growth. Is there a line to get in while I am waiting for my head to explode. Oh yeah that would be the line that circles the block and goes down past the white house..........the food stamp line!

    September 16, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12