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. Cynical

    Millions of unemployed. More millions under employed, and more millions who have quit the work force, and Oblamer is gonna tell us how great a job he has done.

    September 15, 2013 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  2. Kenman

    So, the campaign continues! This should offend most everyone, that this Presidential incompetent believes that, despite all the evidence against it, can depend on the media and his staged (if much, much smaller) public appearances will lull the public into that same state of stupor they were in when they voted for the mysterious candidate five years ago!

    And, isn't it precious that Obama argues that it's not only in his administration that "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". Oddly a number that includes (Anybody?, Anybody?) the BUSH administration!

    And no one should be surprised if he lies in the process, and that the liberal mainstream covers for him at every turn. They seems to think that the average rank and file American citizens, no matter how destitute, or hungry, or desperate, or aggravated, will follow this false prophet on the mere power of his teleprompter's words!

    Ignore what you see, see what I say!

    September 15, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  3. labeledCrazy

    I'm sorry but President Obama's first pick for FED chair was Dr. Bernanke. Dr. Bernanke whom earned his PhD with his dissertation that argued that the great depression would have been cut short if we would have only bailed out the Banks. This appointment allowed another Keynesian economist to do what they do best confirm their biases. Then up until just a few hours ago his number one pick to replace Dr. Bernanke was Larry Summers a man whom help dismantle the Glass Stegal Act of 1933 with the help of then New York fed head Timothy Guitner whom Obama appointed as treasury Sec.
    To suggest that President Obama has done anything but allowed financial terrorist to take crucial control over of America finance is just non sense. I don't claim to offer the great fix for our problems but I surely know that you don't give more matches to the arsonist.

    September 15, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  4. Maltytasker

    No one can deny that the economy has improved under Obama. Just think how much better it would be if Congressional Republicans had vowed to work with the President instead of trying to obstruct everything.

    September 15, 2013 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  5. Volker

    Are you kidding me? Congrats Mr Obama on that 7% unemployment.

    September 15, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  6. broke

    Well I sure hope he comes to my town and see's the enormous amount of family owned businesses that have closed. Even some small corporations that have closed. The higher prices of food, gas and housing. And the same minimum wage from about ten years ago. Yup the economy is jumpin! Good job Obama glad to see the major improvements you have implemented.

    September 15, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  7. Just

    But every actual US citizen owes over $55,000.00 to cover the 17 trillion dollar debt. And 2/3 of the new jobs the O likes to talk about are part time low wage?

    September 15, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  8. HomeBoy

    Is this guy serious? The only folks that will believe this will be the LOW INFORMATION VOTERS! What is the unemployment in the Afrian American community today? How many have bailed in the job market? How many part-time vs full time jobs have been created in the last 5 years. This is a farce. Like the man himself.

    September 15, 2013 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  9. Joe

    This is a joke, right? Obama heralding his economic record? The man is delusional.

    September 15, 2013 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  10. JG

    Fox won't show any of it. They will, however, report to their fool audience an altered version of what was said by Obama.

    September 16, 2013 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  11. parker

    "After Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy in 2008, the U.S. economy went into freefall in the final days of the George W. Bush presidency." Maybe this will help shut up the damn Republicans and other idiots that blame Obama for the recession. Lehman Brothers CEO, CFO and COO were ALL friends of W, and did him a favor by waiting until he was (almost) out of office before going under. So, Shut the frack up Republicans and try, just try , to remember HISTORY and not what Cheney, Palin and Limbaugh are telling you. Yes, it WAS all W.s fault!

    September 16, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  12. Douglas E Perry

    Unbelievable. Obama has done everything he can to destroy our beautiful country. It's gotta stop. Lets begin by getting the XL Pipeline installed.

    September 16, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  13. New York

    The opening statement of this wonderfully written article is incorrect. 5 years after the economic collapse? that collapse happened long before Barack Obama became president...

    September 16, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  14. Hi41

    Wow, someone is trying to rewrite history. There is nothing to give credit for this POTUS. He has destroyed the middle class through his economic policies and castrated the American people by his lack of leadership and credibility in the foreign policy arena.

    September 16, 2013 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  15. patrick e mclean

    Things work out best for those who make the most out of the way things work out.


    September 16, 2013 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  16. Jolat

    Funny he's going to a Ford plant to tout the bailout. And this story forgot to mention that GM and Chrysler filed bankruptcy Anyway. Pathetic

    September 16, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  17. zenreaper

    So, now OBAMA passed TARP after he took office? Really? Seems to me TARP, or the Troubled Asset Relief Program, was signed into LAW on October 3rd, 2008, by PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH. Oh, and he plans to "tout" the auto bailout by going to a plant in Kansas City. That is ironic, since the plant he is visiting is a FORD plant, and Ford was the only auto company NOT to take bailout money.

    Rumor has it his next stop is Chicago to tout his gun control policies.

    September 16, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  18. nomad2003

    This is the worst recovery since the depression. Income DOWN, jobs created are 70% part time, and the number of jobs created does not even keep up with population growth.
    And we are another 7 trillion in debt. Will be interesting when rates rise and eats up more of revenues.
    The "rich" better off? These are not the same folks who were rich 20 years ago.
    Some one else making money does not make others poor.
    Bush's use of the tarp funds to the banks were paid back with interest. The illegal use to buy stock in GM is still billions in debt.
    And with printing over 80 billion dollars per month (1 trillion per year)

    and that Frank Dobb bill... not only did NSA snoop on you, the Consumer department created by Dodd/Franks will track your credit card transactions and your mortgage payments.

    Mr Obama trying to make a statement and say how great a job he did, is another misconception promoted by this administration. And it does take the news stories away from IRS, NSA, Benghazi, fast and furious and all the rest of scadals.

    September 16, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  19. Getoverit

    "On anniversary of recession, Obama set to herald economic record"
    Cool. Who's economic record is he going to herald?

    September 16, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  20. Paul R.

    Economic recovery? Really? $100 billion in bond debt issued each month for 4 years, primarily to the investment banks and big banks that crashed the economy in the first place. And what have they spent that money on? Huge investments in oil and food commodities, resulting in huge price increases without any change in demand. Huge purchases of the very homes their practices drove people out of in the first place. Stocks purchased to the tune of all-time market highs with virtually no increase in jobs. Some recovery. We'll see how honest a recovery it is when the Fed quits giving money away.

    September 16, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  21. Buddha


    The banks are still not broken up.

    Colleges are putting students into debt they won't be able to pay off for decades.

    A US city has declared Bankruptcy without any help from Washington.

    Gas is still close to four dollars a gallon.

    and you are handing off money to Egypt, Israel, Syrian rebels, and god knows who else when we have children poverty here in the United States.

    The only thing you get to take credit for is letting down the country.

    September 16, 2013 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  22. Ron

    Anyone that truly understands politics and economics knows that any improvement in the economy has been despite Mr. Obama's transparently deceitful agenda. He's contributed mightily to the devaluation of our currency.

    September 16, 2013 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  23. zenreaper

    Why would Obama take credit for TARP? It was signed into law on October 3rd, 2008 by President Bush. Why would he go to a FORD plant to tout his auto bailout? Ford didn't take bailout money. Lemme guess, he will then go to Chicago to tout his gun policies?

    September 16, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  24. Nameyahump

    So he goes to a Ford plant to tout his programs to save the economy and Ford didn't take any government money. Maybe that's the message he needs to be giving.

    September 16, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  25. Notchickenlittle

    This clown has got to be kidding. I will admit he has slowed down the collaspe much like chemo therapy slows down the advance of the disease so the patient dies a long slow painful death. There is no money in a cure. He has also managed to enrich himself in the process. Much like the clowns he is surrounded by. Boner looks like he has martini eyes in most of his pics. The rest of them can't think on their own and since they don't get permission to think you know what that means. This is without a doubt the worst, and I do mean worst bunch of incompetent morons to ever be assembled in a government. Right on par with California.

    September 16, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12