The latest numbers show stagnant wages, persistent long-term unemployment and moderate health care spending.
- The number of long-term unemployed is nearly double what it was when Obama became president.
- Wages remain stagnant, increasing a scant 0.3 percent after inflation during Obama’s time.
The divide between the affluent and ordinary wage earners — which the president last month called the “defining challenge of our time” — has widened during his time in office.
Wages remain stagnant, barely keeping up with inflation. Average weekly earnings of workers on payrolls, measured in inflation-adjusted dollars, have edged up a scant 0.3 percent between Obama’s first month in office and November 2013, the most recent on record. And there’s no clear upward trend.
- The number of low-income persons on food stamps remains just below the record level reached in 2012, with 15 percent of the population still getting benefits.
- Health care spending has increased 15.8 percent under Obama, which is faster than inflation.
- The economic slowdown and subsequent sluggish recovery.
- Drops in some prescription drug costs brought about by the expiration of patents on several costly medications including Lipitor, Plavix and Singulair, which are now available in low-cost generic versions.
- A one-time reduction in Medicare payment levels to skilled nursing facilities.
- U.S. exports have gone up just 34 percent, leaving Obama far short of his announced goal of doubling them by the end of this year.
- The federal debt owed to the public has almost doubled since Obama took office, increasing by 95 percent.
The president is fond of boasting that annual federal deficits are falling rapidly. But they remain large by historical standards. And the fact is, they are piling up.
Total federal debt now stands at nearly $17.3 trillion, which is 63 percent higher than when Obama took office.
- The price of regular gasoline was at a national average of $3.33 per gallon in the week ended Jan. 13. The recent price is 80 percent higher than it was when Obama took office.