Will Weighs in on How Poorly Obamanomics Has Worked in Illinois

October 5th, 2014 2:09 PM

On Thursday, President Barack Obama did something Republicans have inexplicably been reluctant to do. He nationalized the impending midterm elections by telling a friendly audience at Northwestern University that "I am not on the ballot this fall ... But make no mistake: These policies (of my administration) are on the ballot -- every single one of them."

That evening on Fox News's Special Report hosted by Bret Baier, in video seen after the jump (HT Real Clear Politics), George Will was ready with some facts and a deadly redistributionist riposte on how Obama's policies have worked out in the real world, including in the President's home state, during the past six years:

Transcript (bolds are mine):

GEORGE WILL: The president went to the state of Illinois to brag about the economy. Illinois has 300,000 fewer jobs than it had in 2008. For the last four years in the state of Illinois, the number of new food stamp recipients has increased twice as fast as the number of new job recipients. He was speaking in Illinois on a college campus. He did not mention that 40 percent of recent college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed -- that is, in jobs that don't require college degrees -- and one in three recent college graduates is living at home with their parents.

Now, the president, we just heard, disparage trickle-down economics while bragging about doubling the stock market value. He is practicing trickle-down economics by doubling the stock market. He, and, for six years now, and most recently under his choice to be head of the Fed, Janet Yellen, have had zero interest rates, the intended effect of which is to drive people out of bonds and into assets like farm land, but particularly into stocks. That is why this has been a boon to the 10 percent of Americans who own 80 percent of all the directly owned stocks. And this is why 95 percent of the wealth created in the last six years have gone to the dreaded top one percent.

Will's stats contain several understatements.

Here's a chart of how jobs have disappeared and mostly never come back in Illinois. It presents the more inclusive Household Survey employment figures published by the federal government's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rounded, it shows that Illinois indeed had almost 300,000 fewer citizens employed in August 2014 than it did in January 2008.


As to food stamp enrollment, Will understated how horrid the situation is:

  • The latest available data at the time of Will's statement was from June


    , when 2.026 million Illinois residents were enrolled in the program.
  • In June of 2010, enrollment was 1.655 million.
  • The four-year increase of 371,000 in Illinois food stamp enrollment is actually 2.65 times the 140,000 increase in reported employment.
  • Calculated on a percentage basis, food stamp enrollment increased by 22.4 percent — almost ten times the 2.4 percent increase in Household Survey employment during that same period.

A to the unemployment and underemployment of college grads, a Spring 2013 Gallup survey, the underemployed figure alone was 41 percent. Conditions have certainly not improved by enough since then to render Will's stat invalid.

Finally, a recent Pew Research study indicated that 37% of 18-24 year-olds with a bachelor's degree or higher, i.e., more than the one-third Will cited, are living with their parents.

As to wealth, leftists should be at least as furious with Obama administration policies which have effectively led to Robin Hood-like wealth redistribution as conservatives are with the administration's incentive- and progress-choking tax and regulatory policies. But leftists are largely and hypocritically keeping their mouths shut.

But let's get back to Illinois. The state has been the perfect laboratory for the left's policy prescriptions. That they have failed is not arguable.

The Democrat-dominated state government radically raised income tax rates in 2011; deep economic malaise has been the result. The elites thought that the extra tax collections would help solve the state's horrid budget problems, which, it must never be forgotten, include being delinquent in paying billions of dollars of bills from vendors and service providers (the current such figure is between $3.9 billion and $4.4 billion). The revenue windfall has largely failed to materialize, and nothing meaningful has been done to change state government's structural problems, the most serious of which is its ruinous public-sector pension situation. Predictably, the state's "progressives" want to raise taxes yet again.

In sum, the state has basically done "every single one" of the things Barack Obama has wanted them to do, with predictably ruinous results. Kudos to George Will for pointing a few of them out.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.