Friday, October 28, 2011

People Been Foxed - Obama Scorecard

This graphic has been displayed on and reshared on several social networking sites and it needs to be addressed because it is misleading.

1.)In order to do this I need to address the ironic nature of the exercise itself. Those people who keep resharing this are defending it as the truth. Notice there are no sources listed on this diagram by the nature of the content it has obviously been put together by someone with a republican agenda. Even though there are no sources listed on this diagram people will attack mine as if my sources are the problem not the “mysterious sources” used here. I encourage attacking my sources and sending your own it will only make my argument stronger.

2.)Inauguration date is specific however ,today is not and open to interpretation. I could assume that today means the end of 2010 since you could only do an apples to apples calculation for say debt per person using the last known figures for population which were the 2010 census results but since that calculation doesn’t equal the answer on this graph I can only assume that the creator of the graph picked an arbitrary date after looking at the data that would provide them with the best results. Some of the answers are just false using any available statistics I can not recreate where this number is coming from or how the person is calculating.

a.However to make the data meaning and answer the question is the change really negative I will use the yearly national average comparing 2007 last year of predecessor to the most current year end which is 2010(this avoids being able to cherry pick monthly data. )

3.)I am also going to challenge another embedded assumption. The creator of this graph wants you to believe two things

a.That this value on inauguration is the value it was in the past. For example gas was $1.85 until Obama took office and then it sky rocketed. This is a complete fallacy as gas was nationally above $4.00 while Bush was in office and the market movement occurred right before his inauguration. (Which happens to be in January, when demand for gas is at the lowest)

b.This graph also make the assumption that the only thing that matters in these figures is the US Government. It fails to acknowledge the role of global markets, China and India’s increased demand and US Government activities that happened prior to his term that have an impact on these numbers such as the Bush Tax Cuts, War on Terror, Financial Bailout Package, Medicare Part C and D ect.
While some of these metrics could be debated in a 50 page thesis my intent here is only to debate a few of these that would have the least amount of controversy and the most reliable amount of public data.

Global Competitive Index
Let me start with one I don’t dispute. One that is probably not familiar to most people. The movement in global competitiveness from 1-5 as stated by the World Economic Form. ( First what is the World Form? It is a group of the largest companies in the world. How do these companies decide the rankings? If you find out let me know. Here is the current ranking :

As an illustration: Am I surprised that Visa was upset over the caps on transactions fees and dropped its score of the US? Not really. Does this score mean that you are worse off or better off? Depends on how you feel about transaction fees as a small business. (What sounds worse four place drop or .05 reduction in score from large companies?) Are US companies set to leave for Sweden and Finland?

Gas Prices
Information varies widely this is the source that I used
For the year of 2007 the nominal value of a gallon of unleaded gas was 3.007 for 2010 last full year of data it was 2.519 (3.007-2.519)/3.007 = 16% decrease in gas prices since he took office. I think largely this is a benchmark that is more of a market function then a political one but still.

Health Care Premiums Can’t think of a better rebuttal than this video. Yes your premiums have gone up but it is looking at a larger issue. :50-1:30 This static is looking a specific individuals premium amount not the larger picture that the plan is trying to solve for the future. The “change” that is being directed is a much more global level and when the global view is focused on the individual increase makes sense.

Misery Index
There are several of these next ones that are interrelated and subject to the same fallacy. What is the misery index for example? It is the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. What does that mean? Not a whole lot other then Arthur Okun thought it was cool. According to him Americans has the most miserable time of their lives in 1980…you know what I remember about 1980 The Empire Strikes back - Great website something I would bank my future on.

Unemployed Americans – Unemployment Rate – Federal Debt – Debt Per Person – Food Stamp Recipients – Americans in Poverty – Health Care Insurance Premiums
All of these topics are worthy of lengthy debate as to their accuracy what isn’t reflected in this graph is the changes that are leading to these figures.

1.)Markets conditions have caused mass amounts of lay-offs period. I will not debate the causes of those contractions here but what I will address is that the government can only employee people through stimulus or more spending. When that is voted a down there is not much the government can do to change these numbers.

2.)Massive amounts of debt can be attributed to Bush Tax Cuts, Iraq War, Financial Bailout Package, Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D.

3.)If you want to really do a challenge of the cost and impact of “Obama care” on premiums and debt and exclude the impacts of these prior initiatives on present results you are not looking at a correct picture.

4.)Changing demographics as the baby boomer generation retires there is more demand on social programs.

5.)As we recall troops from war which make up one of the largest unemployed populations in the country we are increasing some of these figures.

6.)Global completion and pricing are having an impact across the board too. - For some further analysis on Employment numbers.


When I say someone has been “FOXed” what I mean is that they believe without question or looking holistically at an issue what a talking head has presented as fact. I highly doubt any of the people who posted this graphic knew what misery index or global competitive position actually mean, who or how they are calculated. To be fair there are a lot of liberals who do the same thing.

This debate has been going on over several different feeds and social network sites over the last week. I have been called a socialist, communist, a liberal nut, a child that receives a bad report car and is looking to blame others for the marks.
If researching and questioning something equates to any these items it is a title that I gladly accept. I realize that more of these barbs are in good fun and I hope parts of this can be considered in the same way.

The truth is Obama campaigned on and change is hard. The truth is the president no matter who that person is will have little impact on the current employment figures we see. I think it is also true that we are all the children pointing fingers at the people we feel responsible for the current situation instead of looking at ourselves and wondering what can as an individual do to change them.

My personal bias is that we are moving in the right direction, that it is darkest before the dawn. That significant change comes from small course directions over a long period of time. I shudder at the mere thought Perry, Bachman, Cain, Paul coming into office.

That said I appreciate all of the people who participated in these discussions. Even if I don’t agree with you I appreciate your wiliness to defend a position for you make me more diligent and aware and it is evitable that a few my own assumptions over turn.

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