New Study Proves America Keeps Getting Better And Better Under Obama

The cornerstone of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign can be summed up in just a few words: Things suck and it’s all Obama’s fault. For Trump, this tweet pretty much optimizes his take on poverty:

This was in response to President Obama saying during the Democratic National Convention that “America is already great.”

So, who is correct? Are Americans trapped in a socioeconomic hell hole or are things far more optimistic? According to a study published by the New York Times, things are vastly better for Americans than they were when Obama took office in 2009.

The article began by profiling Alex Caicedo of Gaithersburg, MD. A few years ago, Caicedo was struggling with odd and part time jobs. He and his family were forced to live with his mother-in-law. Today, he has a steady middle class job with benefits and the family is ready to move out of his mother-in-law’s home. They are far from alone.

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The Caicedos are among the 3.5 million Americans who were able to raise their chins above the poverty line last year, according to census data released this month. More than seven years after the recession ended, employers are finally being compelled to reach deeper into the pools of untapped labor, creating more jobs, especially among retailers, restaurants and hotels, and paying higher wages to attract workers and meet new minimum wage requirements.

What about the minorities, who, according to Trump, have never had it worse? Well, that’s another Trump lie. Not only have minorities suffered much, much worse throughout history (slavery, Jim Crow), but they too have it dramatically better since Obama took office.

Poverty declined among every groupBut African-Americans and Hispanics — who account for more than 45 percent of those below the poverty line of $24,300 for a family of four in most states — experienced the largest improvement.

Sorry, Republicans, but you don’t get an ounce of credit for the improvements. If anything, things would be much better if Republicans weren’t in office. The Times credits social programs like Social Security and food stamps for keeping people out of poverty. They also credit the fall in oil prices for people being able to commute to their jobs. One major factor, and Republicans will hate this, is that the increases in minimum wage are also taking people out of poverty.

After a long period of rising inequality, Elise Gould, an economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute in Washington, added, the benefits of the improving economy finally began to seep downward. Wage increases were “even stronger at the bottom than in the middle,” she said.

Still, it’s not enough. 43 million Americans still live in poverty. Republicans have successfully blocked poor people from acquiring college degrees or job training that might help raise people out of poverty. For those without access to computers or the internet, finding a job can be burdensome. For those who can’t afford cars, a job search can be impossible.

If this proves anything, it should be that it’s time to continue successful Democratic policies, not cut them off at the knees, as Republicans would do.


Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.