NDN Blog

Report: America Is Better Off and Safer Today

You can find the full report in a PDF at the very end of this post.  Below is an excerpt.

The questions of whether we are better off, and safer, are always central to our Presidential elections every four years, and this one is no exception. This report does a deep dive on publicly available data to see if we can answer those questions for this election in 2016.

As you will see from the following summary of the data and the many graphs that follow, our findings suggest Americans are indeed better off today, and safer, than they were when Barack Obama took office in 2009.

We also include portions of very recent polls that confirm that Americans are relatively content with the economic progress that has been made in recent years, and feel that things are getting better. These results are consistent with other recent polls showing President Obama hitting his highest job approval ratings of his second term; and they raise the question of whether this is really a “change election” after all.

This report builds on other recent work by NDN, including our recent economic report, "In A Global Age, Democrats Have Been Far Better for the US Economy, Deficits and Income," Simon's recent column, "On 2016: We Are Better Off Today" and an in-depth analysis, "America Is Better Off and Safer Today". 

The US Is Better Off Today

Unemployment Rate – When President Obama came to office the unemployment rate 7.8%. Today it is 4.9%.

Jobs – During George W. Bush's Presidency, the American economy gained 135,000 jobs a year. Under President Obama it has been more than 1.3m a year.

Incomes – After dramatic increases during the Clinton Presidency, incomes fell under President Bush. Incomes have once again risen under President Obama, and preliminary 2016 data suggest that median income for American families will be the highest in recorded history at the close of 2016.

Uninsured Rate – The rate of those without health insurance has dramatically declined in the Obama years and now stands at the lowest level ever recorded, 8.6%. At least 20 million Americans have gained insurance in recent years.

Annual Deficit – When President Obama came to office the annual deficit was $1.4 trillion. Today it is $616 billion.

Stock Market – When President Obama came to office the Dow was at 7,494. Today it is around 18,000 and is repeatedly reaching record highs.

Americans Are Safer Today

The question of “are we safer” is a bit harder to get at than the question of “are we better off.” We choose to look measures that have been raised by Donald Trump himself this year (often erroneously). We fully acknowledge that there may be other legitimate data sets that could be added to this section to help paint a fuller picture.

Two things stood out in the section: by most measures, the Obama Presidency has experienced the lowest levels of crime and violence ever recorded; the large flows of undocumented immigrants into the US we witnessed during the Bush Presidency has not been replicated in the Obama years, and there are now fewer undocumented/unauthorized immigrants in the US than there were in 2008.

Crime Rate – During the Bush Presidency, the violent crime rate was 476 violent crimes per 100,000 people (average of each year). During Obama's Presidency the violent crime rate has been 387 incidents per 100,000 people.

Americans Killed By Terrorists – During the Bush Presidency, 3006 Americans were killed by terrorists, an average of 376 deaths per year. During the Obama Presidency, 91 Americans have been killed by terrorists, an average of 12 per year.

Police Killed In the Line of Duty – During the Bush Presidency, 437 police officers were killed in the line of duty, an average of 55 per year. During the Obama Presidency, 344 police officers have been killed in the line of duty, an average of 49 per year. The Obama Presidency has seen the fewest police officers killed on duty during any Presidency since records began to be kept in the early 1960s.

Flow of Unauthorized Immigrants into US – During the Bush Presidency, the US gained an average 400,000 net new unauthorized immigrants each year. During the Obama Presidency, the average yearly rate is below zero, as there are fewer unauthorized immigrants in the country today than when President Obama took office.

 

Trump Is Wrong: America Is Better Off and Safer Today

Knowing that Donald Trump will assert that the US is both less safe and less well off after 7 plus years of President Obama, we send along a quick report showing, of course, the opposite.

In the report attached, we found that:

American Is Better Off – the unemployment rate and annual deficits are lower, the stock market is at a record high, and incomes for American are higher today than when Obama came to office.

Americans See Things Getting Better – polling shows that Americans on the whole believe the economy is good and improving, and that trade benefits the nation.

America Is Safer – rates of violent crime, Americans killed by terrorists and the flow of undocumented immigrants into the US are far lower today than they were during the Bush Presidency.

 

Simon on "How to Debate Trump"

Our friends at Democracy Journal asked 18 of their contributors and allies to share their thoughts on the best way for Hillary Clinton to approach Donald Trump in their first debate. It is a thoughful feature, and well worth your time. Here is Simon's submission: 

"Primary job in this first debate is to focus on telling your story. Make your case. Folks have their doubts about Trump, but they need to feel better about you. Smile, have fun, be optimistic and upbeat, talk about how great and good the country is, and how much better it can be.

Some time spent on political reform, how Washington itself will change during your tenure, would be welcome. And when he goes low, you go high. Do everything you can to ignore him, staying relentlessly focused on the people watching at home. He craves attention. Don’t give it to him."

Report: In A New Global Age, Democrats Have Been Far Better for the US Economy, Deficits and Incomes

Overview – This report looks at the economic performance of the two American political parties when in the White House since the end of the Cold War.  You can find the full report below, as an attachment. 

We use 1989 as a starting point for comparison because when it comes to the American and global economies, the collapse of Communism and the non-aligned movement ushered in a new, truly global economic era, one very different from the one that came before. It is thus fair to see how the two parties have adapted to the enormous changes this new era has offered, and whether their policies have helped America prosper or struggle as we and the world changed.

As you will see from the following analysis, the contrast between the performance of the Democrats and Republicans in this new economic era is stark: 2 GOP Presidencies brought recessions, job loss, higher annual deficits, and struggle for workers; the 2 Democratic Presidencies brought recovery and growth, job and income gains, and lower annual deficits.

Based on these findings it is fair to assert that over the past generation the Democratic Party has been far more effective at crafting effective responses to a new economic era than the Republican Party. This case is bolstered, of course, when recalling the GOP’s spirited predictions of economic calamity when opposing both the 1993 Clinton economic plan and budget and the 2009/2010 Obama stimulus and “job-killing” Affordable Care Act.

The Republicans have gotten it wrong now in four consecutive Presidencies.

While it will not be the subject of this short report, our findings raise questions about whether the characterizations of the US economy as one not producing income and wage gains either over 40 years or over the past 15 years are accurate. It would appear that a more accurate description of the US economy in recent years is that with smart policies, Americans can prosper even in a more challenging and competitive global age.

Key Findings From The Report:

Job Growth: Over the Clinton and Obama Presidencies, more than 30m new net jobs were created. In contrast, during the two Bush Presidencies, approximately 3.5m jobs were created.

GDP Growth: Both Democratic Presidents saw the GDP rate rise during their Presidencies. The first President Bush saw GDP hold steady during his tenure. The second President Bush saw GDP decline.

Unemployment Rate: Both Democratic presidents saw more than a 3% point decrease in the unemployment rate during their terms. The Bushes saw increases in the unemployment rate by more than 2% and 3% points respectively.

Income: Both Bush Presidencies saw Americans experience decline in their median income, while during the Presidencies of Presidents Obama and Clinton Americans experienced gains. The newly reported 2015 increase in median income of almost $3,000 is the largest ever recorded since statistics began being kept in 1967.

Deficits: Both Democratic presidents saw dramatic improvements in the annual deficit during their tenures, with Clinton turning large structural deficits into annual surpluses and Obama cutting the annual deficit he inherited by one half. Both Bushes saw increases in the annual deficit on their watches, with the second President Bush seeing a more than ten-fold increase in the annual deficit during his presidency, one of the greatest explosions of debt in US history.

Public Opinion About the US Economy: Survey after survey finds Americans believing that things are far better, and improving. According to one new report, the President’s job approval on the economy stands at its highest mark since 2009. A new report from Gallup finds fully 80% of Americans are satisfied with their current standard of living.

Healthcare: The uninsured rate has plummeted, while the growth of health care costs – a significant driver of the US budget deficit – has slowed. Slower cost growth and healthier Americans are good for the American economy, businesses and the nation as a whole.

Energy: President Obama’s “all of the above” approach has a rousing success for the nation, increasing domestic production, lowering energy costs for American businesses, lessening our dependence on foreign sources of energy while giving the US a leg up on the new energy technologies of the future.

Again, you can find the full report, below, complete with lots of charts and graphs. Enjoy. 

NDN in the News: Print/Digital Media Roundup

Simon's analysis has been recently featured in several national and international media outlets. Be sure to check out full articles by clicking on the links. (Updated on Wednesday 5/10/17)

Media Appearance and Citations

Simon Rosenberg weighs in on Comey firing, Fernand Amandi, Amandi on Air, Newsradio WIOD, 5/10/17.

'Disarray' Is Preface to Power for Democrats, Francis Wilkinson, Bloomberg View, 4/24/17.

Democrats begin to wonder: When do we win? Gabriel Debenedetti, Politico, 4/19/17.

Obama said there was never a better time to be alive. Trump thinks a 'nasty' world offers nothing but problems, David Nakamura, The Washington Post, 4/13/17.

Ethics Watchdog Pushes Back on White House View of Rules, Kate Ackley, Roll Call, 3/9/17.

Trump's Budget Proposal Threatens Democratic and Republican Ambitions, Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic, 2/28/17.

Happy Hour Roundup, Paul Waldman, The Washington Post, 2/21/17.

The Democrats' Immigration Party, Thomas Edsall, The New York Times, 2/16/17.

The GOP's silencing of Elizabeth Warren is a brutal reality check for Democrats, Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 2/8/17.

Trump vowed, "I alone can fix it." But he discovers power has limits, Karen Tumulty and David Nakamura, The Washington Post, 2/6/17.

Frenetic beginnings of Trump presidency has Democrats, Republicans fumbling to respond, Adam Smith, Tampa Bay Times, 2/2/17.

DNC candidates spend big on chair's race, Daniel Strauss, Politico, 1/27/17.

As Obama accomplished policy goals, his party floundered, Lisa Lerer, Associated Press, 12/24/16.

Democrats Hope Trump's Cabinet Picks Will Stand in Their Own Way, Alex Seitz-Wald, NBC News, 12/11/16.

Don't get distracted. Trump and Republicans are set to inflict radical, disruptive change, Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 12/2/16. 

Democrats Should Dump Pelosi, Abandon Ellison for DNC, A.B. Stoddard, Real Clear Politics, 11/21/16.

How the Left Created Trump, Rob Hoffman, Politico Magazine, 11/20/16.

Democrats Over-Learning the Lessons of Trump's Victory, Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 11/17/16.

What has gone wrong for the Democratic Party, BBC Newshour, 11/15/16.

Democrats' First Big Decision Since the Election: Choosing a New Leader, Sam Frizell, TIME, 11/14/16.

Democrats Hoping 'Trump Effect' Would Drive Latino Turnout Neglected Engagement Work, Roque Planas, Huffington Post, 11/12/16.

Fight erupts among Democrats for control of party in crisis, Gabriel Debenedetti, Politico, 11/11/16.

Donald Trump in charge: The considerable clout of the president-elect, Susan Page, USA Today, 11/10/16.

Shocked Democrats look to next generation of party leaders for relief, Carla Marinucci, Politico, 11/9/16.

Democratic Party in Crisis, Gabriel Debenedetti, Politico, 11/9/16.

"Melania Turmp, through a lawyer, details immigration history," Ben Schreckinger and Gabriel Debenedetti, Politico, 9/14/16.

"How Donald Trump Lost His Mojo," Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 9/6/16.

"Stop getting played by Trump's scam job on immigration," Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 8/30/16.

"Trump's new ad inadvertently reveals the core absurdity of his whole campaign," Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 8/19/16.

"Convention revealed what really drives Hillary," Roger Simon, Chicago Sun Times, 7/29/16

"In tight Obama-Clinton alliance, the merging of two political machines," Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post, 7/26/16.

"On Day One, Democrats ruthlessly exposed a core Trump weakness," Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 7/26/16.

"End the anti-democratic superdelegate system," Joe Trippi and Simon Rosenberg, Philly.com, 7/23/16.

"Can the Trumpster Fire Be Contained," Robert Schlesinger, US News & World Report, 7/8/16.

"Paul Ryan Among the Ruins," Francis Wilkinson, Bloomberg, 6/30/18.

"GOP shifting to become the anti-trade party," Nicholas Riccardi, Associated Press, 6/29/16.

"A brutal week for Obama and his liberal vision of an interconnected world," Greg Jaffe and David Nakamura, The Washington Post, 6/25/16.

"Clinton's hard-won nomination comes after learning the lessons of 2008," Sabrina Siddiqui, The Guardian, 6/7/16.

"A Primary That Pitted Democrats Against Independents," Ronald Brownstein, The Atlantic, 6/6/15.

"Sanders sticks it to the Democratic Party," Daniel Strauss, Politico, 5/17/16.

"Clinton faces conundrum as Trump shoots from the hip," Demetri Sevastopulo and Sam Fleming, Financial Times, 5/10/16.

"The GOP awakens to a Trump nightmare come true," Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 5/4/16.

"Can Hill thrill after you've felt the Bern," Courtney Weaver and Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times, 4/28/16.

"Will young Sanders backers stay and steer the Democrats leftward," John Wildermuth and Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/28/18.

"Obama, who once stood as party outsider, now works to strengthen Democrats," Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post, 4/25/16.

"Supreme Court showdown to begin over Obama's moves to block deporation," David Nakamura, The Washington Post, 4/17/16.

"Here's one way the Clinton-Sanders brawl could end well," Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 4/11/16.

"Bernie surges toward New York showdown," Gabriel Debenedetti, Politico, 4/6/16.

"For Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, a Debate Over More Debates Brews," Colleen McCain Nelson, The Wall Street Journal, 3/25/16.

"Sander scrambles to keep pace with Clinton," Gabriel Debenedetti, Politico, 3/23/16.

"Why Sanders Trails Clinton Among Minority Voters," Noam Schieber, The New York Times, 3/21/16.

"The Great Divide: Clinton, Sanders, and the future of the Democratic Party," Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker, March 21, 2016 Issue

"Why trade matters in the Rust Belt," Alex Seitz-Wald, MSNBC, 3/12/16.

"Trump's Path to Victory: Both Parties' Working-Class Whites," Nicholas Riccardi, Associated Press, 3/7/16.

"Democrats are taking the Trump threat very, very seriously. They're right," Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 3/1/16.

"Pay close attention to what Chris Christie just said about Trump, Democrats," Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 2/26/16.

"Obama's plan to visit Cuba is reminiscent of opening to Burma," David Nakamura, The Washington Post, 2/18/16.

"Hillary's debate desire: DNC rolls over now that she wants more Bernie bashing," Howard Kurtz, Fox News, 2/12/16.

"Bernie Sanders has already succeeded in a huge way (even if he loses)," Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 2/11/16

"Democrats to Clinton: Fix your messaging," Gabriel Debenedetti, Politico, 2/10/16.

"Hillary Clinton's Recurring Struggle to Connect With Young Voters," Ronald Brownstein, The Atlantic, 2/4/16.

"Trade deal to be signed, but presidential politics could doom passage," Doug Palmer, Politico, 2/3/16.

"Clinton may have won Iowa, but she's got a lot of problems," Joe Garofoli, San Franscisco Chronicle, 2/2/16.

"America's Agitator: Donald Trump Is the World's Most Dangerous Man," Markus Feldenkirchen, Veit Medick, and Holger Stark, Der Spiegel, 2/1/16.

"MSNBC, NH newspaper to hold unsanctioned Dem debate," Ben Kamisar and Rebecca Savransky, The Hill, 1/26/16.

"Sanders battle with DNC overshadows Dem Debate," Ben Kamisar, The Hill, 12/19/15.

"The 'astounding' levels of campaign ads are just getting started," Nik DeCosta-Kipa, Boston.com, 11/17/15.

"So far, the Republican debates are way more popular than the Democratic debates," Alving Chang, Vox, 11/16/15.

"CBS Democratic debate draws lowest ratings," Hadas Gold, Politico, 11/15/15.

"Saturday nights with Hillary, Bernie and Martin," Hadas Gold, Politico, 11/13/15. 

"Democrats Eye More National Events As Anger Over Debate Schedule Grows," Sam Frizell, TIME, 10/16/15.

Voting Machines As Critical Democracy Infrastructure

Our friends at the Open Source Election Technology Foundation (OSET) penned this thoughtful piece in The Hill as a response to the news reports of foreign interference in our elections process. 

Some key passages:

"Part of the problem is that by design, our nation’s voting infrastructure is a balkanized system comprised of a small number of vendors’ machinery, combined with a variety of ways of casting and counting ballots. While a large-scale national attack is highly unlikely, such would be unnecessary to derail a general election. In fact, it only requires a targeted attack of a few machines in a key county of a swing State."

"While candidates on the left and the right use the new four-letter word “rigged” and call for election observers, we need to understand that elections officials work hard to make sure the charges of people voting multiple times and other illegal activity doesn’t occur. There are straightforward, low-tech things we can do today to improve the integrity of our elections."

"Longer term, we need careful consideration of what it would mean to designate America’s voting systems as “critical (democracy) infrastructure.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security cannot do this in a vacuum. They must proactively collaborate with States’ election professionals, and engage with all relevant parties to ensure a long-term sustainable and scalable approach."

"And digital innovation must be a part of that discussion, because the casting and counting of 120 million+ ballots in time for orderly transfer of Presidential powers can no longer be done in time by hand. And we need to think through the continuing challenges of our fellow Americans needing to cast ballots remotely, especially our military from overseas. Meager and finite budgets are forcing vulnerabilities into the systems — emailing or uploading a cast ballot is not secure." 

You can learn more about OSET and the organization's great work here.

Key Passages from Trump Immigration Speech

On Wednesday August 31st Donald Trump gave his highly anticipated immigration speech in Arizona after returning from a trip to Mexico with President Enrique Peña Nieo.  Several passages from the speech are critical to understanding what Trump actually means and has proposed as future US immigration policy.  We have compiled the passages we believe demand closer scrutiny.

Key Passages from Trump Immigration Speech 

Passage One

“For those here today illegally who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and only one route: to return home and apply for re-entry under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined above. Those who have left to seek entry under this new system will not be awarded surplus visas, but will have to enter under the immigration caps or limits that will be established.

We will break the cycle of amnesty and illegal immigration. There will be no amnesty. 

Our message to the world will be this: you cannot obtain legal status, or become a citizen of the United States, by illegally entering our country.....

......In a Trump administration all immigration laws will be enforced, will be enforced. As with any law enforcement activity, we will set priorities. But unlike this administration, no one will be immune or exempt from enforcement. And ICE and Border Patrol officers will be allowed to do their jobs the way their jobs are supposed to be done.

Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation. That is what it means to have laws and to have a country. Otherwise we don’t have a country."

Passage Two

"Number Three: Zero tolerance for criminal aliens.

According to federal data, there are at least 2 million criminal aliens now inside the country. We will begin moving them out day one, in joint operations with local, state and federal law enforcement.

Beyond the 2 million, there are a vast number of additional criminal illegal immigrants who have fled or evaded justice. But their days on the run will soon be over. They go out, and they go out fast.

Moving forward, we will issue detainers for all illegal immigrants who are arrested for any crime whatsoever, and they will be placed into immediate removal proceedings. We will terminate the Obama Administration’s deadly non-enforcement policies that allow thousands of criminal aliens to freely roam our streets.

Since 2013 alone, the Obama Administration has allowed 300,000 criminal aliens to return back into U.S. communities – these are individuals encountered or identified by ICE but who not detained or processed for deportation.

My plan also includes cooperating closely with local jurisdictions to remove criminal aliens.

We will restore the highly successful Secure Communities program. We will expand and revitalize the popular 287(g) partnerships, which will help to identify hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens in local jails. Both of these programs have been recklessly gutted by this Administration. This is yet one more area where we are headed in a totally opposite direction.

On my first day in office, I am also going to ask Congress to pass “Kate’s Law” – named for Kate Steinle – to ensure that criminal aliens convicted of illegal reentry face receive strong mandatory minimum sentences.

Another reform I am proposing is the passage of legislation named for Detective Michael Davis and Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver, two law enforcement officers recently killed by a previously-deported illegal immigrant. The Davis-Oliver bill will enhance cooperation with state and local authorities to ensure that criminal immigrants and terrorists are swiftly identified and removed.

We are going to triple the number of ICE deportation officers. Within ICE, I am going to create a new special Deportation Task Force, focused on identifying and removing quickly the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants in America who have evaded justice.

The local police know who every one of these criminals are. There’s no great mystery to it, they’ve put up with it for years. And now, finally, we will turn the tables and law enforcement will be allowed to clear up this dangerous and threatening mess.

We’re also going to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, and put more of them on the border, instead of behind desks. We will expand the number of Border Patrol Stations."

You can read Trump's full remarks here in a transcript from Politico.

NDN in Politico, SF Chronicle and WaPo on Trump/Immigration

NDN's Simon Rosenberg commented on Trump's trip to Mexico and his immigration speech in Arizona. You can read Simon's analysis in the following articles:

"Trump returns to his old standbys: Xenophobia, hate, lies, and yes, mass deportations," Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 9/1/16.

"TRUMP doubles down -- 'Angry reincarnation of Pete Wilson' -- DIAPER vouchers and cap-and-trade bills," Carla Marinucci and Andrew Weber, Politico, 9/1/16.

"After Mexico trip, Trump delivers tough talk on immigration," John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/31/16.

NDN Looking for A Few Convention Volunteers/On Site Staff

Friends,

The NDN team is looking for a few volunteers or young staff to work at our two events at the Convention on Tuesday July 26th. If you know folks who are interested they should contact Chris Murphy at NDN at cmurphy@ndn.org by COB Wednesday, July 20th. The gigs will be 2-3 hours long and be mostly check in at our public and private events. Please feel free to send this on to people who might be interested.

Many thanks! 

Best,

Chris

Backgrounder: The Trans-Pacific Partnership

As the debate on the President's trade agenda in Washington continues with discussions over TPP, we wanted to have one place to share all background resources for those who wish to learn more. We hope you find these reports and pieces to be helpful. (Updated on Friday 7/1/16)

Obama Administration Materials

 Noteworthy Op-Eds/Articles

 Other Useful Materials

 NDN Materials

NDN in the Press

Additional Important Websites

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