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10/04/2012 11:09 am ET Updated Dec 04, 2012

52 Reasons to Vote for Obama: #8, Prevented Another Great Depression

Whether you're PRObama, NObama, or still undecided, 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama gives you all the information you need to share with friends, debate with relatives and decide for yourself as we head toward one of the most important elections of our lifetime. I'll post a new reason in random order every Monday through Friday from now 'til the election.

Let's not forget what was happening when Barack Obama entered the White House:

In the twelve months prior to Obama's inauguration, 4.4 million jobs were lost, including 1.4 million jobs lost in the last two months alone of the Bush administration, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • That's nearly 23,000 jobs lost a day during the closing two months of 2008.
Our financial system was teetering on the verge of collapse.
  • Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Countrywide, Merrill Lynch, AIG, Washington Mutual and Wachovia collapsed or had to be rescued.
Wall Street fell into a free fall.
  • The Dow plummeted 3,433 points, or 29 percent, in less than five months.
The American auto industry was about to go under.
  • GM, Ford and Chrysler were nearly bankrupt.
Home foreclosures skyrocketed 225 percent in two years (2006-2008).
  • Foreclosure fillings hit three million in 2008.
Fourth-quarter 2008 GDP sank by 8.9 percent.
  • This was the worst quarterly contraction since the Great Depression.
American families' net worth was slashed by $11 trillion in one year (2008).
  • That's right: $11 trillion. That's equal to the economic output of Germany, Japan and the UK combined.

2012-08-23-Slaps.jpgTo prevent another Great Depression, Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act less than a month after being sworn into office. Since then, we've seen eleven consecutive quarters of GDP growth, and thirty straight months of private-sector job growth, for a total of 4.6 million new jobs over that period.

Princeton University's Alan Blinder and Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi estimate that without the financial interventions and the Recovery Act, we would have entered another depression -- there would have been 8.5 million fewer jobs in 2010, and GDP would have been about 6.5 percent lower. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Recovery Act saved as many as 3.5 million jobs.

Tax cuts represented the single largest element of the stimulus plan, and 95 percent of working Americans saw their taxes go down. The second-largest portion of the stimulus, just under a third, was funding that helped state governments avoid laying off teachers, firefighters and police officers; prevented states' budget gaps from growing wider; and delivered critical relief through extended unemployment insurance, health coverage and food assistance to those hit hardest by the recession.

The smallest element of the Recovery Act focused on rebuilding America's infrastructure, including the greatest investment in roads since the creation of the Interstate Highway System; construction projects at military bases, ports, bridges and tunnels; Superfund cleanups that were long overdue; improvement in aging rural water systems; upgrades to outdated mass transit and rail systems; and more.

To strengthen our financial system, hold Wall Street accountable and prevent the kind of financial meltdown that crippled the economy in 2008, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 that represented the toughest financial overhaul since the Great Depression.

To prevent the collapse of the auto industry, Obama extended emergency loans to GM and Chrysler. GM is now seeing record profits. The auto industry has added 230,000 jobs -- the most in a decade -- and GM and Chrysler have repaid their federal government loans. By Q3 2009, the economy was growing at a 2 percent rate instead of declining at a 9 percent rate as it had been previously.

"So in a remarkably short period of time, we were able to not just prevent a second Great Depression, but also to begin laying a stronger foundation" for growth, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in May 2012. As a result, the economy is more productive now than before the crisis, with significant gains in investment and exports. In fact, corporate profits are now at record highs, well above pre-crisis levels.

President Obama had to dig out from the greatest economic downturn facing any president since FDR, while simultaneously fighting two wars. At least Roosevelt had nearly nine years under his belt before having to serve as a wartime commander in chief.

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