The economy was President Barack Obama's No. 1 when he took office in January of 2009. And even though the economy is healing, it remains Job One.
"As any middle-class family will tell you, or anybody who's striving to get into the middle class, we are not yet where we need to be. And that's what we've got to focus on -- all the remaining work that needs to be done to strengthen this economy," Obama said Monday. "We need to grow faster. We need more good-paying jobs. We need more broad-based prosperity. We need more ladders of opportunity for people who are currently poor but want to get into the middle class."
But has Obama made the most effective and thoughtful economic choices he could've made during his terms? Guardian columnist Heidi Moore thinks he's getting bad economic advice:
After five years, the Obama Administration's stated intentions to improve the fortunes of the middle class, boost manufacturing, reduce income inequality, and promote the recovery of the economy have come up severely short...
Here's the litany of failure: the president has not pushed through any major stimulus bill since 2009, and most of that was pork-barrel junk. Manufacturing is weak and weakening; the employment gap between the rich and the poor is the widest on record; the economic recovery is actually more like an extended stagnation with 12 million people unemployed; the housing "recovery" will be stalled as long as incomes are low and house prices are high; and quantitative easing as a stimulus, while a heroic independent effort by the Federal Reserve, is past its due date and is no longer improving the country's fortunes beyond the stock market.
We'll take a look at the Obama Administration's economic policies since he took office: what has worked, what hasn't and what changes might be around the corner?