Benen: Roosevelt Was Reelected With 17% Unemployment; “8%” Figure Unrealistic Comparison
The ongoing argument that a president can’t be elected with unemployment above 8% fails to take history into account. What happened in 2008 wasn’t just another recession, it was an implosion of the global financial system. Roosevelt wasn’t blamed for the Great Depression, any more than Obama should be blamed for what he inherited.
“The nation is still burdened by high unemployment four years after the disaster? Of course the nation is still burdened by high unemployment four years after the disaster. This recovery isn’t as robust as other modern recoveries? Of course this recovery isn’t as robust — other modern recoveries didn’t have as far to go to make up ground. (They also didn’t have mass public-sector layoffs undermining growth, along with the worst Congress ever.)
“As I explained a while back, no president since FDR has won with an unemployment rate this high because no president since FDR has had to govern at a time of a global economic crisis like the Great Depression or the Great Recession.
“To draw comparisons without this context is to take an incomplete look at the facts.”