These Are The 9 Zero Hedge Charts Showing "Obama's Recovery" That Angered The Washington Post

Tyler Durden's picture

As regular readers know, one of our favorite chartpacks to show "Obama's recovery" is the one below, presented most recently just two days ago during Obama's now almost weekly televised sermon of how the economy is great and anyone who disagrees is "peddling fiction", which using simple Bloomerg data, summarize recent changes in key economic indicators including soaring federal debt and government dependency via food stamp use, surging healthcare costs and social inequality, plunging homeownership, income, and labor force participation, and - of course - driving it all, none of the president's or Congress' actions, but the Fed's balance sheet, something even major banks admit is better known as "printing money" - money that ends up blowing one after another asset bubble unable to finds its way into the broader economy - a stigma that is now gone in a world in which helicopter money is seriously considered by lunatics in power.

 

To be sure, the charts do not in any way imply that Obama started any of these disastrous trends (with a few exceptions); they do however make it very clear that more than 7 years under president Obama, these same trends have not changed.

This means that while Obama may have inherited a bad economy, contrary to the endless propaganda, the economy has only gotten worse. One needs only to go on a very short drive through any of the neighborhoods of Obama's native Chicago to get a clear realization of this sad fact (while wearing a bulletproof vest).

Then yesterday, we were pleasantly surprised to see that none other than Donald Trump used this very chart set to demonstrate a point, namely that "Obama's legacy is an absolute disaster", something we doubt many would disagree with.

However, one entity that would naturally be offended by nice simple charts which factually expose the failure behind both the propaganda and Obama's attempt to jump start the economy, was Jeff Bezos' Washington Post, an outlet which has had a long-running vendetta with Donald Trump, and, apparently, the facts.

We were beyond amused when the WaPo's decided to "fact check" these charts which are, well, based on facts sourced by the very government the WaPo so strenuously defends.

The purchased by Jeff Bezos website writes that "we have generally learned that there's not much utility in fact-checking every tweet that springs to life from the imagination of Donald Trump or which receives his blessing via retweet. Tweets containing factual errors are not as plentiful as those containing exclamation points or disparagement, but they aren't exactly rare. But on Thursday evening, Trump retweeted this one, and we -- well, I -- couldn't let it stand."

As author Philip Bump, who apparently has never encountered a Bloomberg terminal before, says, "there are nine little graphs embedded in there, with hard-to-read axes and unclear provenance for the numbers, all of which are meant to bolster one argument: Barack Obama's presidency has been bad."

Well, Philip, you can interpret the "bolstering" in any way you want, what you can't however interpret are the facts - which is what those charts show. Of course, everyone can make up their own conclusion about what the ongoing economic deterioration means: one can even say that almost 8 years later, it is still "Bush's fault."

Alas, we were naive to assume that the WaPo can't "fact-check" charts based on facts. Because that is precisely what they did. And in doing so it provided much amusement. Case in point, the author's "analysis" of the Fed's money printing by way of proxy of its balance sheet, something this "fact-checker" apparently couldn't figure out. Instead, he said the following.

Money printing

 

This one is probably my favorite. I'm not going to get into the politics of the printing of money and why certain quarters object to the practice. Instead, I'm going to try to figure out what the 4 million figures on the vertical axis indicate -- and what the numbers along the bottom are.

 

The Federal Reserve (naturally) has lots of data on money in circulation, including this chart of print orders by year since 1995. It doesn't match the graph Trump tweeted.

 

 

Data.gov (a great resource, by the way) has the number of notes produced each year from 1980 to 2012 in various denominations. Combined, those numbers don't result in 4-million-plus of anything -- they add up to far more. The Department of the Treasury indicates that it produced 24.8 million notes a day in 2014.

 

So what is this graph? No idea. If you have an idea, let me know.

And there you have it: a WaPo fact-checker who is unable to immediately grasp that the "4 million figures on the vertical axis" have nothing to do with volume or value of notes printed, and everything to do with the size Fed's balance sheet.

Oh, and Philip, it's not million... it's trillion with a T, feel free to "fact check" for yourself here.

Needless to say, realizing we are working with a "fact-checker" who is incapable of grasping out of context the simplest thing about the entire so-called recovery, namely that the S&P 500, pardon the "economy" has been driven not by the president or by Congress, but by the Fed and its balance sheet, something this "expert" couldn't figure out on his own, we stopped reading there.

We are confident there are more pearls in the full article below; we hope readers are entertained.

* * *

Here is WaPo with "Donald Trump tweeted out 9 graphs proving that Obama failed. We fact-checked them." If we had a standalone "tragicomedy" section, it would be published in it.

* * *

We have generally learned that there's not much utility in fact-checking every tweet that springs to life from the imagination of Donald Trump or which receives his blessing via retweet. Tweets containing factual errors are not as plentiful as those containing exclamation points or disparagement, but they aren't exactly rare.

 

But on Thursday evening, Trump retweeted this one, and we -- well, I -- couldn't let it stand.

 

"@TaylorEdwards99: THIS IS @POTUS'S LEGACY! AN ABSOLUTE DISASTER!!! WE NEED @realDonaldTrump NOW!! #MAGA #TRUMP2016 pic.twitter.com/lBgZJg0zd1

There are nine little graphs embedded in there, with hard-to-read axes and unclear provenance for the numbers, all of which are meant to bolster one argument: Barack Obama's presidency has been bad.

Look, for example, at the graph at upper left, "Student Loans." It's almost impossible to make out the labels on the horizontal axis, but it's clear that there simply aren't any until the graph starts to rise.

 

Which is ... a bit deceptive. So what I figured I'd do is try my best to recreate these charts with verifiable numbers, to see how this argument stacks up.

 

Student Loans

 

The vertical axis on this one tells us what we're looking at. It passed "1.000" at some point recently; the third labeled section of the graph appears to demarcate 2010-2014. (The others, I think: 2000-2004 and 2005-2009.) If it passed 1 recently, then we're talking about student loan debt, in dollars.

 

The Federal Reserve has data going back to the first quarter of 2006, allowing us to create a slightly more legible version of the graph

 

(We've highlighted 2009 on our charts to emphasize the point at which Obama took over.)

 

On an old page from 2012, we find the trend extending back a bit more. The trend, then, isn't a big spike. It's a steady increase since about 2006 -- before Obama was president.

 

Food Stamps

 

Here, the horizontal axis extends a bit further back, still in those odd five-year chunks. What's being tallied here is not "food stamps," which makes no sense, but average participation over the course of each year, in millions. In other words, the average of how many people used the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) each month of the year.

 

That data is available from the USDA.

 

 

There was an uptick -- one that began in 2008, which we'll get to. But notice that the person who made this chart cut it off before the number started to (slowly) drop back down.

 

There's a theme you'll see present itself here: That Obama took office right after the recession began. As a result, he appears to perform poorly on some metrics, like this one. But that's a natural result of the financial crisis that predated him: more people relied on supplemental assistance.

 

Federal Debt

...And the government took on more debt.

 

Notice that on the debt chart in the original, the horizontal axis has changed. No longer does it start in the 1980s -- instead, it goes back to 1950. Yes, debt increased under Obama by a large amount. But, again, that increase began under his predecessor, George W. Bush, as an effort to address the financial crisis.

 

What's more, comparing 1950 to 2000 makes little sense, since the value of the dollar wasn't equivalent at that point. But compared to the other problems here, that's relatively minor.

 

Money printing

 

This one is probably my favorite. I'm not going to get into the politics of the printing of money and why certain quarters object to the practice. Instead, I'm going to try to figure out what the 4 million figures on the vertical axis indicate -- and what the numbers along the bottom are.

 

The Federal Reserve (naturally) has lots of data on money in circulation, including this chart of print orders by year since 1995. It doesn't match the graph Trump tweeted.

 

Data.gov (a great resource, by the way) has the number of notes produced each year from 1980 to 2012 in various denominations. Combined, those numbers don't result in 4-million-plus of anything -- they add up to far more. The Department of the Treasury indicates that it produced 24.8 million notes a day in 2014.

 

So what is this graph? No idea. If you have an idea, let me know.

 

Health-care costs

 

You've probably noticed by now that the pink boxes in the Trump tweet generally approximate the period during which Obama was president. It varies a bit, but that's generally the case.

 

So you'll notice on this one that the creator of the charts cheats, making most of the graph a period during which Obama was president. It starts in 2007 and goes through 2015.

 

"Healthcare costs" is vague. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a tool that allows you to see expenditures under a number of scenarios since 1960 -- but none of its charts appear to sync with the one Trump tweeted.

 

The Federal Reserve, as always, has some data. In this case, it's health expenditures per capita. They've gone up steadily, at least through 2012. The Kaiser data shows about the same thing.

 

 

What's Trump's chart? I'm not sure. Notice that the vertical axis on it begins at 105, not zero, making the amount of change seem exaggerated. It's possible that the figures are percentages, indicating how much costs were relative to the prior year. But while 2011 costs were 103.8 percent of 2010 costs in the Fed's data, 2012's was only 104.2 percent of 2011's. So who knows.

 

Labor force participation

 

On this one, the creator of the graphs cheats again, showing a section of the vertical axis. But, for once, it's clear what's being talked about.

 

To calculate unemployment, the government looks at how many people in the labor force have jobs. People not in the labor force don't come into play in that calculation, and so if people drop out of the labor force -- stop looking for work or retire, for example -- the unemployment rate can fall faster, because the number of unemployed people in the labor force will have fallen. (That's precisely why the unemployment rate fell in May.)

 

This has been used as a counterpoint to Obama's trumpeting of the plunging jobless rate.

 

And it's accurate. Labor force participation has fallen since Obama took office.

 

 

Of course, one could also show how many new jobs were added, or the state of the unemployment rate. But given that this is, at last, accurate and comprehensible, we'll let it slide.

 

Black inequality

 

This is an interesting one. The creator of these graphs uses calculations of what's known as the "Gini coefficient" for black Americans, data that is again available from the Federal Reserve. What we're talking about here isn't inequality in the sense of racial justice; it's income inequality.

 

The Gini coefficient estimates how far from a perfectly equitable distribution of income a group happens to be. The formulas for this are complex, so it's nice that the Fed has already taken care of it.

Here are the coefficients for both whites and blacks since 2002, when the Fed data begins.

 

 

Notice that the variation is much more subtle in this chart. That's because the vertical axis shows a wider range. Yes, income inequality increased, but not that dramatically.

 

Median family income

 

This one is refreshingly straightforward. Here's what the Fed has to say.

 

 

This doesn't match the Trump chart, mind you, and it's not clear why. Oh well. Here's the Fed's data, if you want to look for yourself.

 

Home ownership

 

Another straightforward one! This is the percentage of houses that are owner-occupied.

 

Again, the rate has declined under Obama -- a decline that began under Bush.

 

 

Why? In part because it was home ownership problems that precipitated the recession. Bad home loans and the rapid expansion of home ownership played key roles in creating the conditions that led to the economic collapse. As a result, home ownership rates dropped.

 

But this graph, at least, is fairly accurate, if a bit deceptive in where it places the blame. That's not true for many of the others.

 

So why did Trump tweet it? Because, as has often been the case, the details are less important than the political point. If a bunch of graphs claim to show how Obama has been bad for the economy, boom. Retweet. If some jerk goes through each one and notes why it's wrong or skewed, that doesn't detract from the main point, which is that Obama is bad. If challenged, Trump can simply blame the originator of what he retweeted, which he has often proven willing to do.

 

And that, in a nutshell, is why fact-checking things like this is so often thankless.

* * * 

We just want to add one small comment on the author's conclusion (we skimmed that part). It's "thankless", Philip, because you just spent hours "checking" what are charts of facts, data that can be pulled up in seconds by anyone who has a bloomberg, and in minutes by everyone else.

What you ignored to say is that what you did is not actual "fact-checking" - because numbers are always and only numbers - but an attempt to manipulate your audience into deriving a specific set of conclusions precleared by the WaPo editorial board. This is why when we first created the chart, we let it speak for itself without any clarification - as none is needed - instead of having to "explain" it in a 1,000 word essay. Unlike you, we think our readers are smart enough to draw their own conclusions when presented with the facts. On the other hand, the fact that you provide "value" by wasting your time in a desperate attempt to brainwash your readers into believing your "fact-checked" conclusion probably explains why the once mighty Washington Post, which many, many years ago a truly powerful media outlet, and made presidents tremble and/or resign, was recently acquired for a fraction of the value of a tabloid like Buzzfeed.

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Anti-kleptocrat's picture

... change you can believe in ... 0bamas incompetence has no bounds, and neither does that of his failed administration ... 

Troy Ounce's picture

 

 

Hey Washington Post!

 

Fuck you!

Haus-Targaryen's picture

This is why I always come back here.  Because ZH presents financial data, which the mouth-breathing left can do nothing with.  

Fuck WaPa.  Viva la zerohedge! 

knukles's picture

Simple Math = True Inconvenient Truth to a Progressive

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Hey Philip Bump -- fact check this you cunt.

Never One Roach's picture

"If you want to keep your doctor, you can keep your doctor. I promise!"

 

 

hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

 

I wish the Washington Post would fact check this chart...

 

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-14/one-chart-proves-obamacare-real...

 

 

Premiums and health insurer stocks and profits are soaring since Obamacare!

 

Yet BCBS and the other insurance companies' fees to doctors, for actually providing healthcare to patients, keep going down.  Now, they are roughly equivalent to Medicare on procedures, 80% of Medicare for office visits, and 50% of Medicare for diagnostic tests.  Yes, doctors make more treating a governemnt patient than you with your private insurance.  Doctors are making less per patient, so they need to treat more patients to make ends meet, so you are going to wait to be treated and get less time with the doctor.

The mandate that we buy health insurance is fascism.

 

We don't have a health care problem in the USA.  We have a health insurance problem.

 

The only solution is disintermediation.  Get rid of the middlemen.

 

How?

 

Save money for unforseen expenses.  

 

Be healthy.   Eat well and exercise. 

 

If you do get sick or injured, then negotiate directly with your physician and hospital to pay them the Medicare prices.  You will be billed a higher price, but they can and do agree to accept the Medicare allowable.  Don't forget to negotiate 50% off on secondary procedures and free post-op visits.

 

Pay cash to the actual provider of the service. 

 

Pay the fucking Obamacare penalty to the government, and keep voting your fucking "elected representatives" out of office until they get rid of the fucking Obamacare penalty.

Shocker's picture

The charts pretty much say it all.

This economy is in rough shape - http://www.dailyjobcuts.com

-

hedgeless_horseman's picture


I also wish the Washington Post would ask candidates these five questions and publish their responses.

 

1)  Would or could you ever support amending The Bill of Rights?  If so, which, how, and why?

 

 

2)  Do you consider the recent actions of the United States military in Ukraine, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, etc., to be violations of the War Powers Act?  If no, then why not?  If yes, then what actions would you take on this issue, if elected?

 

 

3)  What is your position on the Federal Reserve Banks being responsible for regulating and supervising the very same banks that own them?

 

 

4)  What are the similarities between unlimited campaign contributions and bribery, and what actions would you take to reform campaign finance, if elected?

 

 

5)  The invasion and ongoing 14-year occupation of Afghanistan represents the longest war in American history. Explain your personal understanding of why, exactly, US soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are still killing Afghani men, women, and children in their homes, schools, fields, shops, and hospitals? 

 

 

Sadly...

 

...the media used to be known as The Fourth Estate.  However, today, I see no evidence of this.  I only see the media as tools of propagandists and sellers of advertising and advertisers' products and services.  Nobody in the mass media appears ready, willing, or able to ask our politicians any questions of substance.

 

 

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-24/nobody-ready-willing-or-able-as...

johngaltfla's picture

WaPo doesn't exactly hire the best and brightest. But they do hire the BEST propagandists!

novelator's picture
novelator (not verified) johngaltfla Jun 3, 2016 4:31 PM

Now, really.

 

How fucking hard is it to cut and paste?

 

If Bump's a BEST propagandist, that explains why Bezos wants to cut and run to Mars. Who wouldn't?

 

 

Not My Real Name's picture

Yet more proof that these "fact check" "services" provided by sites like the WaPo, CNN and other outlets is actually leftist propaganda designed to obfuscate the truth and keep the sheeple in line.

Fuck you, WaPo.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

WaPo is like that drunk guy at the party who passes out on the couch, and wakes up covered in vomit with cocks sharpied all over his face.

VinceFostersGhost's picture

 

 

WaPo doesn't exactly hire the best and brightest. But they do hire the BEST propagandists!

 

Only two questions of the WaPo employment application....

 

Do you know who Edward Bernays is?

 

Do you worship Edward Bernays?

 

Answer yes to both of those......you're in!

WarPony's picture

6)  What is your position on the Federal Reserve having a cost-plus contract and a monopoly to provide our money supply where they keep 6% of their profits and where the interest paid back to them by our Government is never borrowed into existence along with the original debt, and isn't it time to bring back a non-interest bearing legal tender like the greenback?

cheka's picture

six percent tax free dividend on paid in capital

profits are sent to treasury

so frbny profits are accidental

imagine if the thing was overthrown and repurposed to seek profit for the treasury

BOOM

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) hedgeless_horseman Jun 3, 2016 5:02 PM

As I've probably said here before, facts are to liberals like Kryptonite is to Superman.

Yukon Cornholius's picture

Facts, shmacts. You can explain anything with facts.

VinceFostersGhost's picture

 

 

Facts are racist!

 

It burns......it Berns!!!

11b40's picture

I would be curious as to what kind of weird human specimen down voted this comment from HH.  Obviously not a real American, but possibly a member of the MSM trolling the site.

legalize's picture

The media long ago stopped being the Fourth Estate and switched to being the Fifth Column.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAS98C0KCdY&t=8m17s

Where the hell is Karl Kolchak when you need him.

jeff montanye's picture

from fourth estate to fifth column.  excellent.

Dolar in a vortex's picture

A good group of questions, except I junked ya' for the last one.

 

Make it personal and avoid exposing your agenda.

You said: 5)  The invasion and ongoing 14-year occupation of Afghanistan represents the longest war in American history. Explain your personal understanding of why, exactly, US soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are still killing Afghani men, women, and children in their homes, schools, fields, shops, and hospitals?

 

IMO, you should have asked: 5)  The invasion and ongoing 14-year occupation of Afghanistan represents the longest war in American history. Explain your personal understanding of why, exactly, US soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are still losing limbs, sight, and life for people who undestand only the feudalism of izlum as a way of life?

peddling-fiction's picture

Yeah, we are all peddling fiction. /s

Escrava Isaura's picture

Article

MONEY PRINTING: Data.gov (a great resource, by the way) has the number of notes produced each year from 1980 to 2012 in various denominations. Combined, those numbers don't result in 4-million-plus of anything -- they add up to far more. The Department of the Treasury indicates that it produced 24.8 million notes a day in 2014.

 

That’s right. But you, the writer, forgot ONE thing OUT: Replacement and Destruction.

 

By The Federal Reserve Boarder: The estimated number of notes that Reserve Banks will destroy accounts for about 70 percent of the proposed FY 2016 print order and includes both unfit currency, as well as all old-designs of some denominations received from circulation.

https://www.federalreserve.gov/paymentsystems/coin_currency_orders.htm

 

Now on the Federal National Debt vis-à-vis Domestic Debt. I know, most here want to put government down. Some would like to exterminate government, if they could. But gee, guess what? Domestic debt ($41 trillion dollars) is twice larger than Federal debt. Making that way of a bigger problem, doesn't’ it?

 

http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/z1/current/accessible/l1.htm

 

All Risk No Reward's picture

Almost all money is lent into existence at interest. Until you understand that, you don't understand the mechanism by which debt-based money enslaves the masses.

VinceFostersGhost's picture

 

 

No dear.....the problem is socialism.

 

Got it?

caconhma's picture

Enough is enough.

It is the time to start boycott of Jeff Bezos's companies as well as all other socialist supporting enterprises.!

palmereldritch's picture

WaPo is factually way po.

Amaz off

VinceFostersGhost's picture

 

 

 

I just showed this to Leonardo da Vinci......he said.....that's pretty damn good!

 

Incorporating the charts was sheer genus...his words.

 

BTW.....Lenny says hi.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

"

Money printing

 

This one is probably my favorite. I'm not going to get into the politics of the printing of money and why certain quarters object to the practice. Instead, I'm going to try to figure out what the 4 million figures on the vertical axis indicate -- and what the numbers along the bottom are. "

 

Yes, its one of MY favorites too, you stupid fucking idiot.  You have no idea what the Feds balance sheet is.  It could be 4 million, 4 Billion, 4 TRILLION, or 400 GOOGLE, or INFINITY!!  Lets audit the Fed and find out shall we??  If you or I put a $100 bill on the photocopier, and print a whole bunch of them, and spend them, isn't that economic STIMULUS??  NO??  Go to Jail??  But THEY ( your bankster overlords) can print as much money as they need and want---and hand it out---THAT'S eCONomic stimulus??  Its ALL BULLSHIT!!  EVERY LAST BIT OF IT!!  TRUTH IS TREASON IN AN EMPIRE OF LIES!!---Ron Paul!!

DownWithYogaPants's picture

All I can say is keep repeating your transparent lies Washington Post.  Every time you do another bucket of voters switch to Trump.

HopefulCynical's picture

*waves "Hi" at Trump*

 

"Give 'em Hell, Donald!"

conscious being's picture

Give it up. Trumpo, guarenteed, will not save your ass.

Manthong's picture

“(while wearing a bulletproof vest)”

..and Kevlar helmet.

macholatte's picture

Where's the chart showing

White Inequality??

Escrava Isaura's picture

Who cares. It wouldn’t be worth the paper that it would be written on. It wouldn’t have any credibility. Not to me.

 

True Blue's picture

Nice to meet such an open and honestly bigoted racist.

PT's picture

I was just wondering how do they measure "black inequality"?  Is it simply black wages vs white wages?  Black unemployed vs white unemployed?  Black education vs white education?  Black truancy vs white truancy?  Black hours worked per dollar received vs white hours worked per dollar received?  Something else?

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Something else:  they just make SHIT UP!!

Escrava Isaura's picture

PT: I was just wondering how do they measure "black inequality"? 

 

Asian men are the highest paid workers in America.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/wkyeng.t02.htm

 

And by education:

http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm

 

Note: I don’t question the dollar amounts. They seem pretty reasonable, in general. However, the rate of unemployment I don’t trust them.

 

VinceFostersGhost's picture

 

 

how do they measure "black inequality"?

 

Same way they measure white privilege....

jeff montanye's picture

poor whites have definitely become relatively poorer versus the rich of any race over the last forty years or so and particularly during the obama administration.

cheech_wizard's picture

Have anything like that for the dental industry? My insurance is going to cover $1500, and I got a consultation this morning for what he wants to do. (On top of my insurance, an additional $2300 worth of work.)

Standard Disclaimer: $800 for a gum/tooth cleaning...no thanks, I'll skip that. I can get a cleaning at another dentist for $100. Pays to shop around.

 

OverTheHedge's picture

You might want to consider going abroad. Same money should get your dental work done, and a free holiday thrown in. A capped tooth in Greece is about €200.00, a filling around €50.00. Not saying having a chain-smoking Greek with extensive nose-hair rummaging about in your mouth is the most fun you might have on holiday, but it's a thought.