What Was So Bad About the Last 8 Years?

A lot has been said about the “elite” – both liberal and conservative – being out of touch with the concerns of a huge swath of America. And I get it. Most people from Washington don’t spend too much time in rural Kentucky or Ohio, or factory towns that have been devastated by job losses. They think that growth from technology and globalization has been great, even though it hasn’t been great for EVERYONE.

But what I don’t understand is the LEVEL of just OUTRAGE, this sense that the country is totally broken and headed in the wrong direction. Objectively speaking, for most of the country, things have never been better, at least economically. The economy has grown steadily for the past 7 years. In that time we’ve created 14 million new jobs, without a single month of net job loss since early 2010. The unemployment rate is at 4.9% – half what it was when Obama took office. 20 million more people have health insurance. We have more gadgets and technology that make our lives easier than ever before.

Yet when you hear people talk about it, we’re going to hell in a hand basket. Fewer people than ever before in human history are being killed by war or terrorism, but many people are afraid of war and terrorism. Crime is at 20-year low, but many people think law and order is breaking down in our cities. Yes, a lot of working class white people have not shared in the fruits of recent economic growth (for the last 16 years, not just the last 8), and they have a right to be angry with the way things are going. But “white working class” voters are only perhaps half of Trump’s voters overall – what about the rest?

Maybe it’s because I’ve been in Africa for the last 5 years, so it’s easier to notice how big the improvements in America have been each time I come back to visit (sort of like how you don’t notice how a friend’s looks have changed if you see them regularly, but you can really notice differences when you go years without seeing them).

But I still don’t get it. Things seem to be pretty good for most people, so why change them?

So if you are a voter who has felt outraged over how things have gone for the last 8 years and felt like we needed a change so badly that you were willing to gamble on Trump, leave a comment explaining your thoughts. I am eager to hear from you!

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nikita Kennedy on November 11, 2016 at 1:12 am

    Andrew, we can’t get enough of your blog posts. This one was so perfectly on point. My dad and I loved it and we can’t agree more. I wish more people could understand this.
    We miss you and hope to see you during the holidays!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Rodney Brown on November 12, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Obama lied about his health bill-said we could keep our own doctors, that costs would be less, and he did not even know what was in the bill. He was going to bring the parties closer, but did not include even one Republican in the writing of the bill, bribed three states with money or exemptions from it if they would support it, gave exemptions to congress and (later) their staff, exempted many labor unions and other companies (look it up). Nearly everyone, including all republicans and even some democrats and most citizens, knew the cost would be uncontrollable and would result in its failure (as it is now).

    He also lied about the agreement with Iran-said our only choice was this agreement or war (not so). He did not release many other things that are in the agreement until later and even paid to have the prisoners released and tried to cover up his wrongdoing. This agreement will probably actually cause a war. Iran will not live up to it and the next president will have to decide what to do.

    Consider if we are safer now than when he took office, if our standing in the world is stronger or weaker, if we are more or less racially divided now or before. Google Obama lies.. Hope all is well with you-look forward to seeing you. Papa

    Reply

    • well, I think “lie” is a bit of a strong word about Obamacare – there have definitely been unintended consequences of course. And even with whatever problems Obamacare has, most people (not all) are still better off. From everything I’ve read, most of the problems have been because Obamacare does not go far enough – many young and healthy people are not buying insurance, causing costs to be higher than expected for those who do. And this is because the penalties for not having insurance are not strong enough. If we just required everyone to have insurance, full stop, our health care system would work much better – but this is the provision most of the Republicans most vehemently opposed.

      And it is true that we are safer than ever before. Terrorism is still one of the smallest causes of death in the world – you’re more likely to be struck by lightning. And crime has declined every year of the Obama presidency.

      I am sure we will discuss more at Christmas – looking forward to seeing you!

      Reply

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