Rush Limbaugh made a curious argument the other day about the economy.
"The vast, vast majority of problems we have in this country are directly traceable to liberals, Democrats. And I know that that sounds simplistic and it probably is not persuasive, but I'm sorry, I don't know how else to say it. I really don't. And it isn't complicated. It isn't complicated to explain why these things are happening. And here's Henry Waxman -- well, you know, he inherited a horrible economy, hemorrhaging jobs in 2008 -- they started hemorrhaging jobs in this economy after Obama was elected in 2008."Go back and look at the monthly unemployment numbers and then take a look at November and December and then Jan-- the bottom fell out, the Wall Street bottom fell out, and it hasn't recovered. But these people had all the answers. Hope and change. Everything was going to be better now. They had miracles waiting to enact. Everything they have done has brought great damage to this economy under the guise of fixing it."
I'm afraid the only way to address this is with a chart.
This image shows private-sector job gains and losses every month since the beginning of 2008 -- a year before President Obama took office. As you might notice, it has a few numbers attached to it.
Let's flesh this out a bit: #1 shows when the Great Recession began; #2 shows the month of the 2008 presidential election; #3 shows Obama's first full month in office; #4 shows when the Recovery Act started spending money; and #5 shows the most recent jobs report data.
For Limbaugh the fact that the bottom fell out before Obama took office, but after Obama's election, is proof that the president is, well, bad or something. But here's the obvious follow-up question: if "everything" Obama did hurt the country, and nothing is "better now," how does Limbaugh explain the overall trajectory of the chart after the president's policies began working?