Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Can you remember all the way back to when gas prices were only $1.33? Was that five years ago? Ten? More? Actually, gas prices in Kentucky were $1.33 when President Obama took office, and since then have skyrocketed more than 240%.Everyone has felt the effects of the recent recession (negative effects, that is, except perhaps in the case of a foreclosure lawyer), so it should be no surprise that the vast majority of Americans believe that the economy is the most important issue of the 2012 elections.2 Political camps on both sides have taken notice. The Obama campaign is overflowing with flowery rhetoric regarding the blossoming recovery that is sweeping across the nation. On the other side, the Romney campaign would like to lead you to believe that the nation has never had to bear such unbelievable economic pain. Let us examine the facts, and see what the situation truly is.

Since Obama became president:

·         Kentuckians have experienced eight percent or higher unemployment for all 42 months under his administration, and nine percent or higher for 35 of his 42 months.3

·         Furthermore, throughout these  42 months, Kentucky’s underemployment rate has never dipped below 15%.4

·         Even in 2012, Kentucky is still suffering a job deficit of 117,600 jobs.5

·         The number of Kentuckians receiving food stamps has increased by 30%.6

·         Approximately 80,000 more Kentuckians fell below the poverty level during his first two years in office.7,8

However, to bring this pocketbook-ache into perspective, unemployment was often above 20% during the Great Depression.9 Though current conditions are not that bleak, it is safe to conclude that the economic policies of recent years have been nowhere near a success. This year, in all levels of government, we the people have the opportunity to bring in new economic policies. It is time to announce that we have endured enough failed economic gimmicks. For, although this is not the worst set of circumstances the Commonwealth has withstood, Kentucky’s economy has suffered greatly over the past four years and is still nowhere near a complete recovery.




1. “Kentucky Total Gasoline Wholesale/Resale Price by Refiners (Dollars per Gallon).” U.S. Energy Information Administration. U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2 July, 2012. Web. 23 July, 2012. <>.

2. Saad, Lydia. “Economic Issues Still Dominate Americans’ National Worries.” Gallup Economy. Gallup, March 28, 2012. Web. 23, July 2012. <>.

3. “Labor Force Statistics (LAUS – Unemployment Rates).”  Workforce Kentucky. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. 23 July, 2012. <>

4. “Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States (Archived Tables).” The Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States Department of Labor, April 27, 2012. Web23 July, 2012. <>.

5.  “Faster Job Growth is Encouraging, but Kentucky Still Has Long Way to Go.” Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, February 17, 2012. Web. 23 July, 2012 <>.

6. SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM:  AVERAGE MONTHLY PARTICIPATION (PERSONS)  United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. United States Department of Agriculture, 29 June, 2012. Web. 23 July, 2012. <>.

7. “Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months 2008 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.” 2008 American Community Survey. U.S. Census Bureau, n.d. Web. 23 July, 2012. <>.

8. “POVERTY STATUS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates” 2010 American Community Survey U.S. Census Bureau. n.d. Web. 23 July, 2012. <>.

9. Lebergott, Stanley. “Annual Estimates of Unemployment in the United States,

1900-1954.” The Measurement and Behavior of Unemployment. National

Bureau of Economic Research, 1957. p. 215. Web. 23 July, 2012. <>.