In January 2009:

* Gas averaged about $1.85 per gallon.

* Unemployment rate was 7.8 percent.

* Percentage of people who were employed, called the Labor Participation Rate, was 65.7 percent.

* $475 billion spent on federal welfare.

* 32 million people on food stamps.

* National debt was at $9 trillion (George W. Bush added $4 trillion during his presidency, an amount presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 called “unpatriotic.”)

Let’s compare with today:

* Gas averages $4 per gallon, a 116 percent increase.

* After peaking at 10 percent in October 2009, the unemployment rate dubiously dipped back to 7.8% this month (the same as when Barack Obama entered the White House. His administration, however, stopped including those who are no longer actively seeking employment. Does that make them unemployed? Hardly. If those 5 million people were included, the unemployment rate would be around 11 percent.

* Labor Participation Rate (a better gauge) is currently at 63.7 percent. At first look, that 2 percent drop seems small, until one realizes the 5 million workers it represents.

* $668.2 billion spent in 2011 on federal welfare programs, a 40.6 percent increase of $193 billion.

* Food stamp usage rose 45.9 percent to 46.7 million.

* National debt increased 78 percent, to $16 trillion and has climbed $1 trillion-plus each year of Obama’s presidency. If $9 trillion was “unpatriotic,” what does that make $16 trillion in debt?

Didn’t Obama say he would cut the deficit in half? The president does not have total control over all that happens in our land, but his policies direct the nation, and he is responsible.

Do you want four more years of this? Vote accordingly.

Greg Paquet

Smithfield

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