One measure of the economy is the stock indexes, fluctuating figures that show the confidence that certain Americans (those with money to invest) have in the future of the economy. The three primary indexes, the ones most likely to be referenced in the press, are the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the NASDAQ Composite, and the S&P 500. Of those, the Dow is the one most often cited as the barometer of how the country is doing.
I mention that because yesterday the Dow came within a hair's breath of reaching its next big milestone - 20,000. At one point during the day, the mighty Dow reached 19,999.63. It closed at 19,963.80.
While blowhard Donald Trump is undoubtedly claiming credit for a rising stock market, the fact of the matter is that the stock market was careening toward a crash during the final days of the George W. Bush administration, and it began and long and steady upward climb during the Obama years - and yesterday's numbers can easily be seen as a continuation of that upward trend.
When George W. Bush became President the Dow was near 11,000. It jumped around fitfully during the eight years that he was in office, and on the day he left office and Obama took over, the Dow closed at 7,949.09. The Dow dropped an average of 2.3% annually while conservative icon and friend to big business, George W. Bush, was in office.
Obama admittedly got off to a rough start with Wall Street, and the stock market had some slippery moments during his first few months in office. Gradually, however, the nation's business community and its investors began to realize that the White House was once again under the control of thoughtful adults, and the market began to show growth. The Dow, in fact, increased more that 150% during Obama's eight years in office, or an average annual increase of 12.3 percent.
The American stock market, judging by any index and by anyone's measure, has had a damned good run under the Obama administration. Now that we have a "businessman" preparing to lead the country, one whose self-interests seem to routinely supersede those of the nation, it will be interesting to see if Donald Trump will be able to sustain the upward momentum of the stock market.
It would be nice to have that 20,000 milestone reached during the Presidency of Barack Obama, the man whose steady hand at the helm lead us to this point. Seventy-five straight months of job growth and a stock market at record high levels will be a very hard act to follow - even for someone with a "very good" brain that rests under a horrid comb-over.
Thank you, President Obama, for all you have done to make America great! You will be sorely missed.