The Federal Reserve deserves a lot more credit than President Obama does for our economic recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-09, Steve Beaman, chairman the Society to Advance Financial Education, told Newsmax TV
"The vast majority of the credit for our recovery has to go to the Federal Reserve, external of the government," he said on the network's "MidPoint."
"After the financial collapse of 2008 and '09, [then-Fed Chairman] Ben Bernanke in a very controversial move did the opposite of what they did in 1929. He opened the floodgates for money."
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The Fed has kept its federal funds rate target at a record low of zero to 0.25 percent since December 2008 and has pushed its balance sheet to $4.5 trillion through quantitative easing.
"That has been the core reason we've had economic growth," Beaman noted. The economy has expanded about 2.2 percent a year since the rebound began in June 2009.
Obama deserves credit for some of the economy's problems, he maintained. "The Affordable Care Act slowed down small business growth precipitously. It has affected our GDP."
And what about the tripling of the S&P 500 index during the past six years?
"It is going to go back to the Fed, it's not the president at all," Beaman argued. "The administration's $1 trillion dollar stimulus did little or nothing to the economy. What drives economic activity is money, and it's where money is best invested right now."
Investors have gravitated to stocks, because the returns are better than in money markets, Beaman explained.
To be sure, Obama hasn't been all bad. "He can take credit legitimately for having some semblance of stability in the administration since 2008," Beaman proclaimed. "American confidence is a big thing, and when an administration shows stability and shows a direction, American people will respond with a positive attitude and that helps the economy."
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index soared to 101.3 in March, the second-highest reading of the nearly-six-year-old economic expansion from 98.8 in February, amid optimism about job opportunities and wages.
And what is the impact of economic weakness overseas? "Clearly it's put people into the dollar," he alleged. The greenback has soared to multi-year highs against a range of currencies in recent weeks.
"When you have Europe in turmoil, the Far East, and China now on the precipice of a recession, people are flooding to the dollar. It serves to keep interest rates low, it serves to keep our stock market high."
Europe's economy grew only 0.9 percent last year, and China's GDP expanded 7.4 percent in 2014, its slowest growth in 24 years.
So what's Obama's score for economic stewardship on a scale of 1 to 10?
"It's 4.5, because he's slightly below what I would consider average, slightly below," Beaman said.
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