Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said in an interview with The Hill published on Friday that former President Barack Obama’s “biggest missed opportunity” was his failure to restructure the American economy following the 2008 financial crisis.
Echoing criticism often expressed by Obama critics across the political spectrum, the entrepreneur suggested that the Obama administration should have focused on helping ordinary Americans impacted by the devastating economic crisis instead of bailing out big banks and Wall Street.
“I think the biggest missed opportunity was in the wake of the financial crisis, where we printed four trillion for the Wall Street banks,” he said.
“And there was a massive opportunity to help restructure our economy in ways that worked for the average American to a higher degree. That, to me, was the biggest missed opportunity.”
Had the Obama administration done more to help working Americans — had it forgiven mortgage and consumer debt, for instance – more people could have stayed in their homes instead of losing them during the foreclosure crisis, according to Yang.
The White House hopeful added that he does not “begrudge” the Obama administration’s decisions, because the former president and his team had to act under pressure during a time of economic crisis, but added once again that the failure to help ordinary Americans was a “missed opportunity.”
“And I think, in many ways, we’re still recovering,” Yang concluded.
During the first two years of Obama’s presidency — during the global financial crisis — the Democratic Party controlled all branches of United States government but failed to deliver on its promises, according to critics.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute, argued that the Democratic Party will not be able to win elections until it recognizes “how bad Obama’s financial policies were.”
According to Stoller, the Democrats have been “slipping away from the working class for some time, and Obama’s presidency hastened rather than reversed that departure,” which helped create the conditions that lead to Donald Trump winning the presidency in 2016.
In 2008, Barack Obama won in part by promising generational change; in office, in the midst of a recession, he empowered a bunch of bankers to prop up a busted system. That can’t happen again. https://t.co/9AMfwxLLme
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) August 16, 2019
“He built a grassroots machine of two million supporters eager to fight for change. Then he let it die,” The New Republic wrote of Obama in 2017, accusing the former president of “paving the way” for Donald Trump.
As The Hill notes, although Obama remains exceptionally popular among Democratic voters, progressives have long criticized his administration’s record on issues such as immigration and healthcare.
As The Inquisitr reported, in an interview earlier this month, Harvard professor and Bernie Sanders surrogate, Cornel West, argued that the Democratic Party needs to have a “candid” conversation about Obama’s legacy in order to move forward and evolve.