Every four years the presidential challengers ask, “Are we better off now than four years ago?”
Good question. As we know, the wealthy are doing better than ever.
How about the rest of us? It’s been tough, with the Right wanting to privatize public health and safety nets, and punish us with austerity. Stepping on the little guy while coddling the rich is always their solution
But economists are generally in agreement that we are better off.
Five Veteran Economics Reporters Who Say We're Better Off:
The economy has grown for twelve consecutive quarters; private sector employment has grown for 29 consecutive months, adding millions of jobs; and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has nearly doubled from its low point in March 2009.
"From an economic growth standpoint, clearly it is better," Kevin Hall, McClatchy's national economics correspondent, said about the country's finances.
"If you go back and look at the charts -- you can pull up the GDP chart, we are growing 2 to 2.2 percent -- you would say it is clearly yes, compared to a 3.7 percent contraction in the third quarter of 2008, followed by an 8.9 percent contraction in the fourth quarter of 2008."
He later added, "You look at how many jobs were lost, December '07 to June 2009, 7.9 million jobs lost. That is a big, big number. That recession encompassed mostly the Bush era, but also four month of Obama. In the last 28 months, there's been an increase of roughly 4.4 million jobs, which if you just look at that number, it is a tremendous growth period."
"Clearly we are better off. I don't know how you could say no," he stressed. "I think we have taken the steps to shore up our banking system, people have become more proactive in paying down debt, the American consumer has taken steps to be more responsible."
Greg Ip, U.S. economics editor for The Economist, offered a similar assessment.
"I would say [we are] better off than [we] would have been without his policies," he said in an email, referring to the president. "Ordinarily, presidents have limited influence over America's big, market-driven economy. However, Mr. Obama took office at a unique time when his decisions really mattered. His initial policy actions on stimulus and crisis relief for the banks really did make the recession less severe than it otherwise would have been
Steve Pearlstein, a Pulitzer Prize-winning business and economics columnist for The Washington Post, cited a lag in median income, but found most economic indicators point to a better situation than four years ago.
"The stock market was going down very fast back then and our housing prices were going down fast, they went down quite a bit in the early days of Obama, but they probably are now higher, wealth wise," he said in an interview. "If you look at direction, in those days things were falling fast and would fall quite far.
"Today they are rising, slowly, but the direction of things is much better than it was then. If you are doing a directional analysis, we are better off."
Here are some facts and numbers that agree:
Monday, September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. The Dow dropped 504.48 points.
September 29, 2008 The Dow fell 777.68 points, the most in any single day in history.
Unemployment rate on Election Day 2008 – 6.5%
On Obama’s Inauguration Day - 7.3%
Obama inherited a severe economic collapse and jobs were disappearing.
Stock Market Closing Prices – January 20, 2009
Dow Jones Industrial Average ( DJIA ) Close - 7949
NASDAQ Stock Market Close - 1440
S&P 500 Close - 805
The Bush Recession was rapidly hitting the fan before Obama took office.
Soon afterwards, auto company bailouts and Obama's economic stimulus plan, despite being gutted by the corpo-dems and Republicans, started to create the confidence needed to stop the panic.
On July 24, 2009, the Dow reached a higher high, closing at 9,093.24
What happened since?
October 2009: Peak Unemployment Rate – 10%
Current Unemployment Rate – 8.3%
Even measured by the lagging indicator of unemployment, it’s getting better. The direction is now postive.
And how’s the Market doing now?
Stock Market Closing Prices - September 14, 2012
Dow Jones Close - 13593 - Way up from Bush's 7949
NASDAQ Close - 3184 - Way up from Bush's 1440
S&P 500 Close - 1466 - Way up from Bush's 805
There’s no doubt the economy is better off now than four years ago, and headed in the right direction.
We don’t give it all back to the Republicans and go backwards to their same failed policies.
Republicans want us to forget. They’d rather tell you Obama is an un-American, Muslim Marxist apologizing for our values, and sympathizing with rioters and killers, and someone who said, “You didn’t build your business”.
They’re following the classic fascist techniques of inciting resentment among the people and fusing their Big Lies with hate mongering.
They need to make it harder for people to vote.
Why? Because it’s all they got...besides tons of "free speech money" from the economic elites, plutocrats, and corporations.
Democracy is in a life and death battle.
Use it or lose it.