Are You Better Off Today Than Four Years Ago?

Russ Steele

Here is the Obama Administration’s answers to that critical questions that has Obama in a panic:

Here is an assessments by the Investors Business Daily: Investor’s Business Daily: Better Off? Let’s Count the Ways We’re Not.

By most measures the country isn’t making slow progress; it’s falling further behind. Some examples:

  •  Median incomes: These have fallen 7.3% since Obama took office, which translates into an average of $4,000. Since the so-called recovery started, median incomes continued to fall, dropping $2,544, or 4.8%.
  •  Long-term unemployed: More than three years into Obama’s recovery, 811,000 more still fall into this category than when the recession ended.
  • Poverty: The poverty rate climbed to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009, and economists think it may have hit 15.7% last year, highest since the 1960s.
  • Food stamps: There are 11.8 million more people on food stamps since Obama’s recovery started.
  •  Disability: More than 1 million workers have been added to Social Security’s disability program in the last three years.
  • Gas prices: A gallon of gas cost $1.89 when Obama was sworn in. By June 2009, the price was $2.70. Today, it’s $3.84.
  • Misery Index: When Obama took office, the combination of unemployment and inflation stood at 7.83. Today it’s 9.71.
  • Union membership: Even unions are worse off under Obama, with membership dropping half a million between 2009 and 2011.
  • Debt: Everyone is far worse off if you just look at the national debt. It has climbed more than $5 trillion under Obama, crossing $16 trillion for the first time on Tuesday and driving the U.S. credit rating down.
  • Ironically, the only people better off under Obama are corporate chieftains, who’ve seen corporate profits climb more than 50% under Obama’s “recovery,” and investors, who’ve benefited from a near-doubling in the Dow industrials from its March 2009 lows.

Given this record, we can only hope Obama doesn’t have the chance to get a “complete” on his plans. And then there is this:

Now,  lets hear from the people who really count the voters who read this blog:  Are you better off?  Why?


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

16 Responses to Are You Better Off Today Than Four Years Ago?

  1. gjrebane says:

    All we saw was a private sector free future. The Messiah will bring manna from heaven, and all you have to do is stay on your knees.

  2. Arthur M. Day. says:

    Don’t forget to bump your forehead on the Mosque floor.

  3. Sean says:

    You forgot a pretty important one. American competativeness dropped from 5th to 7th this year. In fact it’s dropped every year this administration has been in office.

  4. stevefrisch says:

    I think you guys really need to read more about the Great Depression. Here is a brief reading list:

    Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 by David Kennedy

    Franklin D. Roosevelt and The New Deal, 1932-1940 by William Leuchtenburg

    Only Yesterday and Since Yesterday, by Frederick Lewis Allen

    For the Survival of Democracy, by Alonzo Hamby

    The Southern Agrarians and The New Deal, by Emily Bingham and Thomas Underwood

    The Great Depression: America 1929-1941, by Robert McElvaine

    Essays on the Great Depression, by Ben Bernake

    A Monetary History of the United States, by Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz

    The Perils of Prosperity: 1914-1932, by William Leuchtenburg

    New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America, by Burton Folsom, Jr.

    • Dena says:

      New Deal or Raw Deal was a great book about the Great depression an I recommend it to anybody with even a little interest in the Great depression. Its a fast read but yet it includes a large amount of information in a small book. The problem with comparing the current economy with the Great depression is we are not measuring unemployment the same way and using the same measuring system results in our numbers coming close to those of the Great Depression. Milton Friedman is also good but you have to watch out as a few of his books were intended for an academic environment and are heavy reading for somebody not interest in economics. Others target the average reader and are good for anybody.

      • stevefrisch says:

        Dena, you realize of course that if we cannot compare our current economy to the Great Depression (which I agree with for different reasons) because the numbers are measured differently, then what President Obama inherited was actually closer to the Depression than most Americans understood. However, most economists and historians would agree that estimates of unemployment during the Great Depression were wild a**ed guesses as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics had no money to actually collect real time data, they did not get the ability to do so until after FDR took office, in late 1933. So the estimates of 25-30% unemployment in 1932 were potentially wildly inaccurate–could have been 40% or 20%. I tried to provide a varied set of recommendations here. I have read all of them (almost, …I am finishing Freedom From Fear right now), and others that I would not consider great, more like memoirs (Phillip Lash’s book, Harry Hopkins diary, Schleisingers’s bio of FDR) and I think the best one is McElvanie’s book.

  5. Ben Emery says:

    Our actual unemployment or underemployment rates are around 20 – 25%. Since we entered into the WTO over 55,000 factories have shut down and moved out of the country with around 8 million manufacturing jobs that had a living wages. So the real question should be are we better off since entering into economic sovereignty stripping Free Trade Agreements mediated by the WTO? Obama has pushed and got three new free trade agreements.

  6. Dena says:

    Steve, it may be very likely things were worst than the numbers indicated but that’s still no excuse for not fixing it by now. Fear of higher taxes and government regulation have prevented the recovery and will continue to until business men know they can risk their money without fear of government changing the rules in a way that will cause them to lose. Currently the business environment is less risky in other countries so if the money is put to work, that’s where it goes. Much of that money is still on the sideline because many investments outside the country are about as risky as the ones in the United States. We are currently looking for a place to put some money and about the only two options are land and the stock market. We already have about as much of the money in the stock market as we want to put there and the only land that looks right is not available. This is what American business is facing now.
    All it takes to fix things is reduce regulation and pass tax laws for more than one year at a time. When investing money, business often look 5 to 10 years ahead so tax changes need shouldn’t have an expiration date on them. By the way, an upper limit of 20% would work wonders.

    • stevefrisch says:

      Who is responsible for tax laws being created in an environment of continuing resolutions, brinksmanship, and reduced credit ratings? Republicans. Who reduced taxes on small businesses and 98% of Americans? Democrats.

      • Dena says:

        Who wants the Bush tax cuts to expire, the Democrats. Who is single handed increasing regulation on business without congress against the constitution – Obama with executive orders. Who is preventing the passing the of a budget – the Democrat controlled senate. Who is trying to pass a budget – the republicans.

      • stevefrisch says:


      • Ketchup.

        Who is responsible for tax laws being created in an environment of continuing resolutions, brinksmanship, and reduced credit ratings? Democrats. In the words of Obama’s original official COS/SOB, “We have the votes. them.” Perhaps the one observation about Democratic officeholders that Limbaugh gets absolutely right is their definition of “bipartisanship”: it’s when Republicans cave in to Democratic demands. When Republicans won the midterms vaulting Boehner to the Speakership, Obama’s staff didn’t even have his phone number for the President to give the new Speaker a congratulatory call. They had to rummage around outside their inner circle to find someone who had it.

        It’s a countdown to Karmageddon and lots of people are going to be very unhappy come November. Personally, if the R’s win, I think the best viewing will be BSNBC. Nuke some popcorn and enjoy the show.

      • Angle brackets were deleted in the last remark. The sentence should read (using square brackets), “We have the votes. [Expletive] them.”

  7. Arthur M. Day. says:

    I wonder why Mr. Frisch left out Amity Shlaes ‘The Forgotten Man’?
    European economists call the second dip of the Great Depression that started in 1937 the ‘Roosevelt Depression. The U.S. stock market dropped more value than it did in 1929. The major cause was the dumping of Social Security, Workmens Comp. amd some other costs of doing business in a short span of time.
    And I read today that General Motors has been, is, and will, spend millions of our tax dollars in China, Russia, Mexico, and Europe. To build car factories and hire workers. How’s that for gratitude?

  8. Arthur M. Day. says:

    Try it, you won’t like it.

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