No, We’re Not Better Off

Just in time for the Democratic National Convention, the Obama campaign is claiming that, why, yes we are better off now than we were four years ago, thank you very much.

For starters, they’re touting Vice President Joe Biden’s bumper sticker slogan “Osama bin Laden is dead, and GM is alive.”

Actually, bin Laden and top al Qaeda members killed in President Obama’s wanton drone attacks should arguably be alive and getting waterboarded in Gitmo for all the intelligence we can wring out of them. General Motors should have gone through bankruptcy proceedings, and if it couldn’t shake off its bloated union benefits packages and improve its efficiency, died.

But Democrats are crowing about the general economic picture. They seem to be claiming that, even if job growth and GDP aren’t picking up quite as much as we would like, at least they’re better now than they were near the start of the recession.

No, they’re not. They’re not even as good as they were when Obama took office.

Consider the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’s set of post-WWII recession and recovery employment and GDP data.

These data show that the percent change in U.S. employment in July 2008—four years prior to the most currently available data—was one percent. In July 2012 it was three percent.

Using as a baseline the first month of Obama’s presidency, percent change in employment was still slightly better in January 2009 than it is now.

When Obama brags that he added 4.5 million jobs to the economy, the proper response should be, “Yes—if you count only the jobs added since January 2010 and not the ones lost in the prior 12 months. There are still 400,000 fewer people working today than there were in January 2009.”

A better way to analyze the data is to ask whether we’re better off now than we were at the equivalent point in time following other recessions.

The answer is no, we’re not.

July 2012 marked 55 months since the start of the December 2007 recession. The monthly percent change in employment for all other 10 postwar recessions at 55 months out ranged from one percent to 12 percent, with an average of seven percent. Again, in July 2012 monthly change in employment was – three percent.

In other words, every single other post-war recession saw an actual recovery that culminated in a positive monthly change in employment by four-and-half years out—and usually much sooner—not a fake recovery that left the economy below where it was at the start of the recession. The Obama recovery stands historically alone in its decrepitude.

Since Obama’s presidency started 13 months into the 2007 recession, let’s look at percent change in employment 55 months after each recession’s start minus change in employment 13 months into the recession. Has the economy improved as much in the 42 months of Obama’s presidency as it did during the equivalent 42-months for other recessions?

No, it hasn’t.

The difference in monthly employment from 13 to 55 months after the start of the other 10 recessions ranged from three percent to 16 percent, with an average of nine percent. Under Obama, the difference from 13 to 55 months was less than zero percent. Obama actually drove down monthly employment since taking office.

How about quarterly percent change in GDP? We’re 18 quarters out from December 2007. Is GDP on par with where it was 18 quarters out from other recessions?

No, it isn’t.

Percent change in GDP for the other 10 postwar recessions ranged from nine percent to 27 percent, with an average of 16 percent. Percent change in GDP is currently at two percent.

Poverty is up. Food stamps use is at a record high. Unemployment is stuck where it was it was in January 2009, and median income is down. Inflation is up since 2009, and gas prices have doubled since Obama took office.

By what respectable metric can Obama possibly claim that we’re better off now than we were four years ago? An increase in our social networking prowess? (Oops. Bad example.)

The only sense in which we’re better off now than we were in 2008 is that we may have only four more months instead of four more years to endure from this miserable president.

Comments

Polititainment

Liberal lobbying firm makes ‘Bibi-Yoncé’

If you’ve ever thought that the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reminded you a lot of a Beyoncé song, liberal Middle East lobbying group J Street has the internet campaign for you!

Bush's cool reaction to 'Scandal'

Judy Smith, former special assistant and deputy press secretary to President George H.W. Bush and inspiration for "Scandal" main character Olivia Pope, spoke to an art and commerce conference Friday about Bush's reaction to the storyline of the ABC series.

Actress wants more female politicians

In an interview with Politico, Davis spotlighted a recently released study that found only 10 percent of politicians in films in the world are played by female actors, which was completed in part by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media.

John Oliver questions U.S. drone strikes
President Obama and his frequent use of drone strikes were the target of John Oliver’s latest “evisceration” Sunday night. U.S. drones reportedly sent missiles into Yemen and the Waziristan province of Pakistan, Oliver reported on “Last Week Tonight.” But it was not mentioned on any American newscast. “There is something strange about the fact that […]
Jarrett makes cameo on 'The Good Wife'
White House adviser Valerie Jarrett made a cameo appearance as herself on the CBS hit, “The Good Wife,” Sunday night. Jarrett’s role was to encourage the main character Alicia Florrick, played by Julianna Margulies, to run for public office. “I wanted to encourage you to run. The only way women are going to change the world […]

White House

Barack Obama doesn’t celebrate National Coffee Day. He celebrates tee time.

Look. We get it. The president gave his coffee salute, The Semper Latte, just days ago, recent enough to use for National Coffee Day jokes from dusk 'til decaf. But aren't we missing an opportunity here?

U.S. Grants $450M to Community Colleges To Link Job Training To Employers
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden announced almost a half-billion dollars of grants Monday to community colleges working with employers on job training. Linking training to industry demand is key to the Obama administration’s strategy for improving wages and reducing unemployment. Massasoit Community College in Massachusetts and Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley Technical College received the […]
WH: Secret Service’s ‘task is incredible’
THE HILL – The White House said Sunday it remained confident in the Secret Service despite news that the agency didn’t realize for five days that bullets had hit the White House in a 2011 shooting incident. “I know the Secret Service is on top of this and they will take every necessary step to correct […]
Even hardcore left states don’t believe Obama is doing a good job
President Obama is facing more bad approval ratings, but this time they are coming from states that used to be his biggest fans. Just 39 percent of registered voters in New York responded to a new Marist College poll that they believed Obama was doing an “excellent” or “good” job. This is the lowest level […]
Altered pool reports give more proof against Obama’s ‘most transparent administration’ claims
“The most transparent administration in history” strikes again. The Washington Post reports that President Obama’s press aides have been censoring and changing details in pool reports. Pool reports are written by reporters for other reporters and give people an up-close look at the president beyond the official White House record. Details from pool reports are worked […]

Congress

McCain: Rand Paul 'trusts me' in military matters

McCain thinks he would wield a great deal of influence over a potential President Paul, “particularly on the military side of things.”

Rep introduces bill to ban porn on gov. computers
Most people wouldn’t think to browse porn at work, but then again, most people aren’t federal employees. Earlier this year it was discovered that one EPA official had been browsing pornography for two to six hours a day while at work and now Rep. Mark Meadows, (R-N.C.) has introduced a bill explicitly “prohibit[ing] the access […]
DWS repeated 'back of his hand' line
Apparently when Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz finds a phrase she likes she is going to repeat it, no matter how offensive. For the second time within the past month, footage of the DNC chairwoman has surfaced in which she accused a Republican governor of giving women “the back of his hand.” Republican Super […]
Twitter squashes Schumer's tribute to Eric Holder

One could see how Schumer's simile may have been a stretch. Twitter certainly did.

Lawmakers take in $608 per hour for time in D.C.
THE HILL – Congress will be in session for only eight days during a 102-day span between Aug. 1 and Nov. 12, when lawmakers are set to return for a lame-duck session after the elections. Because the annual salary for members of the House is $174,000, their hourly wage for those eight days amounts to $608 […]