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

'Rival Survival' premiering Wednesday

Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) are getting ready to show America their bipartisan fire-starting skills on "Rival Survival," a reality show starring tho lawmakers that premiers Wednesday night on the Discovery Channel.

Lovitz has a field day with Hillary

Before Hillary Clinton's jobs comment is swept aside as a minor whoopsie, a few words from Jon Lovitz.

John Oliver has some ideas for the FDA

Some people want more nutrition information on food labels--but who really understands those labels anyway?

SNL mocks Obama on Ebola

Saturday's SNL episode opened with a segment poking fun at both Obama and his chosen Ebola Czar Ron Klain, who has been the subject of criticism because he has no experience in the medical field.

Madeleine Albright T(witter)KOs Conan

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright bested Conan O'Brien by Twitter knockout Thursday night, ribbing the comedian with a comeback worthy of a seasoned pro.

White House

Russian hackers broke into the White House network

Hackers with suspected ties to the Russian government recently broke into the White House’s unclassified computer network, the Washington Post reported Tuesday night.

Obama is withholding over 15,000 Fast and Furious documents

President Obama claimed executive privilege to withhold over 15,000 documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, including nearly 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife.

White House fence jumper charged with assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday. Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, is in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for previous outstanding warrants, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. […]
President Obama, unpaid bills and the curious editing of the White House transcript
President Obama, some unpaid bills and a curiously “inaudible” section of the White House recording of a speech — that’s how all good stories start, right? While at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago, Obama cracked a joke about the “unpaid bills” at his home. The joke was reported by the White House Press […]
Secrecy shrouds how the Obamas cook their chicken wings

Now it seems the Obamas are tight-lipped even about their eating habits.

Congress

Top lawmaker's Ebola claim

A leading House Republican says he is aware of information that points to the United States eventually receiving non-U.S. Ebola patients for treatment.

Rand Paul: ‘The war on terror is not over’

Rand Paul attempted to lay out his recently evolving foreign policy vision at his speech Thursday night at the Center for the National Interest.

McCarthy speaks out against 'Truthy' study
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is joining the growing dissent against the federally-funded “Truthy” study designed to monitor political speech on social media. In a blog post Thursday, titled “#KillingFreeSpeech,” McCarthy promises that the House Committee on Science will be conducting oversight “in the coming months on this and other questionable government-funded research projects.” “Why does the government […]
CIA agents impersonated Senate staffers to snoop
Despite a number of growing foreign and domestic threats over the summer, the CIA admitted that they had been using their resources to spy on elected officials in the Senate. Now, insiders are alleging that it’s not just what they did that is the problem, but how they went about it. A new piece by the […]
Republicans say they will reform the IRS

Republicans are talking about reforming the IRS if they gain the majority in the Senate next month, but seem to be treading with caution on making any specific promises.