9/12/2012 8:08 PM ET|
Are we better off under Obama?
Republicans will ask voters if things have improved over the past 4 years, and most of the economic numbers have. But with a slow recovery leaving millions out, are the gains enough?
The 2012 election has entered the final stage in a dead heat. As the Republicans look to take down President Barack Obama, they're focusing on the piddling economic recovery as proof his policies have failed. It can be summed up in a singular question, oft repeated at the GOP convention in Tampa: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?
Clearly, Mitt Romney's supporters are looking to capitalize on a negative view of the pace of recovery, an unemployment rate still north of 8%, a housing market only beginning to stabilize and households still struggling to reduce accumulated debts at a time of stagnant wage growth.
Fair or not, it's a message that resonates.
According to a CBS News poll last month, 62% believe the country is on the wrong track -- up from 48% in the early days of the Obama administration. Some 42% believe the U.S. economy is headed for a new recession in the next few months. And 39% think their families are worse off today than they were four years ago -- about the same as what we saw in November 2008, when the country voted for hope and change in the midst of the subprime meltdown.
Obama's task, never easy, has been made more difficult by the political gridlock we've seen since Republicans won control of the House in 2010, gumming up any chance of additional fiscal stimulus or meaningful progress on the debt/deficit issue, and resulting in the credit downgrade of the U.S. Treasury last August that shocked market and business confidence.
Instead of taking action on Obama's jobs plan or looking at issues with bipartisan support (such as tax reform), Washington has descended into political blood sport where everyone plays for keeps and no one crosses the aisle. Things are likely to get worse as we barrel toward a "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts worth nearly 5% of the gross domestic product as the calendar flips to 2013. (Read "Countdown to the fiscal cliff.")
But before then, we've got an election to decide. And that means voters need to answer the critical question: Are we better off since Obama took office? Here's a look, by the numbers, at the past four years in the four areas that matter most: economic growth, jobs, income and wealth.
The overall takeaway: The economy has improved, but it's far from great for many Americans. Voters will have to decide whether that's good enough to elect Obama to a second term.
When Obama took office, the economy was shrinking at roughly 8% annually. For most of Obama's term, it's been growing, as the chart below shows. In absolute terms, the economy is now $853 billion larger than it was before Obama was inaugurated. So, yes, we're better off.
But if you're a little disappointed, you're not alone.
Coming out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, ending a 20-year dependence on credit-fueled growth and in the wake of a delayed response to the crisis by the administration of then-President George W. Bush, the recovery was always going to be fitful. So it's no surprise that, 18 quarters after the pre-recession peak in GDP activity, the economy has managed to grow only 1.8% over the pre-recession high.
According to Credit Suisse economists, that's far from where we should be if this had been a normal recession -- the kind people have experienced before. On average, 18 months into a mild recession, GDP should be 10.4% larger than it is now. For a severe recession, it should be nearly 14% larger. That's almost $2 trillion in lost output, lost wages and lost prosperity.
When Obama took office, the economy was losing nearly 820,000 jobs a month. The losses stopped in December 2009, and since then, the economy has created more than 4.1 million jobs.
But we haven't fully recovered. Philippa Dunne of The Liscio Report notes that we're still 4.7 million jobs below the pre-recession peak, as the chart below shows. At the rate we're creating jobs right now, it would take four years to regain those levels -- not even accounting for population growth.
Source: Federal Reseve
What's worse is that the job-growth rate has stalled. Nonfarm payrolls added 96,000 jobs in August, the fifth sub-100,000 gain in the past six months and an average gain of 205,000 per month for the previous six months. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1%, thanks to an estimated 386,000 workers who gave up and left the labor force. As a result, the labor force participation rate is at its lowest level since 1981.
Not a good sign.
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Chuck...from the Cap..I will give you kudos for being able to protect your retirement and savings accounts..
Most got stung...
But as far as Markets or some of those Investments recovering...It started in 2008 Dec.
Then we had a "double dip" correction in Mar-Apr 2009...
If you had gotten back in in Apr-May '09...We had a tremendous recovery in the Markets and certain Sectors of the Economy...Economy here (not really the correct word), but the Markets and Indexes in certain Sectors...Recovered extremely well and by late 2009, most people if they had stayed the course in decent companies they would have been fully recovered...We were by Jul 23-25th, 2009.
There have been ups and downs since, but overall the trend has been up and up some more.
To add to the last comment....
For 8 years we went down a path of possible despair....From what had been fairly good times for most Americans...And without a doubt the Rich and Elite did pretty well all 16 years, unless they made some pretty bad bets...
Whether it was Bush, Bush&Cheney, or their Administrations in General.....They took what had been pretty good and turned it into absolute CRAP...Period. And the Rich and Elite didn't suffer much.
And they left a terrible mess of unheard complications and a fiasco for their successor....
It's not childish, not laughable, not funny....It is a horrible situation.
I find it almost LAUGHABLE, calling this "Childish, Bush did it crap."
WE fell into worst recessions, that anyone alive has ever seen..It bordered on a Depression...
Many of you call it a Depression, And to some (even many) it felt like a Depression and to some it still does..??
Most people that could remember the last Depression, would tell you this is not a Depression. IMO
Many would have to be at least 85-90 to recall much of it "with any understanding".
5-10 year old children really have trouble comprehending the ramifications, unless something very terrible happened in their family...?
So we have accounts, stories and books to learn from....I fear if we had the same situations today that we had in the 30s, we would be in total chaos and maybe under Anarchy rule.
Who is calling this a DEAD EVEN, heat..?..It's not even close if you balance out the bi-partisan polls.
$ more years, 4 more years, $ more years, 4 more years......4$ more....
Barack Obama in 2012!
Chris Van Hollen in 2016 & 2020!
God bless America!
I have another question.
When the Breakman on a train applies the breaks, does the train stop right there, or does it take a few miles because of inertia and the weight of the train?
President Obama didn't create this economy, he inherited it. That train was headed over a cliff, in large part due to his predecessor who, to be fair, inherited a Clinton economy that was just starting to go bad. Unfortunately, President Bush's policies put us on a track that pointed the train straight over that cliff.
I don't think four years is enough time to undo the Gordian Knot that President Bush's policies turned this economy into.
I know that President Obama's policies have been at least partially effective for the same reason I know I'm better off than I was four years ago: not because the economy is better but because we are not two years into the Second Great Depression.
Am I happy that this is taking so long to set right? Absolutely not.
Do I agree with everything that President Obama did? Of course not.
But I do credit his policy and policy makers with getting the train under control in time. And I am *CERTAINLY* not willing to turn the reigns over to the party that has fiddled for the past 12 years while Rome burned.
If the people who are commenting on this liberal news all are registered voters then obama and his cronies will be put out to pasture.
Need to tell the whole story instead of the news media making things look good. How about showing what is not happening? How many are not working? How many more are unemployed? How much more money has been printed to lower the value of dollars I held? It would be nice if everyone told the whole truth and looked at everything that is going on. We have a huge economic mess and it is not getting any better. We have foreign problems and obama and his cronies continue to do, basically nothing.
We are in a big mess.
No matter how you break it down -- whether by party/ideology, household income, age, or any other category -- the majority of Americans agree on one thing: there is no recovery.
There will be no jobs until we have a new Administration in the whitehouse. Obama is doubling down on debt and devaluing our nations currency as fast as he can before a new president takes office in January
Is The New World Order goal (assisted by soldiers Hillary and Obama's handlers) to create so much economic havoc that the world will rush with relief into the waiting arms of a global economic policeman with its privately-created global currency.
If Romney does not plan on raising taxes, how will he close the deficit and balance the budget?
While Romney MIGHT be a moderate Republican (although he continues to change his position on many issues), he is bound to the promises he's had to make to the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, rather than being bound to the best interests of the rest of America.
Between the Kochs (who launched the campaign to run 6 FAKE Democrats in Wisconsin - a disgrace to the public vote, and who fund ALEC which proposes legislation to have every common worker working for slave wages with no employee rights), and Sheldon Adelson who is a casino mogul who stands to save $2 BILLION a year in tax cuts under Romney - these guys combined have donated HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of dollars to Romney's campaign.
Follow the money.
Personally, I have no intention of voting for Romney. That would be a cruel thing to do to a nice person. Odumba deserves a second term to have this mess he has made of all things financial fall on his head.
Instead of him dumping all that cash into the bottomless pit of Banks, He could have easily dumped all that cash back to the people who have AGI's of 100k or less. That would have jump started the economy instantly. Those individuals would have spent this money right away and would have got the ball rolling.
As it is, he has created a "US money bubble" that is going to pop and end in massive inflation.
Let him blame who ever he wants during his 2nd term. I'll watch and laugh.
Come on, wake up. Every aspect of today's financial omnipotence and corruption was initiated from 1999 through 2007. Documents have dates. it isn't blame, it's facts. We are indeed going down and a whole lot of college bred fools will get their wallets shredded because they live in a fantasy world. That's education. The rest is manipulation. The more you hide the fact that the Bushes were crooks, the longer it will take to fix us and restore integrity and progress.
No. The country is not better off under Odumba.
Enjoy the coming money crash. Ol'Leroy got Ben Dover to do the QE3 thing. It'll work for a short time while the wall streeters gooble up at the hog trough. All it will do is cause a "US money bubble". And it will pop. Then you will get to enjoy run away inflation. Please join me in voting for Ol'Leroy getting a second term. He has made a epic mess that he deserves to be in charge when it crashes. I plan on sitting back and watching this one happen.
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