Even before Obama took office, inflation-adjusted after-tax income was falling hard as unemployment rose and wages fell. While the economy is slightly larger than its pre-recession peak, and while corporate profits have pushed to record highs, inflation-adjusted take-home pay for the average American family has yet to fully recover after suffering its worst pullback since World War II.

Real GDP © MSN Money

Source: Federal Reseve

Things have improved under Obama, as the chart shows, with income increasing $459 billion.

But that is somewhat misleading. Government transfers -- unemployment benefits, disability checks, Social Security -- played a larger role in household finances after the recession struck. Using Bureau of Economic Analysis data, and adjusting for inflation, personal disposable income less transfers from government social benefits has grown from $9.3 trillion in early 2009 to $9.6 trillion now, but remains below its old high of $9.9 trillion.

So, total Obama income gain is around $300 billion per year -- or less than $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country.


Of all these measures, net household wealth has made the strongest bounce during Obama's term. When he took office, a crumbling housing market and stock market had caused net household wealth to drop from a total of $63 trillion to $51 trillion. It has since reversed and gained more than $11 trillion, though it still sits below the pre-recession high, as the chart below shows.

New worth © MSN Money

Source: Federal Reserve

Although many have been turned off of the stock market by years of volatility, scandal and insider dealings, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) has stealthily marched up to four-year highs, returning to levels not seen since early 2008. Since Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the index has gained nearly 69%, with a near-20% surge coming since June.

As for the other large component of American wealth, housing, the situation there is stabilizing. The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index has started to rise again on a year-over-year basis for the first time since early 2010. Still, the Obama record is negative: Since January 2009, the 20-city Case-Shiller index is down 4.2%.

Digging into the data, assets have jumped by $11.1 trillion, making up the bulk of the improvement, with stock-market gains leading the way. But unless you've been invested in stocks, you've missed out on the Obama recovery.

What next?

Depending on how Washington handles the fiscal cliff issue later this year, much of this wealth gain could evaporate quickly -- pulling the rug out from under one of the economy's few areas of strength. The others are corporate profitability and retained earnings. A repeat of the financial market turbulence of August 2011 would further damage the confidence of CEOs and cause them to continue to withhold needed capital investments and hiring, the subject of a recent column. (Read "Why CEOs need our love, too.")

Raising the stakes in this year-end political saga is the likelihood the nation will hit its debt ceiling around the same time. Credit rating agencies are warning that, without action on the debt and deficit, they will take a hatchet to America's credit rating.

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On Tuesday, Moody's warned that unless Congress can put in place specific policies that stabilize and establish a downward trend in the federal debt over the medium term, without a large, immediate fiscal shock, its "Aaa" rating on the country could be at risk.

Let's hope that, no matter who wins this November, our elected officials immediately get to work to protect the slim gains that Obama has managed in a difficult environment.

Be sure to check out Anthony's new money management service, Mirhaydari Capital Management, and his investment newsletter, the Edge. A free, two-week trial subscription to the newsletter has been extended to MSN Money readers. Click here to sign up. Mirhaydari can be contacted at and followed on Twitter at @EdgeLetter. You can view his current stock picks here. Feel free to comment below.