Are you better off today than you were four years ago? You don’t need to answer for yourself; the Republicans will go ahead and answer for you: no, you’re not better off today. But, how can that be? Four years ago, weren’t we losing 800,000 jobs per month? Why, yes, we were and we were on the verge of economic collapse but don’t think about that. Hey! Look over here! You’re worse off today!
In the fall of 2008, while a Republican was still occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the US economy was in a free fall. Many Americans saw their retirement disappear. Many more lost their jobs and their houses. And, while we are certainly not back to where we once were, it is undeniable that we, as a country, are better off today than we were four years ago in the fall of 2008. To think anything different is to live in some alternate reality.
My favorite fact checkers over at Politifact took an in depth look at this issue with many charts. Is the unemployment rate higher today? Yes, slightly. But, disposable income is up, home prices are higher and existing home sales are up. Inflation isn’t rising as quickly and a gallon of milk and a pound of apples are actually cheaper. Outstanding credit card debt and household debt is also down. Mortgage rates are lower than four years ago. And, we’re gaining about 100,000 jobs per month. So, I’m not entirely sure what the Republicans are looking at to determine that we’re worse off today but, if they’re looking at the facts, they’re having trouble comprehending them.
Let’s also be sure to point out that President Obama inherited an already collapsing system and, as President Clinton said: “No president — no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years.” The global economy was collapsing and unemployment was rising at ridiculous rates. Are certain individuals worse off today than they were four years ago? Absolutely. But, as a whole, are we, as a country, worse off today? Not a chance, not even in some alternate Republican reality.