A recurring presidential campaign slogan that has worked more than not is “Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?”
It is a question that might wrongly pin the blame for actual poor national economic performance on the President, but it’s a tactic that works.
Hopefully, it will work this year when the bad economy IS actually the President’s fault. Are WE better off?
Let’s look back at how things were 4 years ago:
(All figures are from official US Government agencies like the BLS, USDA, US Census and other trusted sources.)
Gas cost $1.69 per gallon; there were 31.7 million Americans on food stamps; the National Debt was $10.7 trillion.
39.8 million Americans were considered “poor”; 42.8 million Americans received Medicaid benefits; the median home price was about $192, 000.
The long-term unemployed (over 27 weeks) numbered 2.6 million; the average length of unemployment was 19.9 weeks; the U-6 unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) stood at 10.5%; black unemployment was 12.1%; and the total number of jobs (total non-farm, seasonally adjusted) was 134,383,000. Your health insurance annual average premium for employer-sponsored family coverage cost $12,680.
(Most of the above numbers are as of December 2008).
There is only one number in the above accounting that sounds good — the cost of a gallon of gas. But that’s deceptive. Just 6 months before that December figure, gas had peaked at near $4.50 a gallon. And a barrel of crude oil cost us nearly $150.
Now let’s look at how things are now:
Gas is currently averaging over $3.40 per gallon; in some places, it’s over $4 a gallon. And the Obama Administration has no plan to bring the price down; in fact, they are happy with where the price is and look forward to seeing it go even higher like it is in Europe.
Food stamp participation has increased by 50%. All-time highs are falling monthly, replaced by new highs. More than 15 million more Americans are on food stamps now. No wonder the deficits are through the roof and topping $1 trillion for the foreseeable future. With less revenue coming in and more and more spending going out in additional benefits to millions more that we didn’t provide benefits for when we had more revenue, you can’t help but bump up the national debt.
Speaking of the debt, it’s now over $15.8 trillion (with a ‘T’) and rising. That’s more than half a trillion dollars higher than our GDP. Congratulations America; you are now officially broke. Can you say “Greece”?
The poverty rate has increased to over 15%, and that figure is a year old, probably higher now. But don’t worry; the economy has turned around; things are getting better. The private sector is doing just ‘fine.’ Obama said so.
Medicaid recipients now number in excess of 48 and a half million people. That’s even more unfunded benefits to increase the deficit and debt.
Home values now average a mere $169,000, over $20,000 less than they were a mere 4 years ago. Oh, by the way, your net worth is 40 percent lower than it was because of the stock market tank job in 2008 and the loss of businesses in the market place.
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