Better off now than 4 years ago? Romney launches aggressive GOP response during Dem convention: Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is launching an aggressive Republican response at the site of the Democratic National Convention aimed at stealing attention and driving new questions about President Barack Obama’s leadership on the eve of his nomination for a second term. As thousands of Democratic activists gather in Charlotte on Monday, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will campaign 230 miles to the east in Greenville. Aides say the Wisconsin congressman will focus on a simple question reflecting a message that staffers and surrogates will deliver in North Carolina and across the nation: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
Matthew Yglesias: It would probably be political malpractice to offer this as an answer to the question “are you better off than you were four years ago,” but the chart above (highlighting month-to-month changes in employment) gestures at what I think the most accurate response to that question is. Barack Obama wasn’t president four years ago. Nor did he become president magically on Election Day 2008. Between “four years ago” and his inauguration came the months of September, October, November, and December 2008 plus almost all of January 2009 (he took office on January 20th). That five month span was a terrible time for the American economy, seeing the net loss of over 3 million jobs. Under the circumstances, it’s perfectly plausible that lots of people are worse off than they were four years ago (perhaps employed in a lower-paid, lower-status job than they used to have) but better off then they were when Obama took office (perhaps employed rather than unemployed).
Bob Cesca: Yes, I agree that there are still people who are hurting. Unemployment remains unacceptably high, and, ultimately, the depth of the Great Recession is still playing itself out in the difficult task of mitigating it and returning the economy to a place of steady prosperity. But when it comes to the question of whether we’re better off, there’s no doubt that everyone is better off now than we were when, for example, the economy was collapsing with no end in sight; when we were engaged in two wars with no end in sight; when healthcare was less affordable; when mutual funds and 401(k) retirement plans were losing value as the stock market crashed; and so forth. More of this presently. (Frankly, I hesitate to enumerate all of the catastrophes we faced in 2008 and early 2009 because grouping them together makes each individual item seem less catastrophic.) So how effective were the policies of the Obama administration? Continue…
DailyKos: I think that the answer to the question is that, Yes, we are better off than we were four years ago.
1. The war in Iraq is over.
2. Bin Laden is dead.
3. The Stock Market is up.
4. We are creating new jobs, not losing jobs.
5. We have stopped the increase in medical insurance costs.
6. More people in the USA have medical insurance than ever before.
7. The American automobile industry is stronger than ever.
8. WE are producing more domestic energy than ever.
9. We are working toward new and innovative forms of energy.
Still, wages are frozen for working people. CEO’s are making unprecedented profits. The income disparity in the USA is completely skewed. We Can Do Better. But, not by electing Tea Party and GOP representatives, Senators and Mitt Romney.
The Obama Campaign is tightening up the response to this question — THANK GOD:
David Axelrod: ”Here’s what I can say, Chris,” answered Axelrod, who advises Obama’s reelection campaign. “We are in a better position than we were in the economy in the sense that when the president took office, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, and the quarter before he took office was the worst since the Great Depression. We are [now] in a different place: 29 straight months of job growth and private sector jobs. Are we where we need to be? No.” Axelrod then pointed out that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had failed to outline a specific alternative during his speech at the Republican National Convention last Thursday — a convention that Axelrod called “a terrible failure.” Wallace recited grim statistics reflecting increased unemployment, higher gas prices, more national debt and lower incomes. He put the question to Axelrod again. “I think the average American recognizes it took years to create the crisis that erupted in 2008 and peaked in January 2009,” Axelrod said. “It’s going to take some time to work through it.”
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley: (today) “We are clearly better off as a country because we’re now creating jobs rather than losing them.”
Stephanie Cutter: ”Absolutely. By any measure the country has moved forward over the last four years. It might not be as fast as some people would’ve hoped. The president agrees with that.”
It’s amusing that the Romney campaign is also using the talking point as their response: “If we want a new direction, we need a new president.” NEW DIRECTION? Are you kidding me? Romney-Ryan are indicating they’d go back to the failed policies of the Bush Administration — the exact same policies that took us to the place we were FOUR YEARS AGO.
Juan Cole: Labor Day Question: Are you Better off than You were in 1970?: The real question isn’t whether we are better off than we were four years ago. It takes a long time to recover from burst bubbles and near-depressions (the Japanese have still not recovered from their burst bubble of the early 1990s). The real question is whether the working and middle classes of the United States will go on allowing themselves to be taken advantage of by our super-rich, who are gathering to themselves more and more of the national income. The top 1% owned 25% of the privately held national wealth in the United States in the 1950s, but have 38% of it today. In contrast, real wages per hour for the average worker in the United States, adjusted for inflation, peaked in 1970. We’re now down from that, with a generation and a half blocked from meaningful economic advancement. But, you will say, the US is a much wealthier society now than it was in 1970 or 1990. Where has all the extra money generated by American labor and investment gone? It has gone to the rich. Yes, folks, the rich are taking home a fifth of everything we make as a country each year, up from ten percent in 1970. We are 310 million people. About 3 million get a fifth of the annual income. Those 3 million people are 3 million Mitt Romneys. They want low taxes and they want to get rid of social security, medicare and Obamacare. Continue…