Dear Governor Romney,
During your RNC speech, and several times over the course of your political campaign, I've heard you utter an old question, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?". I have to say that this question was especially intriguing since the first time I heard it was during the first Presidential election I was allowed to legally vote in...the 1980 race between Ronald Reagan and President Jimmy Carter. It was an effective center-piece of Reagan's campaign; you're now trying to portray both yourself as the "new" Reagan, and our economy as being as bad as it was in 1980.
Governor Romney, neither is an accurate portrayal. You are no Ronald Reagan, and this is nothing like 1980.
I've done a lot of research, so that I could say that I'd honestly considered your question, and I'll share what I've found. But first, let me make one important point: your question, sir, is not a fair question. But then, you already know that, right? If you wanted to ask a fair question, or suggest a fair review of President Obama's record, you would suggest people compare where they are today with how they were at the lowest point of this recent recession. Four years ago, you see, we weren't yet fully engulfed in the recession...we were still sliding downward and hadn't hit bottom. The Republican leadership at the time had set the stage for what has since been called "the greatest recession in American history", and seemed completely incapable of cleaning up the mess they had created. Just prior to leaving office, they passed a bill that required massive spending; the bailout's that it mandated would not affect then President Bush's record, but President Obama's. It was, in effect, a preemptive strike against the winner of the recent 2008 election.
To honestly answer your question, Governor, I did a little research. My facts are drawn from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and accurately reflect the past four years. You may want to read them, if you ever get a chance.
Here, then, are the results of my research:
During 2008, as the recession began, our national unemployment rate rose over 68%, from 4.9% to 7.2%. As the recession deepened, unemployment continued to rise until October of 2009, where it topped out at 10.2%. This was just 8 months after President Obama took office.
Since that time, the actions of our current administration have brought unemployment rates down to the current 8.3%, or a reduction of over 20%.
Summary: A little worse than exactly four years ago, but much better than the lowest point of the recession.
Income & Prices
2008 10/2009* 2012 (or latest reporting data)
Corporate Profits: $1.2 Trillion $1.4T $1.9 Trillion
DJIA 13,044 9,035 13,089
Inflation 4.3% 5.2% 2.3%
Household Debt 18.4% 18.5% 15.9%
Mortgage Rates 5.76% 5.06% 3.91%
Median Home Price $232,400 $208,600 $235,700
Gas Prices $3.16 $1.74 $3.73
Ex, Home Sales 4.2 Million 3.8 Million 4.6 Million
*10/2009 is generally accepted as the lowest point of the recession
National Debt** 2008 10/2009* 2012 (or latest reporting data)
Federal Discretionary Spending as percent of GDP:
7.9% 8.9% 8.5%
Fed. Mandatory Spending as percent of GDP:
11.1% 15.0% 14.4%
Annual Federal Deficit $458 Billion $1.41 Trillion $1.33 Trillion
** It is important to note that the rises in all these numbers, as shown in the 10/2009 column, were brought about by legislation passed during the Bush administration, and, as law, could not be changed by the Obama administration.
I could keep going, but I think I've adequately represented the results of my research.
So, in answer to your question, Governor Romney, as to whether I am "better off now than four years ago?", I can honestly say the following:
Yes. Based on facts, I have found that President Obama's team has effectively dealt with the recession, and the Republican-mandated Federal spending of 2009.
Homes (on average) are worth more...
More homes are being sold...
Mortgage rates are lower...
Inflation is lower...
The Stock Market is higher...
Household Debt is lower...
Corporate Profits are higher...
Inflation is half of what it was...
The sky-rocketing rate of unemployment of 2008 has been controlled, and even brought down.
while all the Federal spending numbers are too high, President Obama has lowered them and is moving in the right direction.
So, yes, Governor Romney, I AM better off than I was four years ago, and I see NO REASON to change administrations. But, hey...thanks for asking!