Obama: We’re better off with my policies than four years ago

posted at 12:05 pm on November 2, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

As Jim Geraghty says, it all depends on your definition of “better.”  Do we have more jobs?  No.  Do we have lower unemployment?  No.  Do we have a more balanced federal budget? No.  Do we have increasing household income? No.

Hope and change, baby!

Well, you know, I think we are better off now than we would have been if I hadn’t taken all the steps that we took. I don’t think the country is stronger yet then it was when the economy was still booming and we didn’t have Wall Street crisis, and we didn’t have the housing bubble burst. But, we’ve made steady progress, we just need to make more.

The Hill asked John Boehner to comment, and let’s just say that Obama’s remarks caught him by surprise:

“Are you kidding me?!” Boehner said loudly in response to a reporter’s question on the comment. “Why don’t you go ask the 14 million Americans who are out of work whether they’re better off today than they were four years ago?” …

Boehner spoke to reporters after a conference meeting in which he rallied House Republicans around the message that while the lower chamber is taking action on jobs legislation, the Senate is dithering and the president is campaigning.

Citing the so-called “Forgotten 15” House-passed bipartisan bills that have been shelved in the Senate, Boehner told his conference, according to a source in the room: “These jobs bills are stuck in the Senate because we have a president who is disengaged from the legislative process. Instead of engaging in the legislative process, the president has been campaigning. If the president would get more engaged and call on the Senate to get moving, there’s a lot more we could get done this year on jobs for the American people.”

Unfortunately no, the President isn’t kidding — not himself, and not anyone else,  but he’s also not fooling anyone, either. Just to be thorough, let’s take one last look at this chart showing the trajectories of recovery in all post-WWII recessions to get an idea of just how well Obamanomics has worked out:

jobs, recession, recovery, obama

And note that this doesn’t show job growth in relation to population growth, just raw job growth.  And we’re still just barely clearing the job level from the recovery point.

Update: Added the second video (h/t Don Seymour), and the link to Jim.

Update II: The argument that we’re better off than we would have been without Obama’s policies — which one e-mailer has made to me — also falls apart when looking at the patterns of other recoveries.  In the 1980s, we switched to pro-growth economic policies, lowered long-term tax rates,  and rolled back regulation.  Obamanomics consists of short-term gimmicky spending and tax credits while increasing regulation.  It’s very obvious which policy sets work better in boosting recovery and job growth, so no, even in that formulation, we’re not better off with Obama’s policies than without them.

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Del Dolemonte on November 2, 2011 at 1:11 PM

That still wouldn’t raise home values in the face of a catastrophic bubble bursting. Anyone expecting that to happen, even now, is dreaming.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Stating a hypothetical as fact? That’s the Leftist Way! Certainly not based in Reality.

Remember, not all home values in the US have fallen. And that comes from someone in the real estate sector.

The depressed home values in Democrat-run cities will probably never recover. But in my market area in New Hampshire, we have plenty of properties that never had declines in home values, especially properties on lakes and ponds and those with mountain views.

Del Dolemonte on November 2, 2011 at 1:24 PM

By his definition, yes, we are. He’s doing exactly what he, Pelosi, and Reid promised to do. Destroy us.

SouthernGent on November 2, 2011 at 1:25 PM

But that’s what you Leftists do best, isn’t it?

Del Dolemonte on November 2, 2011 at 1:11 PM

I hear ernesto is quite popular with the OWS crowd…

… he doesn’t mind the scabies.

Seven Percent Solution on November 2, 2011 at 1:25 PM

That still wouldn’t raise home values in the face of a catastrophic bubble bursting. Anyone expecting that to happen, even now, is dreaming.

ernesto on November 2, 2011 at 1:16 PM

At least we know what caused it…

Seven Percent Solution on November 2, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Do we have more jobs? No. Do we have lower unemployment? No. Do we have a more balanced federal budget? No. Do we have increasing household income? No.

But we have Obama!!!!

Reagan was famous for asking the question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” That was because he knew what the answer would be.

Obama doesn’t dare ask this as a question, because he knows what the answer will be.

That’s why he has to tell us.

didymus on November 2, 2011 at 1:30 PM

It is really enjoyable to listen to Boehner’s response with the volume turned way up, combined with John’s very appropriate scowl.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME ???????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.”
Thanks John, I needed that. :)

3dpuzzman on November 2, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Wait a minute this guy is CLEARLY mentally deficient. He said a week or two ago that we weren’t better off!!!!!!!!!

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/10/03/obama_american_people_not_better_off_than_they_were_four_years_ago.html

xler8bmw on November 2, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Thanks to Bill Gates, productivity skyrocketed during the 90s, resulting in businesses getting more cash to expand, resulting in more hiring.
Productivity has been increasing since the industrial revolution, & with every increase, the labor market shifts but remains healthy.

itsnotaboutme on November 2, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Seriously? You give Bill Gates credit for the rise of the IBM PC-compatible clone market and the internet?

If so, you’re discrediting your own argument.

didymus on November 2, 2011 at 1:41 PM

At least we know what caused it…

Seven Percent Solution on November 2, 2011 at 1:28 PM

I see bayam is still on that thread, desperately trying to rewrite history…

Del Dolemonte on November 2, 2011 at 1:43 PM

It’s a myth that productivity boosts unemployment.
Thanks to Bill Gates, productivity skyrocketed during the 90s, resulting in businesses getting more cash to expand, resulting in more hiring.
Productivity has been increasing since the industrial revolution, & with every increase, the labor market shifts but remains healthy.

itsnotaboutme on November 2, 2011 at 12:55 PM

I never said that productivity boost unemployment, i said it can slow the growth of employment. This is especially true in a slow growth economy (not an issue in a high growth economy since new businesses are created more frequently).

I think a better argument against my point is that regulation of the economy has been constantly increasing; thus, each recovery is slower than the last since less new businesses are created.

WashJeff on November 2, 2011 at 1:46 PM

And another one bites the dust: you folks here in the Northeast are no doubt familiar with the late Sy Syms, who founded the discount clothing retail company that bears his name in 1958. Marcy Syms just announced they’re going out of business, blaming tightening credit.

Ironically, their famous motto was “an educated consumer is our best customer.”

Del Dolemonte on November 2, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Well, you know, I think we are better off now than we would have been if I hadn’t taken all the steps that we took.

Define ‘we’.

Obama, and spouse, and mother in law, are doing rather well, don’t you think? The leadership of the democrat party, and loyal party members who score grant money, or loan guarantees are doing pretty well. Union labor leaders seem to be doing ok. Political activists on the left seem to find donations readily. Perhaps those same trust fund radicals are seeing their trust funds shrinking, especially if they are heavily invested in Greek, or European banks. Perhaps that is why they are so upset with the evil bankers; their stock portfolios took a big hit in the economic collapse, eh? Still, those political activists seem to find plenty of funding for their protests, so they’re doing ok.

The UAW is certainly doing a lot better with Obama’s bailout than they would have if GM had gone through bankruptcy and voided those union contracts with generous pensions.

Government employees, and their generous pay packages were certainly bailed out when Obama gave BILLIONS of dollars to state and local governments (democrats) so they could keep union teachers, and public sector union members employed. Pell grants continue…..Food stamp administrators seem to be doing just find meeting the demand for government assistance. Good thing Obama kept all those government bureaucrats employed, eh? Otherwise, there wouldn’t be enough staff to handle the work load.

So, ya, Obama is exactly right, if you understand the ‘we’ he is talking about.

Skandia Recluse on November 2, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Hey Barry, is your buddy Jon Corzine better off now than he was four years ago?

teke184 on November 2, 2011 at 12:13 PM

He will be after he picks up his $12.1 million dollar separation severance from his contract with MF Global…sickening isn’t it….

PatriotRider on November 2, 2011 at 12:40 PM

I was looking at things from another angle…

Thanks to Barry, he’s no longer Governor of New Jersey and was placed at MF Global as Barry’s guy on Wall Street to act as his fundraiser for 2012.

That didn’t quite work out as intended, as Corzine tanked MFG in less than a year and could potentially be looking at jail time depending what happened with the firm misappropriating hundreds of millions of dollars in client money.

Yes, he’s getting a $12 million golden parachute, but he’s now toxic to both Wall Street AND the Dems. That doesn’t bode well for him if he uses the same judgment in his personal finances that he did as Governor of NJ and head of MFG.

teke184 on November 2, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Skandia Recluse on November 2, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Not to mention the hardcore progressive/liberal/leftist True Believers who, in the words of Ayn Rand, are “after power and mean to get it”.

They are doing very well indeed under The One.

So yes, by His standards, “we” are better off. Now that The Right People Are In Charge. And won’t stand for any backtalk from us peons’.

Rather like the old Tass and Pravda, everything The One says makes perfect sense, once you break the code.

clear ether

eon

eon on November 2, 2011 at 3:04 PM

What ObaMao said at the Key Bridge today to drum up support for his slush-fund bill is beyond audacious, and he attacks Boehner at the same time. Is O not aware of how many real jobs bills passed by the House are languishing on Reid’s desk? Put a firecracker under Reid, you big dope O!
http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/1111/godliness_and_joblessness_8f477498-57a2-483d-9416-b6aa6c9236b5.html

onlineanalyst on November 2, 2011 at 3:15 PM

A trip to the grocery store would demonstrate quite clearly that we are not better off than before. Food and fuel costs have risen, and less can be purchased with inflated dollars.

onlineanalyst on November 2, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Skandia Recluse on November 2, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Excellent summation!

onlineanalyst on November 2, 2011 at 3:31 PM

I can’t believe that I’m defending Obama, but this is the sloppiest article I’ve ever seen from Ed Morrissey, who is normally the most careful and thoughtful commentator.

The question was whether we’re better off, and Obama took pains to have his answer deflect the question by comparing how this are with how they would have been without his programs, not a straight comparison of then and now. Sure, nobody with any sense would believe that his programs saved us from a worse fate, but it’s a statement that can’t be disproved without creating a parallel universe to provide the comparison.

Sowell Disciple on November 2, 2011 at 3:49 PM

If he says it, his mindless lemming followers believe it, and his blindly faithful press army repeats it. Rinse, repeat. Win in 2012.

cannonball on November 2, 2011 at 4:25 PM

This IG report makes me very angry, and the linked piece at The Hill makes me even angrier.
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/282042/doe-watchdog-shovel-ready-not-realistic-expectation-andrew-stiles

The government has no business taking the role of venture capitalism with our tax dollars.

onlineanalyst on November 2, 2011 at 4:37 PM

I think we are better off now than we would have been if I hadn’t taken all the steps that we took.

Absolutely correct.

People who are disagreeing with this statement seem to me under the mistaken impression that Obama was including America as a whole in the “we”, when he was really only talking about his family and friends.

malclave on November 2, 2011 at 4:45 PM

“We” as in “all of my friends and cronies”? Maybe.

krome on November 2, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Obama did promise to end the boom to bust business cycle!
Promise kept!
We are stuck in a permanent bust cycle.

DSchoen on November 2, 2011 at 9:04 PM

Was he comparing us to Mexico? /s
Oil Can on November 2, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Mexico has a 4.9% unemployment.
All those deportations people who have been ordered to be deported show up for the free ride back to Mexico!

Illegals Crossing Back Into Mexico for Better Life – Mexico’s 4.9% vs …
conservativedailynews.com/…/illegals-crossing-back-into-mexico-for…Cached

Aug 1, 2011 – Well, Obama has had many failures since taking office with high debt, and high unemployment numbers. But there is one thing he is …

an boob incompetente!

DSchoen on November 2, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Wait a minute this guy is CLEARLY mentally deficient. He said a week or two ago that we weren’t better off!!!!!!!!!

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/10/03/obama_american_people_not_better_off_than_they_were_four_years_ago.html

xler8bmw on November 2, 2011 at 1:39 PM

You keep forgetting the short shelf life of all of Obama’s statements. Now measured in microseconds.

Extrafishy on November 3, 2011 at 8:10 AM

There is no accountability of personal actions to a narcissist. Obama takes narcissism to another level. He will never go easy because it is his right to rule, not be be judged and elected by those who are too inferior to understand his omnipotence. The saddest part is there are minions who share this mental disorder.The elitests think the vast majorities are too common to be significant on any level amd must controlled for their own good.They and only they are the chosen few.

volsense on November 3, 2011 at 9:31 AM

He didn’t say we are better off now that when he took office. Basically, he’s saying that we’d be in even worse shape without his policies.

In the video, as quoted above, he said:

Well, you know, I think we are better off now than we would have been if I hadn’t taken all the steps that we took.

That’s a far cry from the thread title:

Obama: We’re better off with my policies than four years ago

While I couldn’t disagree more with the man that his policies have improved things at all over what they would have been without them, I have a huge problem with twisting what he says into something he didn’t say.

We don’t need to lie about what he says. We just need to hold him accountable.

EconomicNeocon on November 3, 2011 at 10:51 AM