NBC wonders: Are we better off than we were four years ago?

posted at 9:46 pm on January 17, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Chuck Todd did a segment on this subject this morning on “The Daily Rundown,” and I’m trying to run down video. As we prepare to start our second four years of President Barack Obama, NBC grades him by the numbers. Even NBC can only muster two paragraphs of semi-positive spin before it moves onto the bad. Here’s the good:

The Dow Jones Industrial average is up 5,550 points since then. The economy is growing (instead of contracting). Consumer confidence has nearly doubled (though it remains below where it was before the Great Recession). And a larger percentage of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction (but a majority still think it’s on the wrong track).

And, the bad:

On the other hand, there’s data indicating that the nation isn’t better off than it was four years ago – and that the Great Recession continues to take a toll on families. Median household income (adjusted for inflation) is lower than it was in 2009. And more Americans live below the poverty level than they did four years ago.

There are also far more Americans on food stamps than before.

And, the meh:

And some numbers are exactly the same. The current unemployment rate is at 7.8%, which is where it was in Jan. 2009 (though it’s down from a high of 10% in Oct. 2009). And right now, there are roughly 49 million Americans without health insurance, which is identical to where it was in 2009. (The health-insurance mandate under the health-care law doesn’t kick in until 2014.)

What NBC doesn’t connect to these mostly depressing numbers is the cost-benefit analysis. But if you delve a little into their list of numbers, you’ll find this one:

The federal public debt has increased from $10.6 trillion in Jan. 2009 to $16.4 trillion now.

So, there’s that. Six trillion dollars, and we have the exact same unemployment rate (with the bonus of a much smaller workforce), no more people with health insurance even though Obama has put the nation and the health care system through the wringer implementing his foolproof, expensive plan to get us all insured, and more people in poverty and on food stamps.

No wonder people aren’t champing at the bit to use their Inauguration tickets, and instead are selling them on eBay and Craigslist. That bit of entrepreneurialism is swiftly being stopped. But check out the sad listings for an answer to whether we’re living in the world of prosperity and hope we were promised:

“Can’t go because my crone’s [sic] disease is acting up.”

“I am poor and gotta pay the bills.”

” … my grandmothercannot stand for that long and she is flying into town so I will watch it with her seated somewhere in DC.”

“I put in a lot of volunteer hours to get these, but I would also like to continue to be able to pay rent.”

“I’m willing to trade my 2 swearing –in tickets for an Ipad 3 or 4…. I need the Ipad for school.”

“I don’t have much money because I am a college student and am trying to make it from mid-America to Washington DC as well as afford a motel.”

“Unfortunately I cannot go because I have to workso these tickets won’t be used.”

“Would love to attend, but would rather pay off student debt.”

The president has found at least eight people whose lives are better these days:

President Barack Obama is featuring eight Americans as “citizen co-chairs” of his inauguration, a new role created to highlight his first-term accomplishments with examples of lives that have either been improved by his actions or inspired his presidency.

The honorees announced Thursday include a woman with a brain tumor who no longer is denied health care for a pre-existing condition; an autoworker who got her job back after the General Motors bailout; and a gay pilot-in-training kicked out of the Air Force before the president repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

There are, as yet, no reports of seven-year-old Brady Campaigners on the dais, but there’s still time.

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