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.
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:
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.