So what does all this data tell us?

First, it’s hard to look at these numbers and say that the U.S. is in the back seat. Rather, they show that although the recovery times may all be slow, the U.S. recovery is less slow than others.

Second, it’s undeniably true that in some areas other nations do better than the United States. Unemployment in Germany, Canada, and Japan is lower and projected to continue to be lower in 2014. In hourly earnings change and productivity shifts, Germany tops the U.S. for 2013 and in 2014 projections.

But it’s also true that German job creation and inflation figures are below those for the United States. Even with the possible exception of Germany, one cannot credibly claim that the U.S. economic response to the recession compares unfavorably to other advanced democracies. All of which raises a logical question: How could a broken, gridlocked, dysfunctional government come out so well when compared to other countries?

Yet this is not the narrative one hears discussed—on either side of the Atlantic.