Democrats in Denialby Gerri Willis
If there's one question on the minds of voters right now- it's this- are you better off than you were four years ago? Here's what the President's supporters had to say this weekend.
Biden: "You want to know whether we are better off, I have a bumper sticker for you… Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive"
Stephanie Cutter: "Absolutely"
Brad Woodhouse: "Clearly, we're better off."
Martin O'Malley: "No, but that's not the question of this election."
But it was only four years ago that the President himself made the argument for his own candidacy by asking the same question, whether voters were better off after eight years of President George W. Bush.
“You see, you see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country. We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage, whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma.”
By his own, measure, you'd have to agree Americans are not better off.
In fact, just today we got news food stamp use is at the highest level ever in our history – 46.7 Million.
The proportion of Americans receiving some kind of Federal Government support is at an astonishing 49% - up from 30% under Ronald Reagan.
Then there was this from the President's nomination speech back in 2008.
“We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president...
When the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of go down $2,000, like it has under George W. Bush.
23 million jobs? Sounds like a pipe dream, right? President Obama hasn't come even close to that.
In fact, instead of expanding the numbers of people working, more than 300,000 fewer Americans are working than in 2009.
What's more, middle class incomes are down- way down.
When Obama came to office the median household income was $54,983. By June of this year, it had tumbled to $50,964. That's more than $4,000 in lost real income.
A drop even as gas and food prices has risen.
By every measure of success that Obama laid out in his speech, his administration has failed.
Maybe that's why the President himself rated his performance as "incomplete."
To be sure, the economy was weak when Obama took office but he should have been the natural inheritor of an economic boom, with very little effort.
More usual recoveries result in massive job gains, not a jobless rate stuck at 8% and an economic growth of just 1.7%.
Instead, business operators are fearful, expansion and hiring on the backburner.
A massive tax increase looms.
The debate today isn't how much the economy expands, but whether it expands.
Better off? I don't think so.
Better off? No way.