Nobody From Nowhere (@i8dc)

Occasional Common Sense

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

with one comment

There’s a lot of discussion on the Republican side about this.  Think we should be asking this as of today, or as of election day?  Kind of an important difference, since the financial world fell apart before the election.

Here’s the one data point which doesn’t completely flip based on the date of the comparison:

March 14, 2008

Nov 3, 2008

March 14, 2012

Unemployment Rate

4.9%
(2/2008)

6.5%
(10/2008)

8.3%
(2/2012)

Unemployment is still worse than it was on election day 2008.  But look at these data:

March 14, 2008

Nov 3, 2008

March 14, 2012

S&P 500

1,315.48

966.3

1,395.95

Dow Jones IA

12,145.74

9,319.83

13,177.68

Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index

70.8
(2/2008)

57.6
(10/2008)

75.3
(2/2012)

Conference Board Consu­mer Confidence Index

76.4
(2/2008)

38.8
(10/2008)

70.8
(02/2008)

Comparing the data from today and four years ago, looks even, more or less.  But unless there’s another financial meltdown between now and election day, the comparison on that day is going to signficantly favor the President.

It’s also worth noting the impact of government employment austerity since 2008.  If government employee rolls as a share of the population didn’t change since 2008 (not counting additional direct and indirect jobs supported by government spending that’s been cut back), here’s what unemployment would look like:

March 14, 2008

Nov 3, 2008

March 14, 2012

UNRATE w/no change in gov’t jobs since 2/08

4.9%
(2/2008)

6.7%
(10/2008)

7.9%
(2/2012)

In short, I don’t know if Republicans should be pushing the “are you better off than you were four years ago?” line.  As we get closer to election day, the answer is much more likely to be “yes.”

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Written by David Clayton

March 14, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Punditry

One Response

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  1. […] touched on this a couple of months ago here. But this question is worth revisiting, and I expect to do so a few times before November. […]


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