From an email by an annonymous author on redalert.wmd.com comes the following comparisons:
Ever since Ronald Reagan asked the American public in a 1980 presidential debate with Jimmy Carter, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" the question has become a litmus test for judging the economic success of a presidency.
Last week, an e-mail began circulating on the Internet asking, "Are you better off after two years of Barack Obama?"
The table below accompanying the e-mail made it clear that on a wide variety of economic measures, the American public has done poorly during the first two years of the Obama presidency.
Just scan the chart – gasoline today is $3.10 a gallon, but it was $1.83 a gallon in January 2009, when Obama took office as president, a 69.6 percent increase.
Gold has also increased 60 percent, going from $853/ounce in 2009 to almost $1,370/ounce today.
The number of Americans on food stamps has increased from 32 million in 2009 to 43 million today, a 35 percent increase.
The number of long-term unemployed has gone from 2.6 million in 2009 to 6.4 million today, a 146 percent increase.
U.S. debt has gone from $10.627 trillion in January 2009, to $14.052 today, an increase of 32.2 percent.
The anonymous author of the e-mail notes: "In the last two years we have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation's history. Over 27 times as fast. Metaphorically speaking, if you are driving in the right lane doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane. 27 times faster, it would be doing 7,555 MPH!"
|January 2009||Today||Percent change|
|Average retail price/gallon of gas in U.S.||$1.83||$3.104||69.6%|
|Crude oil, European Brent (barrel)||$43.48||$99.02||127.7%|
|Crude oil, Wext Texas Inter. (barrel)||$38.74||$91.38||135.9%|
|Gold: London (per troy oz.)||$853.25||$1,369.50||60.5%|
|Corn, No. 2 yellow, Central Il.||$3.56||$6.33||78.1%|
|Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, Il.||$9.66||$13.75||42.3%|
|Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb. fob||$13.37||$35.39||164.7%|
|Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall||7.6%||9.4%||23.7%|
|Unemployment rate, blacks||12.6%||15.8%||25.4%|
|Number of unemployed||11,616,000||14,485,000||24.7%|
|Number of federal employees, ex-military (curr = 12/10 prelim)||2,779,000||2,840,000||2.2%|
|Real median household income (2008 versus 2009)||$50,112||$49,777||-0.7%|
|Number of food stamp recipients (curr = 10/10)||31,983,716||43,200,878||35.1%|
|Number of unemployment benefit recipients (curre = 12/10)||7,526,598||9,193,838||22.2%|
|Number of long-term unemployed||2,600,000||6,400,000||146.2%|
|Poverty rate, individuals (2008 versus 2009)||13.2%||14.3%||8.3%|
|People in poverty in U.S. (2008 versus 2009)||39,800,000||43,600,000||9.5%|
|U.S. rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings||5||9||n/a|
|Present Situation Index (curr = 12/10)||29.9||23.5||-21.4%|
|Failed banks (curr = 2010 + 2011 to date)||140||164||17.1%|
|U.S. dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate||89.76||82.03||-8.6%|
|U.S. money supply, M1, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim)||1,575.1||1,865.7||18.4%|
|U.S. money supply, M2, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim)||8,310.9||8,852.3||6.5%|
|National debt, in trillions||$10.627||$14.052||32.2%|
Sources: 1) U.S. Energy Information Administration; 2) Wall Street Journal; 3) Bureau of Labor Statistics; 4) Census Bureau; 5) USDA; 6) U.S. Department of Labor; 7) FHFA; 8) Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller; 9) RealtyTrac; 10) Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal; 11) The Conference Board; 12) FDIC; 13) Federal Reserve; 14) U.S. Treasury
If this chart is any indication, Barack Obama will have a very difficult time in running for re-election in 2012.
Obama will undoubtedly argue that the economy would be worse had he not taken the steps he took – to implement massive deficit spending through the stimulus program he put in place shortly after taking office.
Still, presidents tend to be judged by actual accomplishments, not relative processes of making the economic condition of the American people "less bad that it would have been otherwise."