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Are We Better Off Than We Were 4 Years Ago? Let Us Count the Ways!

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Gasoline Prices: Over $4 per gallon in June and July 2008; today about $3.40 per gallon. BETTER OFF

U.S. Crude Oil Production: Up 1 million barrels per day (bbl/d) from April 2008 (5.1 million bbl/d) to 6.1 million bbl/d in April 2012. BETTER OFF

Net Oil Imports: About 8.3 million bbl/d in in June 2012, waayyyy down from around 11.8 million bbl/d in July 2008. BETTER OFF

Natural Gas Production: Up sharply, to around 2 trillion cubic feet per month in early 2012, compared to about 1.6-1.7 trillion cubic feet per month in early 2008. BETTER OFF

Natural Gas Wellhead Price: Just $1.89 per thousand cubic feet in April 2012, compared to $8.87 per thousand cubic feet in April 2008 (and rising; it hit $10.79 in July 2008). BETTER OFF

Wind and Solar Power Production: Huge increases — more than double – since 2008 for both wind and solar. And growing fast! BETTER OFF

Private Sector Jobs: Losing private sector jobs at more than 200,000 per month in the summer of 2008, accelerating to losses of more than 800,000 jobs per month in January 2009 (Bush’s last month in office). Today, we’ve been gaining private sector jobs since April 2010. BETTER OFF

Stock Market:  2008 was “the third worst since the Dow was inaugurated in 1896,” with the Dow down 33.8% (en route to a low of about 6,500). Today, the Dow has bounced almost all the way back to pre-collapse levels. BETTER OFF

Economic Growth: In July 2008, we were in the midst of the Great Recession, with GDP actually falling for the year. Today, we’re in a recovery, albeit not fast enough (thanks Republicans for obstructing many measures that could have helped matters!), with GDP growth for 11 straight quarters. BETTER OFF

U.S. Housing Market: Housing prices “started to decline in 2006 and 2007,” with “the Case-Shiller home price index report[ing] its largest price drop in its history” on December 30, 2008. Today, the U.S. housing market has stabilized and is slowly recovering from the burst “bubble.” BETTER OFF

Health Care: In July 2008, your kids couldn’t stay on your policy through the age of 26, the donut hole was wide open, pre-existing condition exclusions were alive and well, we still had to pay for many preventive services that are now free, and we were most definitely NOT on our way to providing all Americans with health care coverage. Today, that’s all changed/changing for the better. BETTER OFF

Auto industry: In deep trouble in the summer of 2008, on the way towards disastrous bankruptcy (which Mitt Romney advocated, by the way). Today, the U.S. auto industry is thriving, profitable, creating jobs, etc. BETTER OFF

Osama bin Laden/Al Qaeda: Bin Laden and other key Al Qaeda leaders who were alive in July 2008 are no longer with us today. Today, as a result of relentless U.S. military and other actions against it under President Obama, Al Qaeda has been decimated. BETTER OFF

Iraq War: The war was ongoing, U.S. troops were still there, in July 2008. Today, the war’s over and we’re outta there. BETTER OFF

Anti-LGBT Discrimination: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was alive and well in July 2008. Same-sex partners of federal employees did NOT receive key benefits that other employees got. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act had NOT been signed into law. Etc., etc. Today, LGBT Americans are far better off than they were under Bush, Cheney et al. Not even close. BETTER OFF

Feel free to add your “better off” items in the comments section below. Honestly, it’s hard to think of any areas where we’re worse off than we were 4 years ago, and in many of those cases, it’s the result of Republican obstructionism and desire for President Obama to “fail.”

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