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There’s No Question About It: We Are WAYYY Better Off Than We Were 4 Years Ago

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The question is mostly silly political rhetoric, of course, but you hear it asked (by Willard “Mitt” Romney, Paul Ryan, etc.) nonetheless: “Are we better off than we were 4 years ago?” (Note: actually, the question should be whether we’re better off since President Obama’s policies started kicking in, maybe mid-to-late 2009 to be fair, in which case everything below would only look BETTER than it does). You’ll also hear Republicans claiming that we’re worse off than we were 4 years ago, which only goes to show that they either: a) have absolutely no ability to remember anything; b) have no ability to use “Google”; and/or c) are just lying through their teeth. See below for a short list of all the ways we’re better off, including many categories in which we are WAYYY better off, than we were 4 years ago.

U.S. Crude Oil Production: Up 1.2 million barrels per day (bbl/d) from June 2008 (5.1 million bbl/d) to 6.3 million bbl/d in June 2012. BETTER OFF

Net Oil Imports: About 7.9 million bbl/d in in August 2012, SHARPLY down from around 11.6 million bbl/d in August 2008. WAYYY BETTER OFF

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

Natural Gas Wellhead Price: Just $2.54 per thousand cubic feet in June 2012, compared to $10.36 per thousand cubic feet in June 2008. WAYYY BETTER OFF

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

Gasoline Prices: About $3.75 per gallon in September 2008 (as the economy was in the midst of collapsing); today about $3.90 per gallon (as the economy recovers). WASH

Private Sector Jobs: Losing private sector jobs at more than 400,000 per month in the fall 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. WAYYY 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 markets are at their highest levels since 2007, having bounced all the way back to pre-collapse levels. WAYYY BETTER OFF

Economic Growth: In September 2008, we were in the midst of the Great Recession, with GDP plummeting at a nearly 4% annual rate (and even worse in the fourth quarter of 2008 – THAT is what President Obama inherited!). 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 12 straight quarters. WAYYY BETTER OFF

Economic Confidence Index: According to Gallup, the U.S. economic confidence index was plummeting in September 2008, at about MINUS 50 and falling fast. Today, we’re up sharply, at minus 18, close to the highest level in nearly 5 years. WAYYY BETTER OFF

Job Creation Index: At this time 4 years ago, the job creation index was plummeting, hitting MINUS 10 about the time Dubya slithered out of office. Today? We are at POSITIVE 20 and rising, the highest level since before the financial sector melted down in September 2008. WAYYY 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.” WAYYY BETTER OFF

World Financial Sector: In September 2008, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy (9/15), AIG was plummeting towards insolvency (9/16), and the Bush Administration was scrambling to pass a $700 billion emergency bailout through the purchase of toxic assets (Ben Bernanke said at the time: “f we don’t do this, we may not have an economy on Monday”). Today, the financial system isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s stable, profitable, and to some extent reformed. WAYYY 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. WAYYY 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. WAYYY 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. WAYYY 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. WAYYY 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., and an article in today’s Washington Post indicates that “repeal has gone smoothly, with no adverse effect on morale, recruitment or readiness.” WAYYY 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.”

P.S. If you are a Republican obsessed with the percent of your income going to the government, guess what? That’s right, it turns out that taxes today are sharply lower than they were in Bush’s last 2 years in office. Must be that “socialist” in the White House, huh? Hmmmmm. 🙂