In the 2012 Presidential election, there are certain narratives been set up, and certain stories trying to be told. Discussions are being framed in a certain way and responded to in a certain way. For example, the Republican party, and especially Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign is trying to frame the narrative a certain way with the voters. He asks them a simple question, “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago.” Around 4 years ago, President Obama took office. Mitt Romney is basically asking, since President Obama assumed office, has your life been better.
There is a response presented by the Democratic party, and especially Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama, to this question. This usually goes along the lines that when President Obama took office that 800,000 jobs were being lost a month, the automobile industry was the brink of market failure, thousands of people were losing their homes, and there were two wars going on. And than they state that after a few months, there have been consistent months of job growth, the auto industry was saved from market failure, and some of the wars have ended. This is basically trying to link that the conditions from which President Obama took on have gotten better since he was elected.
The basic point of the question is this, “Are you better off than you were x years ago”. There might be a better way to frame the question by asking, “Are you better off than you were 6 years ago.” I think most of us would agree that we are not better off than we were 6 years ago. 6 years ago we were gaining jobs each month, the automobile industry was fine, many people were not losing their homes, the banking industry was fine, but we still had two wars going on. The point becomes, the Obama administration has not gotten us back to the conditions before the Housing market collapse. The economy is not better off than it was in those times, and we are not even close to getting the economy or employment back to the same level. In fact, the median wage of the middle class is less than it was 6 years ago.
The whole point of electing President Obama was based on getting back to previous economic conditions, and in that time we have not come close to getting back to the pre-recession times. So when it comes to the question of “Are you better off than you were 6 years ago?”, the obvious answer is “not even close”.