When times are bad, Americans have traditionally persevered with optimis; we believe we can change and make it better, unlike other more fatalistic cultures. The media's use of terms like "New Normal" and "Great Recession" have fostered a fatalism and tested our faith in our future, as if American decline and economic misery are Acts of Nature that cant be changed.
Of course, not every data point of our lousy economy can be laid at Obama's feet, but Team Obama lays out a contrary position that is equally invalid, that Obama inherited a horrible economy and labored mightily to achieve what little (zero?) progress we have. This view drives the fatalistic narrative that it couldn't be better. No full employment, no zippy economic growth. We are left to ask: "is this as good as it gets?"
No, it's not. We CAN do better. It is therefore thrilling that Romney/Ryan have come out charging with a message that explicitly challenges despair, while nailing Obama on his economic failure; ironically, it's the same message that Obama offered in 2008 - hope and change. Change our course now, and American revival and the hope of better times awaits. Paul Ryan expressed it well:
“Over the years I have seen and heard from a lot from families, from a lot of those who are running small businesses, and from people who are in need. But what I have heard lately, that’s what troubles me the most. There is something different in their voice and in their words. What I hear from them are diminished dreams, lowered expectations, uncertain futures.”
“I hear some people say that this is just ‘the new normal.’ High unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt is not a new normal … And next January, our economy will begin a comeback with the Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will lead to more jobs and more take-home pay for working Americans.”
This is exactly the right message with the right tenor and tone - Romney/Ryan to put the onus on Obama himself for the weak economy, explaining that it's not the way it has to be. Ryan reminds Americans that - no, this is not as good as it gets, we CAN do better, so long as we shake off the failures of Obamanomics.
How bad are those failures? Some useful facts about the Obama economy - the Obama Depression - that has been making the rounds:
1. Federal debt has increased by 43% from $10.6 trillion to $15 trillion.
2. Americans living in poverty have increased by 16% from 39.8 million to 46.2 million.
3. Total unemployment (U6) has increased by 68% from 13.7 million to 23 million.
4. Price of gasoline has DOUBLED from $1.86/gal to $3.75/gal.
5. Americans on food stamps have increased 42% from 31.8 million to 45.2 million.
6. Home foreclosures per year have increased by 34% from 850,000 to 1,140,000.
7. Total bankruptcy filings per year have increased by 42% from 1,117,641 to 1,593,081.
8. Median Household incomes have declined by 4%.
9. Average selling price of new homes has declined by 10%.
10. US dollar compared to foreign currencies has declined by 8.7%. [US dollar index of 85.9 in Jan 2009 to 78.5 in Dec 2011.]
11. US dollar compared to gold has declined 105%. [ $855/ounce to $1750/ounce]