Have you been hearing the new GOP mantra, “Are you better off now than four years ago?”
It’s a fair question, I think. But those Republicans who are asking the question are supremely hypocritical.
To be honest, they would have to say: “Are you better off now than four years ago? We certainly are.”
Yup. All those folks like Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan, and their Wall Street and corporate backers, are far better off than they were four years ago. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of those key measures of the stock market, was under 8,000 when President Obama took office. Today it is again over 13,000.
What does that mean? It means, in broad terms, that anyone with investments, whether held directly or through pension plans, 401(k) or IRA accounts, has seen their value rise over 60 percent in four years, restoring most of the wealth lost in the closing year of the George W. Bush presidency.
Here are a few financial headlines from last month:
Blue Chips Near a Five-Year High – WSJ.com
U.S. home builder confidence at five-year-high in August – USA Today
S&P 500 up for sixth week; fear index hits five-year low – Yahoo! News
Home Prices Are Stabilizing, Signifying A Housing Market Bottom — Forbes.com
You get the picture. Yes, it does appear the economy is better off than four years ago.
If Mitt Romney were not being the ultimate hypocrite, he would be thanking the president for restoring so much of his personal wealth and that of his traditional Republican base.
The problem which needs to be dealt with now is that those who benefited the most from the recovery to date have not shared those benefits with the rest of the country. Banks have recovered but aren’t making loans and haven’t made headway on clearing up the foreclosure mess. Many large companies are reporting soaring profits but haven’t followed through with new hiring or rising wages. This continues the long slide in the share of the nation’s wealth held by the middle and working classes, a decline that started back in 1950s and has resulted in the concentration of wealth in the top 1%.
To make matters worse, they now want to play on the emotions of those who haven’t enjoyed those same direct benefits of the recovery to promote policies, such as additional tax cuts for the rich, that will simply double-down on the increasing concentration of wealth and dangerous social inequality.
It’s really hard to watch without screaming.
Deep breath. It’s Friday.