Are you better off now than you were four years ago? With the economy ranking as the top issue among voters, Christine Romans breaks down economic indicators to try to answer the big question in this year's presidential election.
There is an answer to the question "Are you better off than four years ago?" It is differentiating between recovering from a recession and recovering from a near depression.
A typical recession is a slowdown in business activity. What we experienced in 2008 was obviously more than that. 2008 was a near collapse of the whole economic system in the U.S. Not only did business activity nosedive at that time (forget about slowdown), but the banking system, financial market, auto industry, real estate industry and many others were all shaken to their very foundation. The survivability itself of many key industries were in question and we did not know if they would make it. We were on the brink of the second Great Depression. As everyone agreed at that time regardless of politics, our nation faced the worst economic crisis in a hundred years.
Recovering from a recession means restoring business activity. Recovering from a near depression means so much more - it requires both healing the economic system itself as well as restoring business activity.
Business activity cannot be restored without first fixing the economic system that allows for any business activity. What has occurred over the past four years is that America's economic system has made major progress in healing: Banks rebounded from nearly going under to being stable and lending again. Financial markets have skyrocketed, going from its pre-depression low of 6,600 to today's 13,000. The U.S. auto industry has come roaring back and is again dominating domestic sales. The housing industry is finally coming to life. Etc.
So are we better off than we were four years ago? Yes, we are. Our – and the world's - economic system has survived and continues to rebound. This is the necessary first step. It is only with the progress in the healing of the economic system that business activity has a chance to rebound. As it does, our challenges with unemployment, etc. can finally be resolved.
Better off statistics: As I recall from my accounting/statistics class, the Median is the middle number in a list arranged from lowest to highest. Not the Average/Mean. Not a number to place a bet on. Play with a list of 9 numbers from 50,000 to 1,000,000 and see.
You imply that in the last 2 years jobs have been created but no jobs have been lost. Has anyone taken a job with lower pay and less benefits.
I would not have started SS at 63 with only 82% of my full SS at 66 if I could have found a job or countinued unemployment benefits past 26 weeks.
This is the best piece I have seen explaining the economy without bias or political benefit.
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