Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Are you better off than you were 8 years ago?

Posted by sanityinjection on August 27, 2008

That’s the question that always gets asked around election time. The assumption is that if voters feel they are better off (generally, but specifically in an economic sense) than they were when the incumbent took office, they will vote for the party in power. If not, they’ll vote for the other party. This conventional wisdom was firmly established in 1980 when voters punished President Carter and the Democrats for the oil shocks and general economic malaise of the late 1970s.

In 2008, the assumption is that the voters will similarly punish the Republican party for the status of the economy. But according to Investor’s Business Daily, looking strictly at incomes, Americans are in fact better off economically than they were when George Bush took office:

http://ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=304643903414901

Of course, this will not be a compelling argument to someone who has lost their job or had their home foreclosed. Yet there does seem to be a fair amount of evidence that although certain sectors of the economy are struggling, and high oil prices are a challenge for everybody, viewed as a whole things are not nearly as bad as the media would have us believe. Our current oil crisis, in real terms, pales before the oil shocks of the 70s, and our economy is far more robust than in the days of “stagflation”. We have had only one quarter of negative growth – not enough to be technically a recession.

The truth is that the President has much less of an impact, and deserves far less of the credit or blame for economic success or failure, than most people realize.

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