For the 23 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed or have dropped out of the work force altogether, the answer, of course, is “no.”
Indeed, with stagnant or falling incomes, lower home values and the rising cost of basic necessities, even folks fortunate enough to have jobs tend to answer the question in the negative.
Obama supporters understand this. They know that if this election is a referendum on whether we are today better off, the president will lose.
So for months, they ignored the question. Instead, Obama supporters attacked Bain Capital, mocked Ann Romney’s dressage hobby and accused Mitt Romney of being a felon.
When these divisive and deceptive tactics failed, they shifted strategy and rewrote the question:
“Are you better off today than if Barack Obama had not become president?”
Unlike Romney’s question, the answer to which is largely objective and quantifiable, Obama’s question is hypothetical, allowing voters the flexibility to fantasize success where there is only failure.
To support this fantasy, the campaign relies on two critical distortions: the claim that Obama “created” 4.5 million jobs and the claim that he “saved” the auto industry.
Although it’s true that we have created some new jobs, the 4.5 million figure fails to account for the millions of jobs lost during Obama’s presidency or for the significant increase in the working-age population since January 2009. Bottom line: There are fewer people working now than when Obama took office.