Four More Years!

Interesting table from the people at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) based on Ronald Reagan’s famous “are you better off than you were four years ago” question (accessed at Ezra Kleins blog).  It is unbelievable that this election is even close, much less virtually tied.  Ezra suggests this is a result of the “tribal” nature of politics, which may be true. But I think it more the result of the faith-based ideology of the neoconservative movement that, like most faith-based movements, does not rely on facts or relative merit for decision making, but rather on the passion of the belief. That, and the latent racism of many moderates in both parties that simply will not allow them to vote for a Black man.

Economic Indicator 2000 2008
Unemployment rate Image4.0% 6.1%
Inflation rate Image3.3% 5.4%
Job Growth (preceding 8 years)
Total nonfarm employment Image21.4% 4.3%
Private sector employment Image23.6% 3.6%
Manufacturing employment Image2.9% -22.2%
Employment rate (% of population)
All, age 16 and older Image64.4% 62.6%
Men, age 16 and older Image71.9% 69.1%
Women, age 16 and older Image57.5% 56.5%
Real wage growth (preceding 8 years) Image8.2% 1.8%
Minimum wage (July 2008$) Image$6.58 $6.55
Family income
Median, 2007$ $61,083 Image$61,355
Growth (preceding 8 years) Image14.7% 0.4%
Rate (% of population) Image11.3% 12.5%
People in poverty (millions) Image31.6 37.3
Uninsured (health insurance)
Rate (% of population) Image14.0% 15.3%
People without insurance  (millions) Image38.7 45.7
Personal savings (% of disposable income) Image2.3% 0.6%
College tuition (average per year, 2007$)
Private four-year college Image$19,337 $23,712
Public four-year college Image$4,221 $6,185
Gasoline (gallon, 2008$) Image$2.03 $4.09
GDP growth (preceding 8 years) Image34.2% 19.6%
Productivity growth (preceding 8 years) 15.9% Image21.9%
Trade balance (% of GDP) Image-3.9% -5.1%
Federal debt (% of GDP) Image57.3% 65.5%
Net foreign debt (% of GDP) Image13.6% 17.9%

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