'Are You Better Off?' Well, It's Irrelevant

Ezra Klein points out that the president's 'record' doesn't mean a ton
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2012 12:27 PM CDT
An oil truck passes a "now hiring" sign, Wednesday, May 9, 2012, in Kennedy, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(Newser) – Mitt Romney has been feverishly reciting Ronald Regan's famous quote: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" But that's a "dumb campaign question," Ezra Klein writes for Bloomberg, because "four years ago, George W. Bush was still president." Romney himself once said you shouldn't judge presidents until they've had six to 12 months to get policies in place. If you accept that and judge Obama from February 2010 forward, the economy has created 4 million jobs and real wages are up 1.5%.

But even that's meaningless, because it "perpetuates the myth of the imperial president." It assumes that Obama's policies control all, and that Congress has quickly and smoothly implemented them. "But no one who has spent time in Washington these past few years would use the words 'quickly and smoothly' to describe" Congress, and much is beyond Washington's control. Besides, that's last term; the next will bring entirely different challenges. The real question is, "Which ticket will do the most to make you better off four years from now?" Click for Klein's full column. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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