4 Years Later, Is America Better Off?

4 years ago, America made a decision to elect a President. How did we do? Are we better off? Are we worse off?

I’m a business guy so I like measuring things related to performance. Like many, I tend to use comparative analysis to answer simple questions related to what can be considered as complex issues. Questions like: “Am I better off than I used to be? Questions like: “How did I perform in this period relative to my performance over a similar period?”

I, like you, know how getting answers to these questions will add clarity and purpose while also confirming direction. I, like you, can then use the answers to the closed-end questions to understanding trends, track results, and make intelligent decisions.

It’s election time in America and it’s time for all of us to ask THE question: Is America better off in 2012 than we were in 2011? ARE YOU BETTER OFF TODAY THAN YOU WERE 4 YEARS AGO?”

The test: Is America better off on October 1, 2012 than it was on October 1, 2008?
You be the judge.

Let’s look at 18 data sets I like to call, facts.

1. Stock Market close
2. Monthly job losses
3. Price of a gallon of gas
4. Price of a barrel of oil
5. Personal Savings rate
6. Mortgage Interest Rate
7. Number of troops injured/killed in Iraq
8. Value of dollar to euro
9. New Business Start-ups
10. Unemployment Rate
11. Number of net new jobs created full year (2008 and YTD 2012)
12. Average Hourly Wage
13. Inflation Rate
14. Housing Starts
15. Americans With Health Insurance
16. Illegal Border Crossing Arrests
17. Tax Rates – Capital/Dividend/Personal/Corporate
18. Middle-Class -Small Business Tax Rates

We’re not through full reporting numbers to 10/1/12 however we can produce data as of 9/28/2012 and compare to 9/28/2008.

In the immortal words of Joe Friday : “… just the facts”.

(1) S&P 500 / Dow Industrial Average close
9/28/2012; 1447 / 13,485
9/28/2008; 1131 / 10,913

Better or worse in 2012? Better
Percentage better or worse in 2012? 28% Better.

(2) Monthly job /gains
8/1/2012 – 10/1/2012; + 96,000
8/1/2008 – 10/1/2011; -247,000

Better or worse in 2012? Better.
Percentage better or worse in 2012? Huge.

(3) Price of a gallon of gas
10/1/2012; $3.39 (projected)
10/1/2008; $3.50 (actual)

Better or worse in 2012? Better
Percentage better or worse in 2012? 2% Better.

(4) Price of a barrel of oil
9/28/2012; $89.14
9/27/2008; $70.04

Better or worse in 2012? Worse. Yet with the price of gas the same, someone’s making real dough.
Percentage better or worse in 2012? 25% worse. If the crude cost is driving up the cost of gas, however you can see from (3), crude was lower in 2007 yet gas was still higher in 2008. The relationship between crude and refined gas may truly be simply, “what the market will bear”.

(5) Personal Savings Rate
YTD 10/1/2012; 4.3 (actual as of 9/28/12)
YTD 10/1/2008; 5.7 (actual)

Better or worse in 2012? Worse
Percentage better or worse in 2012? +30%

(6) Mortgage Interest Rate
10/1/2012; 3.38%
10/1/2008; 5.94%

Better or worse in 2012? Better
Percentage better or worse in 2012? 40% Better.

(7) Number of US Troops killed in Iraq
September 2012; 0
September 2008; 24

Better or worse in 2012? Better
Percentage better or worse in 2012? 1 million% better. Now let’s get Afghanistan to zero as well.

(8) Value of dollar to euro
9/28/2012; $1.295.
9/28/2008; $1.389

Better or worse in 2012? Better.
Percentage better or worse in 2012? +10% Better.

(9) New Business Start-ups
Up to 10/1/2012; 572,000. (9 month YTD)
Actual 10/1/2008; 626,000 (full year actual)

Better or worse in 2012? Worse
Percentage better or worse in 2012? +7.5% Worse.

(10) Unemployment Rate
Up to 10/1/2012; 8.1% (actual August 2012 data)
Date -10/1/2008; 6.5% (actual)

Better or worse in 2012? Worse
Percentage better or worse in 2012? +20% Worse.

(11) Number of jobs /gained Year-to-Date (2008/2012)
Jan. 2012 – 10/1/2012; +1.6 million
Jan. 2008 – 10/1/2008; – 1.8 million

Better or worse in 2012? Better
Percentage better or worse in 2012? Significantly Better.

(12) Average Hourly Wage
10/1/2012; $23.52
10/1/2008; $18.21

Better or worse in 2012? Better
Percentage better or worse in 2012? 30%, Better.

(13) Inflation Rate – CPI / Inflation Rate
10/1/2012; 1.7%
10/1/2008; 3.5%

Better or worse in 2012? Better
Percentage better or worse in 2012? 100%, Better.

(14) Housing Starts
10/1/2012; 750,000 (actual last report for September 2012)
10/1/2008; 777,000

Better or worse in 2012? Worse but trending upward and will surpass 11/1/2008 in 11/1/2012.
Percentage better or worse in 2012? 3%, worse but 2008 starts gets much worse after October.

(15) Americans Insured/Uninsured
2011; 48.6 Million / 15.3% of Americans Uninsured
2008; 50.0 Million / 16.7% of Americans Uninsured

Better or worse in 2012? Better
Percentage better or worse in 2012? 5% Better.

(16) Illegal Border Crossing Arrests
YTD through 2012; 187,000
Full Year 2008; 1,100,000

Better or worse in 2012? Better
Percentage better or worse in 2012? Significantly Better.

(17) Capital Gain/Dividend/individual/Corporate Tax Rates over $200k in income.
10/1/2012; 15, 15, 35, 35
10/1/2008; 15, 15, 35, 35

Better or worse in 2012? Same; however some small businesses have seen tax cuts and tax deductions related to equipment and exports.
Percentage better or worse in 2012? Same.

(18). Additional Middle-Class & Small Business Tax Rates and Equipment Deductions
10/1/2012; Numerous tax rate cuts and expansion of depreciation credits
10/1/2008; Accelerated Depreciation on specific Equipment capped at $100k

Better or worse in 2012? Better?
Percentage better or worse in 2012? There are many new cuts and deductions so it was difficult to quantify specific percentages. It is estimated the savings average 6% or $3,500 per family.

CONCLUSION
I see a lot of BETTER in these facts. You should go online and check multiple sources to verify these facts for yourselves.

It is hard to dispute the fact that America is doing better in 2012 than we were in 2008. We must keep in mind that the months that followed those shown above in 2008, (November 08 -January 09), produced results so negative, they plunged the nation into the largest and deepest recession since the Great Depression in the 30’s. In other words, 2008 got even worse than what is shown above.

It is reasonable to look at the aforementioned data and acknowledge these data points do not represent every measurable economic item; however the list is still a very powerful representation of items that do impact the economic lives of all Americans. It is also reasonable to acknowledge that not every-single American is impacted equally by these data points. Some millionaires have lost money over this period; some poor people have gotten poorer; some skinny people have gained weight. The point is this data may not impact every-single American the same yet I can say with confidence the data does impact a super-majority of Americans. Therefore we can use this data to draw useful conclusions.

Americans are very smart people and we tend to make excellent decisions when armed with the facts. Well, my fellow Americans, let me introduce you to a friend I like to call, THE FACTS . Now that the two of you have met, what is your opinion of what you have learned?

Is America (are Americans) better off in October 2012 than America (Americans) was/were in 2008?
You be the judge.

Now that you know, if anyone asks you THE QUESTION you should be able to answer the question with a resounding, YES!

Let me know if you want me to compare and contrast November 2008/2012 – January 2009 as well.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in "We-the-People - 1 Business Dude's Perspective on Current Political Theatre, Conventions, Energy, healthcare, Jobs, obamacare, Politics, Republican Convention, Tax Rate Discussion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 4 Years Later, Is America Better Off?

  1. btg5885 says:

    Vincent, many thanks for the thoughtful post. When you add a several things the President did to aid these numbers – the stimulus, bailing out GM and Chrysler, the new mpg standards, the FICA tax cut for two years which is impactful, Affordable Care Act, demise of Al-Qaeda and its leader, appointing two excellent women and the first Latino American to the Supreme Court, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, etc., he can run on his record. Best regards, BTG

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s