Politics and Public Opinion

Has Obama failed by his own measures?

President Obama was once very precise about how to measure progress during a presidency. He said during his 2008 acceptance speech at the Democrats’ national convention:

We Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country. We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage, whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president, when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500.

Progress under Obama has kept the unemployment rate above 8 percent for most of his presidency (administration officials predicted unemployment would not go above 8 percent and would be below 6 percent by now), lowered real family income by 5 percent, and left 12 million people unemployed, about one-third of whom have been out of work for more than one year.

Back in September, Obama gave himself an “incomplete” grade on fixing the economy. Was he grading on a curve?

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