The Herald Bulletin
---- — Anthony Emery (Nov. 15) asked, "Are you better off today than you were five years ago?" Using January 2009 as a comparison, Emery listed facts to use in judging. But to be fair, we need all the facts.
For instance, he said the price of gasoline was $1.83 in 2009, compared to $3.58 this past August. He didn't mention that gasoline cost over $4 in 2008, but fell rapidly due to the worldwide recession.
He noted that the national debt was $10.6 trillion in January 2009, but is now $16.7 trillion, an increase of 57 percent. But he didn't mention that of the $6.1 trillion increase, $4.4 trillion was due to the Bush tax cuts, the economic downturn, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Congressional Budget Office figures. (President George W. Bush increased the national debt by 82 percent.)
He thinks the 9.6 percent increase in consumer prices over 5 years is too high, but economists consider this a low level of inflation. He charged that the number of food stamp recipients increased 49 percent; that's to be expected since 8 1/2 million jobs were lost in the recession. (Recipients increased 84 percent under George W. Bush.)
He said federal spending has increased 11.2 percent, but didn't mention that is the slowest in 50 years, as Politifact reported.
Also, the economy recovered 7.2 million of the jobs lost, Standard and Poors index is up 108 percent, and the deficit, which was $1.4 trillion on the day President Obama was inaugurated, has been cut in half.