For starters, they’re touting Vice President Joe Biden’s bumper sticker slogan “Osama bin Laden is dead, and GM is alive.”
Actually, bin Laden and top al Qaeda members killed in President Obama’s wanton drone attacks should be alive and getting waterboarded in Gitmo for all the intelligence we can wring out of them. General Motors should have gone through bankruptcy proceedings and, if it couldn’t shake off its bloated union benefits packages and improve its efficiency, died.
But I think what Democrats are crowing about is the general economic picture. They would have us believe that, even if job growth isn’t picking up quite as much as we would like, at least it’s better now than it was near the start of the recession.
No, it’s not.
It’s not even as good as it was when Obama took office.
Consider the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’s post-WWII recession and recovery employment and GDP data , which every conservative politician and Romney supporter should familiarize himself with.
These data show that the percent change in total U.S. employment in July 2008—four years prior to the most currently available data—was -1%. In July 2012 it was -3%.
Using the first month of Obama’s presidency as a baseline, percent change in employment was still slightly higher in January 2009 than it is now.
When Obama supporters brag that he added 4.5 million jobs to the economy, the proper response is, “Yes—if you count only the jobs added since January 2010 and not the ones lost in the prior 12 months. There are still 400,000 fewer people  working today than there were in January 2009.”
A better way to analyze the data than comparing the economy today with the economy four years ago is to ask whether we’re better off now than we were at the equivalent point in time following other recessions.
No, we’re not.
July 2012 marked 55 months since the start of the December 2007 recession. The monthly percent change in employment for all other 10 postwar recessions at 55 months out ranged from  1% to 12%, with an average of 7%. Again, in July 2012 monthly change in employment was -3%.
In other words, every single other post-war recession saw an actual recovery that culminated in a positive monthly change in employment by four-and-half years out—and usually much sooner—and not a fake recovery that left the economy worse than it was at the start of the recession. The Obama recovery stands historically alone in its decrepitude.
Since Obama’s presidency started 13 months into the 2007 recession, let’s look at percent change in employment 55 months after each recession’s start minus change in employment 13 months into the recession. This method shows us how Obama performed, without holding him responsible for what happened when he wasn’t president. Has the economy improved as much in the 42 months of Obama’s presidency as it did during the equivalent 42-months for other recessions?
No, it hasn’t.
The difference in monthly employment from 13 to 55 months after the start of the other 10 recessions ranged from 3% to 16%, with an average of 9%. Under Obama, the difference from 13 to 55 months is just under 0%. Obama actually drove down monthly employment since taking office.
Even if we grant Obama a full 12-month grace period, as he prefers, and run the numbers from 25 to 55 months—equivalent to January 2010 to July 2012—Obama’s performance is still dismal compared to other recessions, at under 3%. Only the 1953 recession was worse. The remaining nine recessions ranged from 3% to 12%, with an average of 7%.
How about quarterly percent change in GDP? We’re 18 quarters out from December 2007. Is GDP on par with where it was 18 quarters out from other recessions?
No, it isn’t.
Percent change in GDP for the other 10 postwar recessions ranged from 9% to 27%, with an average of 16%. Percent change in GDP is currently at 2%.
Let’s take a step back. Unemployment is stuck where it was  in January 2009. Poverty is up . Food stamp use is at a record high , and median income is down . Inflation is up  since 2009, and gas prices have doubled  since Obama took office.
By what possible metric can Obama claim that we’re better off now than we were four years ago. Our social networking prowess? (Oops—bad example .)
The Obama campaign is now so desperate to prevent analysts from scrutinizing the employment and GDP numbers that it’s running interference by firmly warning  Democratic officials who stray from campaign orthodoxy  on the economy’s improvement that they’d better get in line if they want a future in politics.
The only sense in which we’re better off now is that we may have only four more months instead of four more years to endure this miserable president.
Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics