The question that Republican Mitt Romney has raised as controlling in this election is whether America is better off now than four years ago at the beginning of Obama's Presidency. Romney's contention has varied between no better and worse. Facts and arithmetic debunk this fiction.
Regarding energy, natural gas production on private land has significantly increased. On federal lands, that production began to decline in 2002, not 2009; but production there is higher under Obama than at the end of the Bush Presidency. Petroleum production also declined overall in the Bush era, leveled off between 2007 and 2010 and then increased by 385,000 barrels/day in 2011. On federal lands, factoring the BP spill and its reasonable impact reviewing safety and environmental procedures, average yearly production rose from 609,000 barrels under President Bush to 674,000 in President Obama's first term. Green energy which, whether we like it or not, must be a critical part of our energy future received a necessary and forward-looking boost under President Obama.
Jobs figures produce the most convincing math. When President Obama took his oath, America was hemorrhaging 700,000 jobs per month. Forty-four months of job losses at that rate would raise the unemployment figure by 31 million, ignoring the underemployed. In fact, President Obama's efforts have produced 30-plus months of private-sector job growth and 5.2 million jobs, a 36 million job variance. That is the math. This pace may be slow but just climbing out of that 700,000-job hole was no mean feat. That be definition is a quantitative improvement.
Housing starts recently hit a four-year high and housing prices in August for a median new single-family home attained the highest level in five years. These improvements are demonstrably real. The stock market crashed to 6,500 at the beginning of this president's term. It has climbed to 13,000- plus and stayed there for months. If you have money in the market, you should be applauding this result and the president.
Then there is the price of gas, a favorite. The problem is that our fuel system is a classic case of free-market synergies. The oft-cited doubling of the price only proves that when we lose 700,000 jobs per month demand drops factually and thus prices fall. For those who would like to see a gallon of gas for $1.59, the "quickest" solution is job-losses of more than 700,000 per month.
Anyone for the "quick" fix?