While President Obama has emphasized that the wealthiest Americans need to sacrifice more for the good of the country by paying higher taxes, his recent State of the Union address sidestepped some facts that illustrate just how economically difficult the last few years have been for many Americans and the country as a whole. These facts include:
Median household income from January 2009 to June 2012 declined by $4,019, according to a Wall Street Journal article citing a study by the economic consulting firm Sentier Research.
Annual real GDP growth from the beginning of 2009 to the end of 2012 has been less than an anemic 2 percent. The budget deficit for 2013 is expected to exceed $800 billion; the deficit was over $1 trillion in each of the previous four years.
The unemployment rate stood at 7.7 percent in February 2013. The U6 rate- often considered the most comprehensive measure of unemployment- was a seasonally-adjusted 14.3 percent in February 2013. A record 47.8 million Americans were on food stamps at the close of 2012. The labor participation rate was only 63.5 percent in February 2013. It declined to 63.3 percent in March, the lowest level since 1979.
Whether the President’s proposed policies can fix the American economy remains to be seen. But it is clear that much needs to be fixed.