Fox's Chris Wallace falsely claimed that President Obama admitted that the American people are worse off under his administration by saying he doesn't think "they're better off than they were four years ago." But Obama explained in those comments that "four years ago" - 2007 - predates the financial collapse and the recession, both of which began well before Obama took office; independent experts estimate that Obama's recovery act increased employment by millions of jobs and boosted GDP.
Wallace Claims Obama Admitted Americans Are Worse Off Under His Administration
Wallace: Obama Gave "Startling Admission" That America Had Not "Improved On His Watch." On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace reacted to a clip of President Obama talking about how Americans are faring compared to four years ago:
PRESIDENT OBAMA [Video Clip]: I don't think they're better off than they were four years ago. They're not better off than they were before Lehman's collapse, before the financial crisis, before this extraordinary recession that we are going through.
CHRIS WALLACE: President Obama with a startling admission this week: if he had to answer the famous Ronald Reagan question, whether things had improved on his watch, his answer would be no. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 10/9/11]
But Obama Was Simply Explaining That "Four Years Ago" - October 2007 - Was Before The Financial Crisis And Recession
Obama: Americans Are Not Better Off Than They Were Before The Lehman Bankruptcy, Financial Collapse, And Recession. President Obama noted in an interview that the financial collapse and the recession occurred before his presidency less than four years ago, which is why he doesn't think Americans are "better off than they were four years ago":
STEPHANOPOULOS: There's so many people who simply don't think they're better off than they were four years ago. How do you convince them that they are?
OBAMA: Well, I don't think they're better off than they were four years ago. They're not better off than they were before Lehman's collapse, before the financial crisis, before this extraordinary recession that we're going through. I think that what we've seen is that we've been able to make steady progress to stabilize the economy, but the unemployment rate is still way too high. And that's why it's so critical for us to make sure that we are taking every action we can take to put people back to work. [ABCNews.com, 10/3/11]
Lehman Brothers Collapse Occurred Three Years Ago, Prior To Obama Administration. The investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on September 15, 2008. [CNN.com, 9/15/08]
Employment Began Falling In 2008, Prior To Obama Administration. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis:
[Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed 10/6/11 (figures from "Download Data in Graph" link)]
Experts Agree The Recovery Act Increased Employment By Millions And Boosted GDP Under Obama's Watch
CBO: Economic Stimulus Increased Employment By More Than 1 Million Jobs. An August 2011 CBO report estimated that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "[l]owered the unemployment rate by between 0.5 percentage points and 1.6 percentage points" and that the law "[i]ncreased the number of people employed by between 1.0 million and 2.9 million" during the second quarter. [Congressional Budget Office, August 2011]
CBO: Economic Stimulus Raised GDP. The same CBO report estimated that the Recovery Act "raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 0.8 percent and 2.5 percent." [Congressional Budget Office, August 2011]
Private Analysts Estimate Stimulus Increased GDP By 1.8 To 2.7 Percent. In its seventh quarterly report on ARRA, the president's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimated that the stimulus "has raised the level of GDP as of the first quarter of 2011, relative to what it otherwise would have been, by between 2.3 and 3.2 percent." CEA also provided a chart showing that private analysts estimate that the stimulus boosted GDP between 1.8 and 2.7 percent:
[Council of Economic Advisers, 7/1/11]
Private Analysts Estimate Stimulus Increased Employment By 2.4 To 2.5 Million. In its report, the CEA provided the following chart showing that private forecasters estimate that as of the first quarter of 2011, the stimulus increased employment between 2.4 and 2.5 million:
[Council of Economic Advisers, 7/1/11]