Morning Joe | October 11, 2012
>>> with us now, the editor of bloomberg businessweek, josh tyrangiel . he's here with the election issue. i love this magazine. just take you inside.
>> we thought about this in march. answer some questions about the state of the american economy . and the way we did it was, we went to reagan . in that debate, at the very end of the debate, reagan was actually behind at that point. and he spoke to the heart of the american people . and he said, are you better off than you were four years ago? people tend to forget, though, there were four questions after that. it was like reagan 's political sader. is it easier to buy stuff in the stores? is america as respected as it was four years ago? and is our security as strong? and so, look, there's a lot of partisanship. the media gets accused all of time of having its thumb on the scale. let's answer these questions. apolitically. we're known for data. we went in and answered them.
>> let's look at them. unemployment, are you better off than you were four years ago?
>> by the numbers, 7.8%, 7.8%. but we know a lot of people have left the work force , there's a lot of job dissatisfaction. and the key there is the median family income is just about flat but costs in the united states have gone up. so really your money has gone about 8% less far than it did four years ago.
>> you talk next about troops in afghanistan .
>> yeah, troops in afghanistan , you can see the numbers. you know, they're way, way down. but actually, the numbers that you really want to focus on are iraq. that is a promise that obama made and that's a promise that obama kept.
>> are you better off now than you were four years ago in terms of the budget deficit and the gdp?
>> so on gdp yes, on budget deficit , clearly you can see we have taken on a lot of money. now, what's interesting about the budget deficit is where it actually comes from. i think a lot of people presume that the stimulus is responsible for most of that. and in fact, it's not true. if you look at our deficit and our debt, the debt number between 2001 and 2010 has gone way, way up. 17% of that is the bush tax cuts . about 12%, 13% of that are the wars in iraq and afghanistan . the stimulus is responsible for 7%.
>> okay. so over the past four years, though, we've had trillion-dollar deficits.
>> all four years. what's the cause of that?
>> well, the cause of that is clearly stimulus spending but also a lack of revenue. the revenue numbers that we had projected were much, much greater. you know, unemployment is responsible for that. lower taxes are responsible for that. and the obama administration has lowered taxes consistently. it's brought in less revenue.
>> let's look at the question about the dow jones average . it's fascinating. this president has been seen as being hostile to wall street . wall street believes that wall street has been treated badly. you look at these numbers, and you have to ask that bill clinton question, are you going to believe me or your liein' eyes?
>> the fact is that the dow did take a small dump right before obama became president.
>> that's one way to put it.
>> so he is a beneficiary of this massive rise.
>> i now can see it.
>> we've got to introduce to you bill karins, but go ahead.
>> the dow was way, way down when obama took office. and it has basically doubled during his tenure. the fact is a lot of americans were not invested in it. a lot of americans pulled their money out of their mutual funds . they're either sitting on the sidelines or sitting in bonds.
>> mark halhalperin, i'm sure we'll hear a lot of this tonight. the question, are you better off now than you were four years ago? it sounds like the president has some arguments to make as do the republicans.
>> he does. and of course, joe biden 's big line of, you know, general motors is alive, osama bin laden is dead frames two of the things that the white house would say is better. i think that's the biggest challenge for paul ryan tonight is to focus on that question. still what i think is the most effective line out of the republican convention , why would you expect the next four years to be any different than the last four years? but it's more uphill for them than it was two months ago because as we talked about at the top of the program, people are feeling better in a lot of these battleground states about the economy. and in ohio, you've got john kasich , republican governor going around saying how great things are in ohio.
>> it's amazing that we didn't hear the president lay it out as starkly as this. if you present it this way, obviously republicans will have pushback. if you lay it out this way, it's a convincing case from his point of view.
>> yeah, i think everybody was a little surprised. there were a couple questions that lehrer asked that were barely questions. they were excuses to basically say what you did, particularly the sort of view of american government . he said very specifically, can you describe the differences between your views of what the role of government is, and that's where you answer, you know, gm. you answer about stimulus in a time of extreme need. and the president wasn't able to frame that case. i think we're all wondering why.
>> josh, thank you so much.
>> she said it right again.
>> she did, 2 for 2.
>> that's pretty darn good. it looks like a great cover.
>> it is.
>>> ahead this morning, david gregory and chuck todd . we'll be right back with much more " morning joe ."
>> have fun, mark!
>>> how the hell are these polls so divergent, useless yet accurate and quotable? i think we all know what we need. nerds!
>> so when you see obama gaining in today's gallup tracking