Economy: After six-plus years of President Obama's big-spending, tax-raising policies, middle-class families have seen their incomes decline and more families have fallen into poverty, Census data show.
The Census Bureau's latest annual report on income and poverty in America shows that there was little to cheer about in 2014.
Median family income dropped slightly to $53,657, down from the year before. Every income group suffered losses, with the lowest fifth of households dropping close to 1%.
The overall poverty number barely budged. But it climbed by almost 600,000 among blacks in 2014, more than half of whom were under age 18.
This isn't exactly the picture that Obama has been painting. In fact, there's little that Obama likes to do more than brag about the economy.
A couple of months ago, he was in Wisconsin, crediting his policies for "record" job growth, tumbling deficits and big gains in the stock market.
"Step by step, America is moving forward," he said. "Middle-class economics works. It works. Yes!"
It's hard to see any evidence of that in the Census numbers. Indeed, the latest report shows that, despite more than six years of economic "recovery," the middle class is, incredibly, worse off than at the end of the Great Recession.
From 2009 to 2014, real median household income dropped by more than $1,000 — or 2.3% — to $53,657. (And that decline would likely have been steeper if not for a 2013 change in the way the Census does its annual survey.)
Obama's economy has been particularly harsh on those already at the bottom. Census data show that the bottom fifth of households saw their average income fall by 8% from 2009 to 2014.
Looked at another way, the share of households with incomes below $25,000 climbed from 22.4% to 23.6% over those years.
Among blacks, it went from 35.5% to 36.8%.
The statistics on poverty are just as unpleasant.
In Obama's first year in office, 43.6 million people — or 14.3% of the population — lived in poverty.
By 2014, that number had climbed by more than 3 million, pushing the poverty rate up to 14.8%.
The poverty rate among blacks was 26.2% last year, up from 25.8% in 2009. Is that "moving forward," too?
Even the IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index is lower today than it was when Obama took office.
If anyone but Obama had presided over such results, his economic legacy would be in shambles and his policies in disrepute.