Does Obama Have the Right to Brag Tonight?

Matthew Yglesias: “In tonight’s State of the Union address, Barack Obama is likely to try to argue loudly and proudly that life is pretty good in the United States of America. He’ll have a lot of data on his side as he tries to make his case … Compared to where it was when Obama took office seven years ago a huge array of indicators have gotten better.”

“The most recent jobs report, showing the economy added over 290,000 new jobs in December is fuel for the White House’s optimistic fire … The president’s economic advisors have developed an increasing level of confidence in the state of the economy … The 70 consecutive months of private sector job creation is a record. 2015 and 2014 were the second-best and best years of 21st century job creation. Nominal wage growth remains anemic, but thanks to low energy prices inflation-adjusted wage growth was actually pretty solid last year … the American economy at the beginning of 2016 is genuinely once again the envy of the world.”

“Obama’s problem in using this data to take a victory lap, is that normally a president likes to project a positive attitude when he knows the public already agrees with him … Somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of the public says the country is currently on the wrong track.”

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