On the eve of the fourth anniversary of Lehman Brothers' collapse, Rush Limbaugh denied that the economy has improved under President Obama. In fact, four years ago tomorrow, the failed investment bank filed for bankruptcy protection following an erosion of investor confidence and huge losses in the mortgage market. That month, September 2008, the U.S. economy lost 159,000 jobs, at the time the worst month of job loss in five years.
The Labor Department reported that in June, U.S. companies posted the highest level of job openings in four years. The number of workers competing for each job opening is significantly lower than it was at the end of the recession.
But while discussing an Associated Press article reporting that Americans are "safer now" than they were four years ago, Limbaugh stated, "There's no debate. We are not better off than we were four years ago." He added, "There isn't a debate about it."
Limbaugh's comments come amid an effort by the right-wing media to deny the fact that the economy has improved under President Obama. But let's recall where the economy was four years ago.
On September 15, 2008, Lehman, now a trust company, filed for bankruptcy protection, which, as noted by The New York Times, "sent global financial markets into a panic and brought credit markets worldwide to the edge of a meltdown." The Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, and governments of other countries began what would become multi-trillion dollar efforts to prevent a collapse of the financial system. "Job losses soared as the recession that had begun in late 2007 turned into the steepest downturn since the Great Depression," the Times reported.
According to CBS News, Lehman "was the largest bankruptcy in history; 26,000 employees lost their jobs; millions of investors lost all or almost all of their money; and it triggered a chain reaction that produced the worst financial crisis and economic downturn in 70 years."
In contrast, we are in the midst of 30 months of private sector employment growth.
In interviews with Media Matters' Joe Strupp, five veteran finance and business reporters from top news outlets agreed that the situation has improved in almost all economic sectors since Obama took office.