“Are you better off now than you were in July?
On the face of it, that shouldn’t even be a question. After all, stocks are up; the economy added more than a million jobs in “August” (I’ll explain the scare quotes in a minute); preliminary estimates suggest that G.D.P. is growing rapidly in the third quarter, which ends this month.
Jobs and G.D.P., by contrast, sort of are the economy. But they aren’t the economy’s point. What some economists and many politicians often forget is that economics isn’t fundamentally about data, it’s about people. I like data as much as, or probably more than, the next guy. But an economy’s success should be judged not by impersonal statistics, but by whether people’s lives are getting better.
And the simple fact is that over the past few weeks the lives of many Americans have gotten much worse.”