Last week, before the new job numbers came out, Catherine Rampell made a very good point: "Unhappy with the economic recovery in the United States? Could be worse. Specifically, we could be literally any other country in the world that also just went through a major financial crisis."
Right. In the public discourse, there's often a temptation to compare the current economic recovery to other recoveries that followed modern downturns. There's one glaring problem with this: the global crash in 2008 was the worst crisis the world has seen since the Great Depression. Comparing it to more routine, cyclical downturns is like comparing a twisted ankle to getting hit by a bus -- they both hurt, but the scope and scale of the damage is qualitatively different.
It's smarter, then, to compare our economic recovery against other countries who dealt with similar circumstances. And on this front, as President Obama was eager to remind Americans in his weekly address, we're the envy of the world:
"America, we still have a lot of work to do together. But we do have real, tangible evidence of our progress. 10.9 million new jobs. 10 million more Americans with health insurance. Manufacturing has grown. Our deficits have shrunk. Our dependence on foreign oil is down. Clean energy is up. More young Americans are graduating from high school and earning college degrees than ever before. Over the last four years, this country has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and every advanced economy combined."
That last point is no small detail. In the aftermath of the crash, advanced economies around the globe rushed to respond, with many adopting competing solutions. Many chose the kind of austerity measures Republicans hoped to impose on Americans.
Fortunately for those who want to see the U.S. succeed, Republicans weren't in a position of power in 2009.
As a result, as Rachel noted on the show on Friday, American growth is "outperforming other economies." Indeed, one of the more striking aspects of the recent upswing in the domestic economy is that "the U.S. remains a standout as the rest of the world struggles."