Obama bragging about economy while real wages are down

Obama talks about the size of workers’ pay checks while at Northwestern University recently. (AP photo)

Obama is engaging in a bit of sleight of hand.

“This progress has been hard, but it has been steady, and it has been real,” the president said recently. “It is a direct result of the American people’s drive and their determination and their resilience but it is also the result of sound decisions made by my administration. So it is indisputable that our economy is stronger today than it was when I took office.”

Yes, unemployment ticked down to 5.9 percent, though the labor force also shrank as people gave up looking for work or retired.

But what really matters is buying power, and that is stagnant and well below what it was when Obama took office, according to the latest Census figures.

The median inflation-adjusted income in 2013 was $51,939, down $2,120 from when Obama took office.

Obama likes to compare himself to Ronald Reagan, so compare.

When Reagan took office in 1981 that median inflation-adjusted income level was $46,877. When he left office eight years later it was up $4,637.

WSJ graphic