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Is the US Better Off? Costco Co-Founder Says Yes

Costco Wholesale
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Costco Wholesale

The U.S. economy is "unequivocally" better off today than it was four years ago, Costcoco-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Wednesday.

“The things that President Obama has started are beginning to take hold,” said the Costco co-founder ahead of his speechbefore the Democratic convention Wednesday evening.

Some frustrated voters and political pundits have deployed the "better off" catchphrase, first uttered by Ronald Reagan as he squared off in a debate against then President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 general election.

For his part, Sinegal responded in the affirmative.

“Are we better off today? The answer is unequivocally yes,” Sinegal said. “I think [Obama] is very supportive of business, and we certainly found that to be true relative to our business.”

Sinegal noted that private sector job creation has been improving for about 29 months in a row, even as the unemployment rate remains mired above 8 percent. “That is progress when you consider that in 2008 we lost 4 million jobs,” he said. “It’s a slow process but I do believe it’s coming around.”

(Read More: Obama Poised to Lay Out His Vision.)

He also said that if Obama wins reelection, there will be “a more collaborative spirit in Washington.”

(Read More: Paul Ryan's Warning: 'We Don't Have Much Time'.)

Sinegal expects that a resolution of the fiscal cliff will ultimately mean some combination of spending cuts and revenue increases.

While he doesn't make any predictions on how that would take shape, he added: "I really don't believe it's going to wind up hitting the middle class."

Turning to Costco's business outlook, Sinegal said the company was “reasonably optimistic for fall.” He added that comparable store sales for the fiscal year ended in August increased about 7 percent.

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