In 1980, it was the question posed by Ronald Reagan when he was running against Jimmy Carter. It’s the question that won him a massive election victory, and is the central question of every democratic election around the world— are you better off now than you were before?
And it’s going to be the central theme of this week’s Democratic National Convention. While the Republicans argued “no”, the Democrats this week want to send a resounding “absolutely”.
How is that possible? Unemployment went up for a while, and now is back down, but at the exact same rate as when Obama took office. Things are better, but not great. But Democrats will argue, that at the end of 2008 and when Obama took office in January 2009, the economy was in its worst shape since the Great Depression, and it was all due to Republican policies of deregulation under George W. Bush. They will argue that Obama inherited not just your normal recession, but an American economic empire that was inches from the cliff, and that while right now things aren’t perfect, things are far better than in late 2008. Iraq is starting kinda-sorta to stabilize, bin Laden is dead and the Taliban has been severely weakened around the world, major American corporations with millions of jobs such as GM, once on the brink of collapse are now making a comeback. Obama’s health care reforms have made health insurance affordable and attainable for millions, including children, the elderly and those who previously would have been unable to qualify for any insurance. They will make the case that even though there have been some stumbles, such as Solyndra, Obama realizes that oil and coal, while we have plenty of both, aren’t sustainable in the long term and that the president has put America on the road to energy self-reliance.
But do you believe it? Do you think you’re better off now than four years ago, or worse? Is America better off?
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