Are Americans Better or Worse Off Than 4 Years Ago?

By Nicole Crossey, Widener University Student

As Americans are we better off, worse off or neither than we were 4 years ago?

In Landler’s “‘Are You Better Off?’ The Answer Is Less Clear than It Was in 1980” and Rutenberg’s “Democrats say that U.S. is Better Off than Four Years ago”, a mix of good and bad appears and makes that question hard to answer. Democrats say we are better off and Republicans say we are worse off.

The Democrats use the “auto bailout, Osama Bin Laden, supporting gay marriage, ending don’t ask, don’t tell, easing the threat of deportation to illegal immigrants, and the healthcare overhaul” as points of progress in these past 4 years.

The Republicans say that we are worse off—“federal debt is ballooning”, the unemployment rate is still bad and housing rates are not better. “47% of Americans think we are worse off” since Obama has entered office.

For some, our recovery is too slow. Jobs have been added to the economy, but government spending cuts have slowed this growth. While Obama has racked up $5 Trillion in national debt, we are still recovering from the Bush Administration (tax cuts, debt, Medicare prescription drug coverage, and wars).

Ultimately, I think voters will give Obama more time in office because he has put us on a path of “sustainable recovery” and he kept us from falling into a “double-dip recession”. However, Romney did throw Obama for a loop on this question—perhaps we will see more like this.

Looking at the state of our nation statistically, we are worse off. In the context that we are recovering from one of the worst recessions in history, we are better off. Therefore, it depends whether the “glass is half empty or half full” to voters.

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