The answer is 'no'

Key question of 2012 campaign has Democrats squirming

The question, surprisingly enough, has actually been asked this week by the liberal media, principally ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and CBS’s Bob Schieffer: Are Americans better off now than they were four years ago?


It’s a question that helped propel Ronald Reagan to the White House in 1980, after the answer was quickly obvious to most Americans about the Jimmy Carter debacle.

The answer also is plain today, and a majority in The Hill newspaper’s poll said so: No.

Yet, answers coming out of the Democratic camp were described as “halting” in an Associated Press story Tuesday. Halting? More like completely incoherent.

On Sunday, Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley answered that, “No,” Americans aren’t better off – while quickly attempting to blame George W. Bush, who retired nearly four years ago now. A day later, O’Malley made a U-turn, claiming, “We are clearly better off as a country, because we are now creating jobs rather than losing jobs ...”

Vice President Joe Biden claimed we’re better off at a Detroit campaign rally, though he added it was too hot at the rally to go into details.

Asked the question multiple times Sunday by Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week, President Obama’s senior White House adviser, David Plouffe, dodged it again and again.

“Dems continue to dodge 4-years-ago question,” read a headline on

Even ultra-liberal Slate online magazine, in an article headlined “Democrats Struggle With ‘Are Americans Better Off Question,’ ” noted, “(Obama) campaign strategist David Axelrod also declined to give a straight answer to the question ...”

There can be little question as to the answer, if you’re honest, that Americans as a whole are not better off than they were four years ago.

Now certainly the 2008 crash took a heavy toll, and Mr. Obama was dealt a difficult hand. Absolutely. But a report last week shows that real median household income has dropped 4.8 percent even since the supposed “recovery” began in June 2009.

That number alone indicates that things have gotten worse on Mr. Obama’s watch.

But that’s just a snapshot of whether things have gotten better or worse for Americans. Another, very germane, question is whether things have gotten better for America.

Clearly, that answer is “no” as well.

While things have continued to stay the same or get worse for Americans, the balance sheet has become decidedly worse off for the country as a whole. This administration – and a Democrat-led Senate that hasn’t even tried to pass a federal budget in three years – has saddled younger and future generations with some $5 trillion more in debt, a record amount by far for any administration.

Young people who are so starry-eyed over Mr. Obama’s smooth charms may not like it in a few years when they start paying on his debt.

If they can find a job, that is.

Consider just the future tax implications for today’s 20-somethings: By 2045, says the Heritage Foundation, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will eat up every single dollar of federal tax revenue.

We are, frankly, surprised that the Democrat-loving media stooped to ask the “Are you better off” question. Apparently, the Democrats are just as surprised, as they were wholly unprepared to answer it. Or maybe just not eager.

The Obama campaign has made repeated attempts to politically assassinate the Republican candidates, and the tone of Mr. Obama’s “Sarcasm Over America” tour may be cute and funny, but these, too, are an artful dodge of the painful truth: Neither Americans nor America are better off after four years of this.

We eagerly look forward to hearing why four more would be any different.