Skip to comments.'Are you better off' question dogs Democrats
Posted on 09/04/2012 12:50:25 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
CHARLOTTE, N.C. A simple question has flummoxed the normally disciplined Democratic message machine.
Are you better off now than you were four years ago?
The question first asked by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 during the depths of the Great Depression and used to devastating effect by Ronald Reagan against President Jimmy Carter in 1980 has become a defining element of the 2012 campaign dialogue.
The president can say a lot of things, and he will, but he can't tell you that you're better off, GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said Monday at a pre-convention campaign visit to North Carolina.
Simply put, the Jimmy Carter years look like the good old days compared to where we are right now.
So do top Democrats believe the country is better off now than four years ago?
No, but that's not the question of this election, Democratic Governors' Association chair Martin O'Malley of Maryland said Sunday on CBS.
Yes, we are better off, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, said. But we got to keep on working harder.
Still, just 28 percent of Americans feel they are better off economically than they were when Barack Obama became president in January 2009, according to the most recent Associated Press-GfK poll; while 36 percent say they are worse off and 36 percent said they are in about the same financial position.
Not surprisingly, only 31 percent of Americans say the nation is headed in the right direction, the Washington Post/ABC News poll found.
Democrats feel they must change that perception during the convention.
We are going to use this convention to answer those questions, said Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt. We're going to have an honest conversation about where we were in 2008 when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, 3.5 million jobs lost in the six months before the president took office, manufacturing was in decline, the auto industry was on the brink.
We've made progress, businesses have created more than 4.5 million jobs, GM is reborn, we've created more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs after that sector had been in decline. But now we need to lay out the pillars of how we're going to restore economic security for the middle class.
Republicans, sensing an opportunity to keep the president's team on the defensive on the eve of his party's national convention, launched an all-out barrage Monday, opening a makeshift Charlotte office with 50 staffers and touting Ryan's comments at a rally several hundred miles away.
Setting aside the partisan spin, the economic numbers yield mixed results.
The economy has bounced back from the depths of the recession, which Obama inherited. The gross domestic product for the final quarter of 2008 dropped 6.2 percent and has slowly grown, up 1.7 percent for the second quarter of 2012.
Inflation, which was almost zero when Obama took office, is higher but remains low, 1.4 percent. However, gasoline prices have more than doubled, from $1.84 per gallon to $3.83.
The unemployment rate has grown from 7.8 percent to 8.3 percent, led by reductions in the government workforce, but first-time jobless claims have dropped by one-third.
I’m quite pleasantly surprised that msm took this are-you- better-off issue. Various news outlet have an article on Ryan’s speech.
“Inflation, which was almost zero when Obama took office, is higher but remains low, 1.4 percent.”
Understating inflation makes GDP growth look bigger than it is, and undercuts outgoing transfer payments. It also lowers the adjustment to federal tax rates, thus increasing “bracket creep”.
the rats sound crazy trying to answer this question.
Don’t worry the media on all levels will try and make people think they are better than four years ago.
That's a flat out lie.
They’re trying to convince people/voters that the reality they know is false, and things are just fine.
It's my understanding that government spending is figured into the GDP numbers, and we all know what's happened to government spending under O-Bah-Mah.
“Inflation, which was almost zero when Obama took office, is higher but remains low, 1.4 percent. That’s a flat out lie.”
It has a lie I’ve railed about for over a year - the unreported inflation all of us see when we buy groceries. It is very noticeable, yet Obama’s media doesn’t think it is worst reporting.
I’d like to think he’ll get crushed because of the anger over grocery prices...
There’s something about this “are you better off now” meme that I’m not sure is as powerful as maybe we think.
The Dems CAN polish this turd, with the help of the MSM, and have been doing so for three years.
When Paul Ryan said in Norfolk that “politicians in Washington care more about the next election than they care about the next generation”, I felt this was the reasoning that should guide us. He was making the moral case for fiscal sanity. Making the moral case for capitalism would be the next step, and the campaign’s been doing just that.
The problem with “are you better off” is that many who are dependent upon government are going to answer that question in a way that’s different from when Ronald Reagan was President.
Just my two cents.
This fear of European "exploitation" prevailed widely in the Third World in the middle of the 20th century. But, by the late 20th century, the falseness of that view had been demonstrated so plainly and so often, in countries around the world, that even socialist and communist governments began opening their economies to foreign investments. This often led to rising economic growth rates that lifted millions of people out of poverty.
Barack Obama is one of those people who are often wrong but never in doubt. When he burst upon the national political scene as a presidential candidate in 2008, even some conservatives were impressed by his confidence.
But confident ignorance is one of the most dangerous qualities in a leader of a nation. If he has the rhetorical skills to inspire the same confidence in himself by others, then you have the ingredients for national disaster." Thomas Sowell
31% believe we are headed in the right direction for what, DISASTER!?
First of all, these poll results are desperate B.S. Even if the results are not complete nonsense, how could an outrageous 31% of people even be thinking coherently when they say things are moving in the right direction?
Oh, wait...this 31% have to be these people who think they get their "rights" from the Gov't and will vote for Obama again just because he's half-African-American!
That “forever” 30%.
I wish the Republicans weren't so determined (apparently) to distance themselves from Bush and would pound home -- in every race -- the fact that Bush's first 6 years were quite good economically (I read that even the deficit was going down due to increased revenues from the "Bush era" tax cuts). Of course, there's that MSNBC story castigating Bush for playing golf when unemployment had hit 5.4%(!!!). The economy started to tank when the Dems took Congress.
Surely there are Republican staffers who could put together charts showing the economy through those years at least (maybe even go back to Clinton and how the economy was at best lack-luster -- until after '94 when the Republicans took Congress) and how a Dem Congress is a disaster no matter who has the White House!
Comparing now to especially those last months of Bush isn't so dramatic a contrast as they need.
I'm not disagreeing with your point I'm just saying stay out of the way of the socialist/marxist destruction and let America fire Obama's sorry ass!.
So not only are they overstating the private sector, if one were to subtract out government spending, GDP would be even worser.
(Grammar note, since trillion has now replaced billion, I think we need to add worser to replace worse).