Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Two Years Ago?
The question that ended the last malaise comes back to haunt us now.
May 30, 2011 - 12:00 am
On October 28, 1980, President Ronald Reagan looked into the camera for closing remarks during his last debate with Jimmy Carter and said:
Next Tuesday is election day. Next Tuesday all of you will go to the polls. You will stand there in the polling place and make a decision. I think when you make that decision it might be well if you ask yourself, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
While I don’t know what went through the minds of the millions of television viewers who heard Reagan ask that question that night, by the time they entered the voting booth a week later a clear majority of them had decided the answer to Reagan’s question was: “No, we are not better off.” The results of the presidential election of 1980 proved that Reagan had done a masterful job of drawing attention to the disaster Carter wrought upon our economy, our military, our energy supplies, our national morale, and on and on.
And though we’re just over halfway through President Obama’s first term in office, it seems all Americans should ask themselves if we’re better off now than we were two years ago.
The answer is just as straightforward: No, we’re not. Unemployment is at 9% and our national debt is over $14,000,000,000,000. According to Reuters, our floundering economy is only poised to get worse. Obama’s answer to the unemployment and incomprehensible debt is to raise taxes to the tune of $2 trillion: that’s “$1 trillion in new taxes on wealthier Americans (and small businesses)” and another trillion sought “in higher tax revenues by reducing tax breaks and subsidies.”
Gasoline, which was $1.81 a gallon when Obama took office, has jumped to over $4 more than once. (It’s now hovering around $3.70.) Throughout this more than 100% jump in gasoline prices, Obama maintained his offshore drilling moratorium and prevented us from drilling for more oil in the western states and Alaska.
Obama’s arrogance is so great that when a citizen asked him how average Americans were supposed to make ends meet with gas prices so high, Obama simply “suggested that the gentleman consider getting rid of his gas-guzzling vehicle.”
We don’t even have to revisit Obama’s quasi-government takeovers of GM, Chrysler, and a myriad of banking institutions to understand why our national morale is low. It’s so low, in fact, that columnists and bloggers grasping for a suitable analogy now compare today’s political and social climate to the malaise we endured under Carter.
And if you think the comparison to the Carter years is a stretch, just consider the irony of one of the other questions Reagan asked as he looked into that camera in 1980:
Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the store than it was four years ago?
Well? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the store than it was two years ago?
Reagan wanted the people listening to him to know that it was time to make a choice: that America faced a perilous future unless we changed course at that moment in time. And I dare say we will face an even more dire future now than we would have then, if we don’t determine to change our course in 2012.