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Are We Better Off?


A recurring presidential campaign slogan that has worked more than not is “Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?”

It is a question that might wrongly pin the blame for actual poor national economic performance on the President, but it’s a tactic that works.

Hopefully, it will work this year when the bad economy IS actually the President’s fault. Are WE better off?

Let’s look back at how things were 4 years ago:

(All figures are from official US Government agencies like the BLS, USDA, US Census and other trusted sources.)

Gas cost $1.69 per gallon; there were 31.7 million Americans on food stamps; the National Debt was $10.7 trillion.

39.8 million Americans were considered “poor”; 42.8 million Americans received Medicaid benefits; the median home price was about $192, 000.

The long-term unemployed (over 27 weeks) numbered 2.6 million; the average length of unemployment was 19.9 weeks; the U-6 unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) stood at 10.5%; black unemployment was 12.1%; and the total number of jobs (total non-farm, seasonally adjusted) was 134,383,000. Your health insurance annual average premium for employer-sponsored family coverage cost $12,680.

(Most of the above numbers are as of December 2008).

There is only one number in the above accounting that sounds good — the cost of a gallon of gas. But that’s deceptive. Just 6 months before that December figure, gas had peaked at near $4.50 a gallon. And a barrel of crude oil cost us nearly $150.

Now let’s look at how things are now:

Gas is currently averaging over $3.40 per gallon; in some places, it’s over $4 a gallon. And the Obama Administration has no plan to bring the price down; in fact, they are happy with where the price is and look forward to seeing it go even higher like it is in Europe.

Food stamp participation has increased by 50%. All-time highs are falling monthly, replaced by new highs. More than 15 million more Americans are on food stamps now. No wonder the deficits are through the roof and topping $1 trillion for the foreseeable future. With less revenue coming in and more and more spending going out in additional benefits to millions more that we didn’t provide benefits for when we had more revenue, you can’t help but bump up the national debt.

Speaking of the debt, it’s now over $15.8 trillion (with a ‘T’) and rising. That’s more than half a trillion dollars higher than our GDP. Congratulations America; you are now officially broke. Can you say “Greece”?

The poverty rate has increased to over 15%, and that figure is a year old, probably higher now. But don’t worry; the economy has turned around; things are getting better. The private sector is doing just ‘fine.’ Obama said so.

Medicaid recipients now number in excess of 48 and a half million people. That’s even more unfunded benefits to increase the deficit and debt.

Home values now average a mere $169,000, over $20,000 less than they were a mere 4 years ago. Oh, by the way, your net worth is 40 percent lower than it was because of the stock market tank job in 2008 and the loss of businesses in the market place.

Long-term unemployment numbers have more than doubled: 5.6 million have been unemployed for at least 27 weeks; the average amount of time unemployed is over 40 weeks; and the U-6 unemployment rate is 15.9%, up 50%. Black unemployment is up, now at 15.8%, and the total number of jobs has shrunk to under 130 million. In January alone, more than 2 million jobs just disappeared. Gone. The universe of available jobs has nosedived while the numbers of unemployed are juggled to make it appear that we are coming back economically. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cannot seem to get the numbers right. Every Thursday, the previous week’s numbers are revised, never for the better.

If the total number of jobs before the recession were still there, our unemployment rate would be a staggering 18 to 20 percent. But the federal government hasn’t been honest with us for a very long time. If your unemployment benefits run out and you are not employed, you fall off the unemployment numbers. If you have given up looking for a job, you are not counted. If you are employed part-time but want full-time employment, you are not counted. They want to extend unemployment benefits even further. Like just under 2 years is not enough.

Finally, health insurance costs are up, now averaging over $15,000 for employer-sponsored premium family coverage. That’s a 25% increase. Obamacare hasn’t fully kicked in yet, but the effects are already being felt, and they hurt. Why is it necessary to give over 2,000 exemptions from compliance if this is such a good plan? And with the CBO admitting that the cost of Obamacare is more than double their original estimate, a staggering 1.8 to 2 TRILLION dollars rather than the manageable(?) $940 billion, it is obvious to even the staunchest supporter of this monstrosity that it won’t work. Not to mention the unconstitutional (even though Chief Justice Roberts said the opposite) mandate of buying health insurance or paying a tax (Obama says it’s a penalty), and violating the 1st Amendment rights of religious organizations, and the lies about keeping your insurance and your doctor.

Add to that the fact that the Bush tax cuts will expire January 1st. And the taxes hidden in the Obamacare (ObamaTax) law that was inexplicably held as constitutional, because it was deemed a tax, kind of how the Democrats wanted to DEEM it being passed. Obama’s plan is — more of the same — trillion dollar deficit spending as far as the eye can see, and an even more intrusive, all-powerful federal government without limits.

So, are we better off now than a mere four years ago? We’re paying more than double at the pump, with no plan to ease our burden. In fact, the long-term plan is to make it even more expensive. Every other economic indicator, including our anemic GDP growth(?) is upside down. With taxes slated to go up next year and every year under Obamacare, because we all know that the costs of big-government programs are always underestimated, the future is indeed bleak.

The numbers don’t lie, and neither do I. The numbers say NO! I say NO! Don’t continue down the road to ruin. The last exit is ahead. Vote in November for REAL change. Do not vote for Obama the Socialist. Vote Conservative. Vote against socialism.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.


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