August 25th, 2008
04:50 PM ET

Are you better off now than 8 years ago?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Ronald Reagan had some success with this question a few years ago and things weren't nearly as crummy then as they are now: Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago? But this time it's been 8 years.

Think about it: unemployment is rising. The rate stands at 5.7% and we have lost 463,000 jobs since the first of the year. And so is inflation. It's accelerating at a faster rate than it has in 17 years. Gas prices are up 34% in the last year. Oil was around $26 a barrel when President Bush was inaugurated... it touched $147 a few weeks ago. More than 1 million homes are now in foreclosure.

Here are some national comparisons between today and where things were 8 years ago: Americans' wages have actually gone down since the last recession ended. And we are spending 14.1% of our disposable income on debt; that's higher than it was in 2001.

Americans are pretty glum about the future, too. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index stood at almost 85% in 2001; now it's just below 52%.

Also, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll finds 75% of those surveyed think the economy is in bad shape; that's compared to just 43% who felt that way a year ago.

So as the conventions get under way and the campaign for the White House heats up - voters have a lot to think about.

Here’s my question to you: With the election 71 days away, are you better off now than you were eight years ago?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Anthony from Wildwood Crest, New Jersey writes:
Not even close! If you add the Bush years plus 2 happy additions called mouths to feed, we are STRUGGLING!!! If it was up to me, we would get rid of the pathetic Electoral College that allowed him in and change the 2 term limits. Why do we have representatives and senators who decide what happens in America until they are 90, but can't re-elect a great president who had a SURPLUS? Remember those good ole days called the ‘90s?

Stacy from Virginia writes:
Jack, I cannot complain about the past eight years personally. My salary has steadily increased, I bought a reasonable house, I got married and my wife and I are expecting twins in October. The country, however, is not better off than 8 years ago. Eight years ago, there was optimism, a healthy economy, and a federal budget that had a surplus. No there is fear and pessimism, an economy in danger and record deficit spending.

Gary from Asheville, North Carolina writes:
The more relevant question is whether Americans have gotten what they deserved by twice voting into the presidency a man they would prefer to have a beer with. Al Gore and John Kerry were "boring" while George Bush was just a down-home kind of guy. Americans, at least the Democrats, seem prepared to do the same thing again, vote for someone they would like to go clubbing with. Obama is cool in a Harry Belafonte kind of way. But nobody really knows what he thinks, just like Bush. That's scary.

David writes:
In a word, yes! Those who were prudent with finances and did not take risky or ill-advised mortgages should be better off. Those who racked up huge debt on credit cards and the like reap what they sow!

John from Atlanta writes:
You got jokes. Have you gotten a raise lately? Paid for a gallon of gas? Tried to get a job in Ohio or Indiana? Had a foreclosure? Know someone who has? Lost a relative in the Iraq War, or know someone going... again? Yeah, you got jokes.

Chris from Valley, Alabama writes:
Jack, Sure we are if you make $5,000,000 and own 7 houses or is it 8 or 9? Tell you what, let my staff get back with your staff on the exact numbers.

Filed under: 2008 Election • US Economy
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Mark - Asheville, NC

    Of course not. But that isn't going to elect Obama – this is not 1980, and he isn't Ronald Reagan.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  2. Jed in Redding, CA

    I must say that I am much better off than I was eight years ago. But that is despite President George W. Bush and certainly not because of him.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  3. Jo ann Fulton

    Jo Ann
    Washington STATE
    We retired in 1999 and have some pension benefits plus Social Security. The pensions do not adjust to inflation and so we have gone backwards in 8 years on everything we buy. We are now very limited on the entertainment or extras we can allow. Our estimate is that our buying power has been cut by half.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  4. Jayne

    Absolutely not. We can no longer afford health insurance, our business income has dropped a good 50% or more and our house, which we hoped would be a good investment, is now worth about as much as a used pup tent. Third world here we come.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  5. dee, mi

    Definately not!!! McCain seems to think that the economy is great under the Bush policies. Seems like everytime he opens his mouth – dumb rolls out. The man is either senile or blind if he can't see what's happening to middle-class America.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  6. Frank from Peterborough

    Well Jack I would have answer yes to this question but then I'm a Canadian and we don't have the home foreclosures and bankruptcies you people are now experiencing.

    I guess the main reason would be we are not spending billions of our tax dollars plus borrowing money to finance a foreign invasion and their subsequent reconstruction.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  7. True Believer Mississippi

    Jack! No one believe they better off today after 8 years of bush, cheney. To answer your question NO.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  8. Steve C

    Only the Elitists like John McCain are better off.

    Laguna Niguel, CA

    August 25, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  9. Josh in Sylvania, Ohio

    No, worse off than eight years ago. The economy in my state of Ohio is in shambles because of George W. Bush and those blasted Republicans. I guess any state who has been under Republican rule as long as my state has would be in economic shambles as well. Well Jack, in my state Ohio Republicans had sixteen years to do something to about the economy. But the only things they have done was help the rich executives move jobs overseas, find ways to get out of paying their fair share of taxes. I would love to take Bush and show him first hand what his reckless free trade policies have done to my state.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  10. Tom, Avon, Maine, The Heart of Democracy

    Bin Laden is better off now than he was 8 years ago. Putin is better off now than he was 8 years ago. Big Oil is better off now than it was 8 years ago. America's fortunes have suffered.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  11. Richard McKinney, Texas

    That is a loaded question Jack. The wealthy and those with money and retirement accounts invested in oil are doing wonderfully. Those that are not are in a world of hurt.
    Everything comes back to what the United States Congress has done or failed to do in the last 8 years. Bush could not have gone to war without their approval. They gave the nod for war. Lets start looking at the real problem with our government instead of blaming the moron cast as president. Electing a new president will not alter congress. Not one damn bit.
    There is nothing in this country with a lower approval rating then the United States Congress.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  12. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    No, I'm not. Fortunately, my husband has a better job than he did eight years ago, but the cost of living and the price of gas has gotten so out of hand, that our budget is stretched just like everybody elses. I put all of the blame squarely on the shoulders of King George, and it terrifies me to think that McCain is hiding in the shadows just waiting to do exactly the same things to us that Bush did.! God help us all!

    August 25, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  13. Sam from Philadelphia, PA

    I'm much better off than I was 8 years ago. I've got a really nice house in a beautiful neighborhood... for now.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  14. Annie, Atlanta

    Not even close.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  15. Jan Davis, Knoxville, TN

    Absolutely I am worse off than 8 years ago. In the Tennessee Valley we've just heard our already high electric rates are going up an additional 20 percent. Gas prices have affected me negatively. Everytime I go to the store or K-Mart, prices on just normal items like toilet paper keep rising. I think a lot of businesses are just taking advantage of the current economic situation in this country. I support Obama to ensure that things start turning around for the middle class. If we elect McCain, the middle class will no longer exist!

    August 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  16. Peter TX

    What do you think Jack, when poor African countries currencies are gaining seriously on the dollar and lots of Europeans rather travel all the way to buy stuff here because it is cheaper due to a weak dollar, when you have to get an extra job just to get by, not even meeting your former standard of living eight years ago. what do you think Jack? it's sure getting ugly in my wallet.

    Peter, Dallas TX

    August 25, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Scott from Bend, Oregon.

    Since Bush came into office, I've watched open dissent become unpatriotic, the national debt surge, the military become overstretched and broken by executive incompetency and thousands get abandoned by their government in New Orleans. Sympathy from 9/11 and respect for the US has vanished and more people are living from paycheck to paycheck everyday. The answer is a big fat NO!

    August 25, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  18. Warren - Detroit, MI


    I'm doing great, I make more money – but about the same when adjusted for inflation, I have a great job – that I'm now teaching people in India how to do, I'm saving for retirement – in funds that are losing value, and I have a great medical plan – that I pay too much for.

    It's too bad none of the candidates have introduced ONE platform to help me out in ANY of these shortcomings.

    What ever happened to Ron Paul?

    Warren – Detroit, MI

    August 25, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  19. J/ARK

    If it wasn't for inflation and the falling dollar (yeah I know it went up a little), we would all be a lot better off. My husband and I still work a ton of hours a week, we feel like we have been on a fixed income for the past 8 years.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  20. Willow, Sheldon Iowa

    No, I am on the precipice. I am not working at present, I am on COBRA insurance, which will run out in another 12 months, and I am uninsurable due to disability. Everything costs more, the dollar is horrendously low, these Chinese products are getting expensive, and I can't even afford to drive to Walmart anymore. I stay home, garden all I can, insulate my house, and hope we have a fairly warm winter. I'm canning and storing all I can, and I'm going to buy some foods in bulk. Sounds like I'm in the depression of '29, doesn't it?

    August 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  21. Mary CT

    No. I was way better off when there was a Clinton in the White House....and we could have had a Clinton again, but instead, we're getting a inexperienced celebrity with an old attack dog for a veep....smart thinking.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  22. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Yes, but not thanks to Bush; and certainly not thanks to the Democratic Congress. If we can avoid the socialist candidate, I'll be better off in 4 years from now too.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  23. Irene

    Jack, after 8 years of GW Bush and his Administration.........we are "drowning".......some faster than others.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  24. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    Hell No!!! Maybe if i owned seven houses, and made five million a year.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  25. Uche, Harrisburg, PA

    Oh yes Jack, I am better off now than I was 8 years ago. How could I not? I owe more than my house is worth, I traded my SUV for a motorcycle and it still hurts to fill my tank. The US dollar is not worth a bucket full of spit and McSame is running for president!

    August 25, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  26. David

    I barely make enough money to cover the basic necessities for my family such as food, health care, clothing, housing, and gas. We don't have any money left to save. My raise barely covers the increased costs of health care and gas. It was the complete opposite 8 years ago. So Jack, the answer is a big NO!!

    Cincinnati, Ohio

    August 25, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  27. Uncle Jimbo - Chicago

    Not only are we working twice as hard just to try and break even, we have had to cut back on nearly everything.
    But then again, we do'nt have seven homes worth many millions of dollars.
    There is a huge disconnect in our country now between the so-called "compassionate conservitives", and the REAL working class that used to be called "middle class".

    August 25, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  28. Susan Quackenbush

    No, I am much worse off than 8 years ago. I have a Master's Degree in Education, and can't find a job because I am 45 years old and have just moved to a new state. Everything is at least twice as expensive as it was 8 years ago. I studied political science in college, and I am embarrassed to say that now I don't feel like it matters who I vote for, because Congress is supposed to pass the laws, and they don't do anything. My ancestors came to this country in the 1600's and fought in the Revolution, and I am now embarrassed to be an American, because of the way the current "president" (he doesn't deserve the title) has done to this country and our image overseas. It is a disgrace!

    Gum Spring, Virginia

    August 25, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  29. R Atlanta, GA

    Yes!!!!!!!!! People need to open there eyes to what is really going on. Part of the economic problems are due to fact that the dollar worth has gone down in over the past 40 years, even though people's perception of life in the USA has not.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  30. Marilyn from Louisiana

    I have never had to face so many difficulties and being scared in my life before. I can not wait until January, 2009. The answer to your question is, "NO". Bush and Cheney have NO idea what the American people are going through. There pockets a full and they will never have to worry about money....................

    August 25, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  31. Deb, Allentown, PA

    Yes, Jack, personally my family is in better financial shape than we were 8 years ago. However, I'm not a member of the "me, me, me GOP" and I therefore care about what others are going through. I know that the majority of Americans are hurting and we need to make major changes in this country. As I like to say, "there but for the grace of God, go I."

    August 25, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  32. Michael Foley

    In some ways, yes – I'm out of school and in the workforce so I actually have an income, but when I look at everyone around, including my parents, then the answer is clearly a big NO.

    Gas prices, utilities, food prices, inflation and a weak dollar, not to mention deregulation of the housing market, a loss of civil liberties and oh....2 wars! No, life's just great!

    We face a huge recession, a massive trade deficit, a hugely ballooned national debt and all under the watchful eyes of a "fiscal conservative"....now his annoited replacement offers more of the same. Anyone who thinks McCain's the answer has clearly not paid attention.

    Michael Foley
    Leander, TX

    August 25, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  33. Jes (State College, PA)

    The average price of gas was $1.60. Middle East peace talks were being held. The stock market was at close to an all-time high thanks to the dot-coms. North and South Korea were talking. The human Genome project was finished. The unemployment rate was historically low. Joe Lieberman was a democrat and Al Gore won the Presidency. Wake me up when I'm done dreaming Jack.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  34. pete in ny

    Yes and No.
    My retirement savings has recovered from Clinton's stock market bubble- remember people losing 50% or more of their investments in the Clinton meltdown!

    I live in NY and work in NJ and pay taxes to both. The many years of democrat rule in both states has created bloated state bureaucracies, unaffordable sellouts to public sector unions, huge budget deficits and a tax burden higher than in the European Union.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  35. Martha Lynne -- Los Angeles, CA

    I'm not only less well off than I was 8 years ago, I'm angry in a way I was not angry 8 years ago when we were war-free and had a national surplus. Thus, I'm now also stressed by embarrassment because of our current leaders, including our arrogant, cavalier, and bullying foreign policy, and consequently, I am burdened by the need to apologize to individuals I meet who are from other countries.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  36. Dave of Oregon

    I am better off, no thanks to this current administration! Due to a death in the family, and partitioning of assets, I am better off. I can't imagine the Bush administration having a hand in this but one never knows to what extent that death may have come about. George has done a job an many people, not even including those associated in the Iraqi conflict. But given the fact that the colonists were "Georged" by George iii, and the soldiers and Indians were "Georged" by George Armstrong Custer, I cannot conclude that this family member may have been "Georged" by this current George W. Bush administration! One never entirely knows for sure!

    August 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  37. Jerry--- Illinois

    This year I received a nice raise from Social Security of
    $ 32. dollars a month. Of course I'll have to save awhile
    to buy my $ 520. shoes or which of my 7 houses
    I want to visit. I'm really a pretty frugal saver. So I must
    be better off this year.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  38. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Let's see; we are a war with Iraq; fighting terrorism in Afganistan; gas is almost five dollars a gallon; food prices and health cost are out of control; we have a do nothing Congress; an Administration who has the slightest idea of what is going on in this country (just like McCain who can't remember how many houses he owns or lives in, but wants to move into the White House)...and I could go on. Am I better off? If I get anymore happier or content Jack, I'm going to roll over and laugh my ass off.....

    August 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  39. Rosie

    My status hasn't changed. I own my home, cars, and have a few bills. If people wouldn't spend and live beyond their means, they wouldn't be hurting now. I have a job and medical insurance. Some things have gone up for me and my husband but we budget as much as possible. People need to take care of themselves and not expect the government to take care of them.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  40. Michael, Lorain, Ohio

    Jack, Anybody who thinks they are better off than they were 8 years ago is likely suffering from a serious case of dementia. Either that or history wasn't their best subject in school.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  41. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    I, personally, am much worse off. Most of this deterioration comes from just plain stupid economics on the part of the government – excess spending, lack of control of business practices, etc. Some comes from the aging process, which isn't a kind one.

    But the worst kind of 'being bad off' comes from the feeling that I am trapped in a bush league world of horrors, lies, sound bites, power grabbing, excess profits, cut-throat politics, rovian deception and disregard for truth and honor, and all of the other trappings of the current administration – all without being able to see a way out.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  42. Doreen, Cornelia Georgia

    Let's see...8 years ago I was younger, had more money, more optimism, and was a little bit niave and innocent to the governments way of doing things. Now I'm older, with less money, less optimism, and no longer innocent to the lies and betrayals of the governement. So am I?

    August 25, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  43. Marie Ontario

    Being from Canada our economy has been stable so on that front not much of a change. However, there is a lot of ground swell talk about the status of our troops over in Afghanistan.

    The general concensus of opinion seems to be if John McCain gets elected in November then our troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan. The reason being the U.S. initiated the invasion of Afghanistan but then abandoned their obligations there to engage in the occupation of another innocent nation.

    Under another GOP government it is quite likely your country will continue on with it's occupation of Iraq and simply let the other nations supporting your efforts in Afghanistan swim for it. It is quite possible all your Afghanistan support from other countries will evaporate as well.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  44. Carol

    I know this will disappoint you Jack but yes we are. Old white and middle class. Yes we are disapointed in the last 8 years. Many did vote for Bush thinking he was a "family values" candidate and they found that we got a stuborn candidate of "no experience." My vote will never be for inexperience. I will change from democrat to independedent and vote only for candidate that is experienced and picked by the people not the party.

    Carol in Oregon

    August 25, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  45. lou

    I opened a retail store the weekend after the 9/11 attacks. At the time, we knew it would be a huge risk, not knowing where our country was headed, but we had faith and optimism that things would turn around. This last year has been the worst in our history...even worse than the first year after 9/11. That optimism after 9/11 has been repeatedly beaten out of all of us. We found out there was no WMD and that the USA tortured its prisoners. Gas prices have soared while oil companies turn record profit. Manufacturing jobs...the heart of our country...are being shipped out for a fraction of their worth. If something doesn't change soon, I think the good ol USA is headed for the dumpster.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  46. KCLaw

    NO, NO, NO!!! We are being squeezed dry. Health care costs border on obscene, and we have insurance. Nothing like being one of the "lucky ones" with a job with benefits, until you start racking up deductables and copays. They system is broke, and so are we.
    Gas is draining me expendable income to the point where I have to limit trips to take my boys to do fun things around town like museums or movies. Our national security is no better off, and Iraq is a drain on manpower and resources. Rebuild Iraq and Georgia?! What a joke. Let's take care of America first, but Bush says he does not want to burden the Iraqui people with debt. Again what a joke. This country is being run by an Administration of profound bunglers who are running this country into the ground in the name of national security. (Corporate and big bank financial security if you ask me).
    Chris in KC

    August 25, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  47. Philip from Toronto

    Even in Canada things are tough, Eight years ago I was earning $115,000, the company closed to go overseas, I'm 58 and earn less than $30,000, and save nothing. Retirement is a long gone dream and between inflation and just plain bad government, my future looks grim. I don't ever see a return of the middleclass as we once knew it. The Rich and Powerful and the professional politicians are too entrenched to ever change their personal plans for North America. At your next election...throw them all out...don't keep a single one! It might get worse, but more likely it will get better.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  48. Lisa in GA.

    Jack, I am living the high life right now.... I am eating ramen noodles instead of mueller's spaghetti, I am drinking kool-aid instead of my Pepsi's and I am eating chicken instead of my pork chops.... I have gotten so used to it .. when the tides do turn.... at least I will be able to save money... as they say....old habits are hard to break.. but the Bush Administartion has completely and literally " broke " me in. Enough said.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  49. Brenda of Saginaw ,Michigan

    NO !!!!,NO !!!!!!!,NO!!!!!, we are retired and live so poorly that we are tempted to ask Mexico and China for help. Maybe they can donate some money or can goods to us.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  50. Jay in Texas

    Of course not.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 25, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  51. Shawny

    Ohhh I get it – that's a little McCain humor.

    Yes Jack, I'm better off in Canada.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  52. Pat in Hampstead , MD

    Jack . The American Middle Class is gone. And it happened in less than 8 years! We are the most hated Nation on Earth and on top of that we are being blackmailed by third world oil rich Nations. And it can get worse. Better off? What a totally upsurd question. Only a Clinton would ask that. Better off than Sudan, maybe.

    August 25, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  53. John in LA

    Seven years ago, I voted for Bush.

    Am I better off now? Yes, Jack.

    I'm smarter.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  54. Sarah Katz, Swanton, Marylad

    Not only am I not better off now than 8 years ago, but if our next President doesn't make the right choices, the future will not hold the same promise for the next generation as it did for me. I hope that the next President of the U.S. chooses to work with other leaders around the globe, whether they be friends or not, to resolve some of the world's pressing problems including climate change, global trade, those around the world who are suffering from poverty, disease and lack of economic opportunities; the disenfranchisement that leads to war and terrorism. We will live in a much more peaceful, wholesome, hopeful world if our next President engages with the rest of the world in a positive way so that we can have a better life here at home. So far as I have been able to tell, McCain brings nothing to the table; not empathy, not a vision for a better future, nor a plan to get there and not the wisdom, judgment or knowledge to make the right choices to secure the U.S.A.'s future. P.S. CNN could contribute to this if it chose to have true experts on to discuss the issues rather than "analysts', pundits, etc.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  55. Shafi Alam

    Jack, you are definitely smarter than the so called Hillary’s supporters who are thinking to vote for McCain, even if they are not better off now than they were eight years ago. They are not looking at the presidency as the job with the highest power on the land to serve their interests. They are looking at it with their ego centric feeling. I believe they’ll soon come to understand.

    Shafi Alam
    Austin, Texas
    Now Tokyo, Japan

    August 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  56. Ron, Centennial, Colorado


    August 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  57. June in FL


    I, personally, am about even with what I had 8 years ago, so I guess I'd have to say NO to your question. But if McCain wins this race I'm afraid then my lifestyle will go down hill from 2009 on.

    There is hope in the horizon for all of us with a Democratic president. With Obama as our leader and people like Hillary in the Senate, all of us middle class citizens should get help. And I'm sure Hillary will be appointed to almost whatever position she may want in his administration and do a fantastic job for her country. She'd make a great Secretary of State!

    August 25, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  58. Carlos Johnson - Atlanta, GA

    Absolutely not. And it's not all the Republicans' fault. While President Bush has a lot of responsibility for it, Congress is more at fault. This Congress has done nothing for years except give themselves a raise. If anything will change, they need to go, too.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  59. chuchee

    Heck no, I went to school and got a degree, graduated with honors but am unable to get a decent job. Because i am older and have over 20 years experience they tell me i'm over qualified. My husband works 2 jobs and sleep is not an option for him. My sons can t find decent jobs because most of the unskilled jobs are given to illegal immigrants. Only the wealthy is better off at the middle classes expense.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  60. bernie, in virgina

    I just can't believe that people have forgotten the last 8 years of the republican's. Bush and the puppetts of big business have a new person to rip off the other 95% of American's, McCain.
    I wanted Clinton to win the nomination, but there is no way I would vote for any Republican, we need them all out of the goverment.

    Bernie in Virgina

    August 25, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  61. Greg, PA

    Yes I am! Of course 8 years ago I was married to a credit card addicted woman who didn't like to work or pick up after herself and who thought money grew on trees. Now however if we elect Obama/Biden 8 years from now I guarantee you that I will be worse off.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  62. Jason in Green Bay

    Being now 38 years old, I have lived my financial life under Bush policy economicm policies. I have seen my country go from having a surplus of money to being 10 trillion + indebt. Obviously I could have done much better under a more competent administration.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  63. L.M.,Arizona

    Wow what a tough question? We are in debt up to our eyeballs,we have a war that keeps costing us billions a month,gas is at $3.50 +,the world think we suck,Russia is feeling our day is over,China will definitely follow their lead,we have a mortgage crisis,inflation is just waiting to take over,the EPA is a joke,our environment is in shambles,and we will probably have a major recession next year,but their is always a light at the end of the tunnel Bush is gone in January. Of course the darkside is the election is too close to call, American's may have a death wish.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  64. Alan, Buxton Maine

    No, my name isn't McCain or Bush or Cheney or Exxon Mobil. I don't own so many houses I can't count them or get subsidies and tax breaks from the government and I don't own stock in Shell Oil. I just pay way more for what I need than I did last year or five years ago. This country will soon be like all other third world countries with those who are in charge owning all the wealth and everyone else in poverty.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  65. Candace from Richmond

    Overall the country is not better off I can't really speak about that much personally because I was only 16 eight years ago. But I was driving and I know gas was only $1.09 then...those were the good ole days.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  66. donna myrtle beach, SC

    I'm much poorer now, the future looks bleak at the least. But I'm much smarter, I've learned that voting republican is financial suicide, that Bush is nothing short of a traitor, and that his congressional co-conspiritors are still holding congress hostage, preventing anthing that might actually improve the life of the average American.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  67. William of Pittsburgh

    I have to be honest Jack. By the time I have all seven homes cleaned ,throw a couple of cookouts for all my friends in the press coupled with the rising cost of shoes, I barely have money to fuel my wife's jet. And that not easy on $4 million dollars a year. Remember Jack I'm not rich. It's not like I made $5 million last year.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  68. Betsy in MO

    Yes I have a great job a great house and fantastic family!

    August 25, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  69. David

    Well I am making more money BUT I am working more hours and doing more jobs because of cutbacks and layoffs. My knees hurt more, my feet hurt more and the dog no longer knows who I am.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  70. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    All my friends are making lots and lots of money that they don't even have to pay taxes on, so they really like me now. I have way cool, super secret and prosecution-free private army type guys that do whatever I say and go kill people I don't like. My ranch is totally AWESOME, and Dicky and Donnie come visit and play Monopoly with real money and corporations, and sometimes they let me win. So yeah.....things are cool with me. G.W. Bush

    August 25, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  71. Rosemary, New York, NY

    Not only am I individually not better off, the country is not better off. And we'll be irreversably badly off if McCain wins.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  72. Laurie in Lawrence, KS

    Am I better off? I'm fortunate in that I have been treading water for the last 8 years. Unfortunately, the fatigue is starting to show. If McCain is elected, I'm sure I will start to sink.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  73. Charlene

    No I am not better off that during those wonderful Clinton years, but there are many, many people a lot worse off than I. At least I am not losing my house, playing the stock market, of driving a gas guzzling car.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  74. Lou

    Yes, I am better off now than I was eight years ago. And if I weren't how can I blame Bush? Isn't the Congress run by the democrats? Everyone needs to stop blaming the other guy and take responsibility for their own actions. We are suppose to be teaching that a schools, how can kids learn if the adults have learned yet!!

    August 25, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  75. Thomas, Florida

    I think everyone agrees we are worse off, but your problem is that you assume it's all Bush's fault. What about the Federal Reserve? What about Congress? They have more impact on things like unemployment and inflation than the President does.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  76. Duane in Missouri

    No, I can not understand anyone that really works for a living would vote Republican, ever. Devisive and wedge issues raise peoples emotions that is all, not their standard of living or brighten their futures.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  77. Dave

    Yes absolutely. For one thing I am alive and feel safe thanks to administrations' war against terror.I can't imagine the chaos we would have had if "Mr.I invented the internet had made it" after the horrible attack of 9/11/01

    August 25, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  78. Emma Ashtabula Ohio

    No, I am much worse off. I am a retired professional. I have a chronic illness and health care costs take almost half of my income. I pay $444.00 a month for a supplement to my medicare. I eat one meal a day. It is sad for me to see so many without jobs. That can be rectified easily. All the good government jobs are being used to create taxpayer subsidized businesses for corporate contractors at all levels of govt. This is the new 21st century free market corporatist way. Our college graduates and other citizens should get these govt. jobs. What is good for corporate America is good for our children and grandchildren. It's the free market economic system, stupid. Where is the political discussion?

    August 25, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  79. Ron from SF

    No and I'm older too. What bothers me is that with age, you're supposed to obtain wisdom. Meanwhile many Americans are poised to vote for McSame and repeat the mistakes of the last 2 presidential elections. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, then Republican voters are nuts. I thought we were going to do something different and elect a Democrat, but your poll results reveal that Clinton diehards will make the light at the end of the tunnel, an oncoming train. Unfortunately, some of us have to live with the government that the majority deserves.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  80. Joe St Louis, MO


    Eight years ago we had a qualified democrat candidate and a "C" student Republican candidate. The Republican thought a small group of folks could take our country in a new direction. The Democrat wanted to keep jobs in America and allow the people of our nation to build an America for all people. Well we all know what happened. The Republican has taken our country in a new direction but he did not tell us the direction was down.


    St Louis,MO

    August 25, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  81. James, NC

    No, somehow the tax cuts didn't magically turn things around for me.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  82. Pugas-AZ

    Do you mean physically or mentally? Personally, it's probably downhill for both-and George hasn't helped.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  83. mike adkins

    i'm certainly not better off now than 8 years ago, but i hear the chinese economy is flourishing. the politicians in washington don't have a clue what the middle class is suffering through, but when the foreclosure notice hits the whitehouse (written in chinese) they might start to get it!

    August 25, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  84. brett mullins Phoenix,Az

    I am not so concerned about myself , i was preparing for this 8 years ago. the country is my concern . We will have a mess if Fannie and Freddie. The next to fall will be medicare in the next 8 years

    August 25, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  85. Robert

    No! I lost my job in Febuary and haven't found one since. I'm behind on my student loan and 2 other credit cards. I'm a single parent and now I feel I have to go back to somewhere I swore I would never go again, Iraq. Thanks alot to the idiots that run this country

    August 25, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  86. sandy

    NO!!! 8 years ago I could live on what I make now,and that was with a house payment,{my house is payed for}after I pay all my bills utilities food ete Iam lucky if I have 10.00 bucks in my checking account.I can't afford to buy a car .8 years ago I could,I usually had about 350.00 left over from my paycheck.Noone is better off then they wre 8 years ago unless your one of Bush's buddies the haves and have mores,and yes McCain is included in that whole bunch of nincompoops.I would like to add that no I don't live on credit cards,the 1 credit card I do have has a zero balance.God forbid if McCain wins that flushing sound you hear is America being flushed down the toilet and Obama is no better!!!! So wake up America.Sandy Arizona

    August 25, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  87. Rusty

    Are you kidding me. Nope, nada, no sirreeeee, just plain no. I probally can think of more ways to say no, but Jack you get the point.

    Milwaukee, Wi

    August 25, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  88. Marge

    No. Groceries are out of sight. Heating oil is skyrocketing as well as gasoline. Everything costs more and the payroll stays the same. And if obama with his stupid economic plan gets in it will get even worst.

    Did you know the best solution to high gas prices is keep your tires properly inflated. And have another one of conyers investigating committees investigate WHY OIL COMPANIES ARE GETTING RICH.

    Boy all I can say is , that sure keeps us from paying high prices NOW.....

    August 25, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  89. parker

    Yes I am !!!


    August 25, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  90. Betty

    Of Course not. That as why as an older white woman I will be working hard to elect Obama!!!

    August 25, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  91. Marilyn

    No Jack I am not better off than I was eight years ago not even four years ago.

    August 25, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  92. Linda

    Absolutely not !! That is why this life long republican will be voting for a democrat this fall.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  93. Jim - Minneapolis

    Absolutely!!! I am one of the few.....only because I inherited farmland in Iowa.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  94. Kelvin

    I am more educated (B.S. computer science) yet worse off than I was 8 yrs ago. It seems that the wealthy and ignorant have much in common for the race to be so close in the polls.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  95. Stephanie

    My husband and I are much better off today than we were 8 years ago. Although our investments have gone down and the value of our home has also decreased a bit, I still feel that we live a better lifestyle than we did 8 years ago.

    I took a 50% cut in pay two years ago to avoid the stress of having a high powered job in an industry that was/is still thriving, and even with that pay cut we have managed to come out ahead. I think you are only as successful as you allow yourself to be. We don't spend money on the latest or greatest of toys, we don't have to keep up with the Jones'. We invest wisely and spend even wiser. We manage two to three vacations per year and still have a fantastic time.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  96. David - Colorado

    I am much better off than I was 8 or even 4 years ago, I have two beautiful kids- 5 and 2. I am making about 300% more than I was 8 years ago. My wife was able to quit her job and stay home with the kids. When you obtain a quality education and apply yourself, you will not have to worry about who is president to determine if you will have a better life.

    Jack, I know you are better off than you were 8 years ago, no one even knew your name 8 years ago now you are on CNN pissing off the Chinese!

    August 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  97. Brian Wicks-Woodland Hills CA

    Heck No!! Yes, my salary has gone up by about 5%. The cost of living has sky rocketed. Food, essentials, medicine, gas, taxes, tuition have all added up to take me backwards.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  98. dan

    and we wont get better until we have an actual american for president not a republican or democrate corporate mouthpiece.

    vote to free our country....

    August 25, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  99. stephen

    We are much worse off than we were 8 years ago. Costs of inflation, housing, insurance, gasoline and standard consumer goods is up many more per cent than that of how wages have kept up. Even with modest wage increases, I have seen many people have to take advantage of their 401K savings to make ends meet

    Lets face it, Bush spent all of our money in Iraq for personal reasons. This country has been decimated by foolish spending and untruthfulness. Congress has also played a role for not doing proper due diligence in investigating Ahmad Chalabi, Halliburton and other individuals and corporations who are out for personal means, not for the good of this country.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  100. john

    Yes, I'm doing pretty darn well no matter what the media wants to convince me of. Its funny how Bush is blamed for everything. Hey, has anybody noticed that there hasn't been another attack on US soil since 9/11? Of course not.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  101. Dan

    I must say yes!

    August 25, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  102. gt

    YA THINK !!!!

    August 25, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  103. John W. phoenix, AZ

    My wife and I are better off than 8 years ago due to significant raises we received; but, much is being consumed with inflation. We do save significant amounts between the two of us, into 457 accounts to the tune of $26k per year and $13k to credit union. We are very near retirement with both of us in state pension funds. We are afraid that our retirement will be highly taxed. None of our investments are tax free. We will probably be in the $100k retirement bracket within the next 5 years(including SS).

    August 25, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  104. Dan Gordon

    Jack, your missing two points. One, Bush isn't running in "08; and two, the Democrats have been running things since '06. Let's try to tell the whole truth for once.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  105. Gator Mike

    Yes, because I didn't wait for, or expect the government to take care of me. I tool charge of my own life, my own career, my own personal responsibilities.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  106. Kevin, Nashville, TN

    The only people better off are the very rich and the Mullahs in Iran. It's easier to get a job on the Sunni Awakening council then it is in America.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  107. London

    Jack maybe you should ask that question to those who make five million a year or more.

    That’s MaCain’s standard.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  108. Jim S

    It doesn't take a Philadelphia lawyer to see that we are NOT better off than 4 years ago. Virtually everthing is risen in price and our standing in the world has probably never been worse in my lifetime and I'm 64. If Americans don't wake up and fire those in Washington, we are indeed in trouble!

    August 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  109. Finally


    You missed the most important measurement of all.

    8 years ago, the nightmare of Bush's reign was just beginning.

    8 years later, somehow, we've made it through (barely) and are months away from the end of the Bush dynasty.

    Based on that alone, you're damn right I'm better off now than I was then.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  110. John in Az.

    No I am much worse off than 7 -8 years ago, but now I have hope that whoever gets elected will do a better job than our current Administration has in the past 7 1/2 years.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  111. bk

    Yes I am. I put myself on a budget paid my credit cards off and live within my means. Everyone should try it, it works.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  112. Jon from Tempe, Az

    Hell no Jack. When I practically have to take out a bank loan to fill my car with gas I see no way that I could be doing better. Your book sums it up quite well' It is getting ugly out there. I think I am going to drop off a copy to John McCain's Senate office since I live here in the Phoenix area. Maybe he will see the light. lol

    August 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  113. Keila

    No, we are not better off... I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but are our economic problems entirely Bush's fault? What about his advisors, cabinet members, Allen Greenspan, the Senate and Congress? It has taken more than one man to get us into this mess so it will take more than one man to also get us out of it...

    August 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  114. George Holman

    Surely this is a rhetorical question and the answer is obvious. Come on Jack, give us a tougher question!

    August 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  115. Marianne

    Yes in that I have a job skill after going back to college and graduating with a BS in 2000 & an MA in 2005.

    No in that my physical disability and age make it difficult to find full-time benefitted employment that seems to always go to Hispanics and 20-somethings who can't do the job as well as I can.

    It's not 100% Bush's fault. That's giving him entirely too much credit. Blame Congress and their automatic raises, job security, retirement program and of course the "entitlement" programs they have created to educate those Hispanics who may have popped over the border illegally or visa holders to take a job away from an American citizen. Get a few hungry people as Congresspersons and Senators, people who have had to worry about living month to month, paycheck to paycheck, with little or no savings and no health insurance. Things will turn around real fast!

    I am voting for the candidate who has the best plans to secure the borders and take care of American citizens first.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  116. Charles Slesinger

    Anyone who votes for another Republican administration is either brain dead or working for Haliburton. The direction this country is heading has to be reversed and that needs to happen in the very near future. Nobody can be certain what they will get with Obama/Biden, but we sure as hell know what we'll get with another four or eight years of Republican hypocrisy. Wake up America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  117. Michael

    With the exception of those with enough money not to have to worry about money, you answered your own question before you even finished it.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  118. roger

    It's not about "me", it's about our country; and, the answer is a resounding NO!

    August 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  119. Arthur Armstrong

    Oh my God NO NO NO NO. This country is far worse off than we can imagine. The real danger is how close we are to becomeing a dictatorship. It's not God Bless America, He has already done that. May God Save America.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  120. Steve Pearson

    Absolutely not – The rich keep getting richer and the poor and middle class keep getting poorer....Im 59 yrs old and I think George Bush has been the worst President in my lifetime – remember that includes Richard Nixon.... And, Im not a democrat – I consider myself independent.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  121. Michael Parris

    At 5.7 percent, the national unemployment rate is lower than the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, 1980s, and the 1990s...and the 6.3% rate of our prior adminstration. And weren't we at 'recession' levels during the final year of Clinton and had just had the largest Stock Market bubble burst in US history? As for homes, well home ownership set recod levels throughout the last eight years. I'm not saying this as a vote for GW. Just saying that throwing out figures and stats without providing prospectives and comparisons don't mean Jack!!

    August 25, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  122. Katherine

    Hardly !!! The cost of health care and heating my home with oil has me very concerned. Bush really did a number on all of us !!!! Don't let the door hit you in the ....... W !!!!

    August 25, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  123. Robert

    No I am not better off. In fact I am much much worse. In the last 7 years I have rarely received a raise. in fact it has been less than $2 per hour over those years. My wife has received one raise over this time frame and we have went from being normal middle class to what I feel is lower middle class. It has become much harder to maintain the standard of living that we have. Our 16 year old daughter recently started driving and I estimate that we spend just under 20% of our take home pay on gas alone for 3 vehicles. Most of our driving is back and forth to work and school. Our debt has increased greatly over this time frame as well. Wages are flat, inflation is up, and stress levels are through the roof. I am working as many hours at work as I can and if I were not allowed to do that I do not know what would happen to my household. We are barely getting by and it feels like we are on the verge of breaking.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  124. Matt

    Guess that all depends on how rich you are. I'm sure the wealthy are loving the Bush presidency.
    Matt, Iowa

    August 25, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  125. Chris

    Absolutely and Positively better thanks to my own hard work. People need to stop blaming the government for their own shortcomings.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  126. Jorge Rey

    Is this a trick question, Jack? You would have to have just woken up from a coma to suggest we are remotely better off than we were 8 years ago.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  127. Howard

    Jack; Let me put it this way, All my adult life I could truthfuly say I wish I could turn the clock back on my life. Now I am retired on a fixed income can't afford the luxury that retirement should afford I can truly say I'm 73 years old and glad of it. Howard

    August 25, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  128. Jim Hicks

    I am doing way better now then 8 years ago. But that is not due to who my president was, it is because I take responsibility for my successes and failures.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  129. Dan, Dallas, TX

    Yes. More money in the bank, thanks to my hard work and lower taxes. I'm also safer from foreign terrorists, too. God bless those who take the fight to the enemy on their own soil.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  130. Bryan Riley

    I am, but I'm not representative. Eight years ago I was in my first job out of graduate school and my wife had just finished graduate school and was unemployed. So while we are far better off today, our position is not the norm. Collectively, societally, we are worse off, and even though I'm in pretty good shape overall, the collective anxiety does make me wary about my own prospects.

    Bryan, New Jersey

    August 25, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  131. Michael

    I'm not better off, and I FULLY blame the Democrats in Congress. President George W. Bush has done everything in his power to secure a strong America, but the liberals continue to sabotage his every effort, and our only hope for a future. I consider it tantamount to treason.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  132. Eric

    I am in one way...I am employed, but financially I am much worse off. Back in 2000 I lost my job thanks to the dotcom burst and was unemployed for almost 5 years before I finally took a lesser position, where I ended up getting laid off again, but picked up contract work (I am a web developer) until last year where I secured a permanent gig...the one I am in now. I am still reeling, financially, from the initial layoff. it lead us to filing for bankruptcy. Don't let anyone fool you...after filing bankruptcy, you are screwed for quite some time. We filed in 2001 and I am still having credit issues because of it. All this just compunds the issues we have now. Doing contract work can be tough, and that led to issues. Work was somewhat constant, but sometimes ther was 1 or 2 month gaps between jobs which kept us behind. Then the last contract ended suddenly and the same time my fiance lost her job...it killed us. We are still trying to come back from that, buit it seems that everytime we see the light at the end of the tunnel, something manages to kick us back. We live check to check and most of the time have to borrow from Peter to pay Paul just to make it. I would love to get to the point where I can put aside a percentage of my paycheck for my bills so we can get on top of things, but life and th economy just don;t let me get there. I yearn for the more successful Clinton years where I was very successful and financially comfortable. The economy is the unfortunate result of letting a republican run our country. I think they should be banned from office *grin* (j/k...sorta...maybe just the Bush family after all the damage the two Bushes have done to this country.)

    August 25, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  133. Rick

    Yes, those numbers may be high, but I seem to remember that a lot of those numbers started going up right about the same time as the last election where the Democrats took office. Hmmmm, is there a correlation here? Funny how this never gets mentioned in the media.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  134. ruth roach

    just went to the mail box and i received my fidelity statment and i have lost 4700.00 since may 20 of this year. i am 67 years old and retired. if this keeps up i will have to go back to work to live. so better off i dont think so.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  135. Tom

    Well anybody that doesn't believe they are better off today then they were 8 years ago is just totally insane. In context of the historic events of September, 11th 2001, when we were savagely and viciously attacked and cost the lives of 3000 American citizens, shut down our tourist industry, severly struck at the heart of our economy, shook the very soul of our security infrastructure. Howerv, because of the courage and conviction of George W. Bush, we did not fold up and die off as the Islamic radicals wanted, we did not enter a Greater Depression, or economic collapse no, we have shown resiliency in the face of adversity because we are Americans and thats what we do. Anybody that doesn't believe that this country has been terror free for the last 7 years due to the policies of George W. Bush is an idiot and When Obama brings about all this change just ask yourself this question. What possibly can he say to the American People when the next Islamic terror attack takes the lives of our children? Ptichforks and torches on the White House lawn on that day for sure.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  136. Ronnie , Atlanta,ga

    in a word ,no .I'm a 57 year old male and it just makes me sick.

    i still remember the tent cities and the factories moving of the Regan years, i can still drive Thur towns that have been reduced to nothing because the factory left town,ways of life totally abolished.

    what ever happened to good old American honesty,pride,and trust.

    this is not the America that i grew up in

    August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  137. Shannon Connell

    I, indeed, am not better off than I was eight years ago. Eight years ago I was twenty four years old, fresh out of graduate school, eager to conquer the world. The state of the country was such I felt confident, with hard work, the world was mine.

    Eight years later, not so. My faith in government has been replaced with a wary distrust. I see my leaders as the enemy, not a friend. My sunny outlook would, naturally, have been tempered by the real world. However, not to this degree. People are hurting. Pure and simple. Eight years ago, people, by and large, were doing pretty well. Let me appeal to the Religious Right.... you want a society guided by Christian values? Try social justice....... government has much more power to effect change in this arena than breaking up Larry and Steve.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  138. Nathan

    BTW, thank you Michael P. for your educated perspective

    August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  139. Donna

    None of us is better off, considering widespread joblessness and skyrocketing prices (think food, gas, electricity). We've been ignored (think Katrina), lied to (think WMDs), and ruined (think Valerie Plame). And with all these worries, there's no time to save the environment, which is good for the Bushes and Cheneys who are looking out for their buddies. Unfortunately, the American public isn't smart enough to get it. They trudge along in a row, in step and out of touch. Devoid of thinking for themselves.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  140. Robert

    I was suffering during the Clinton administration, I'm thriving now. It's funny how that works.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  141. Tom

    Two years ago I was better off than I was six years before then, but then the Democrats took over the congress and things have been going downhill big time.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  142. Dave

    Sorry to say, yes I am better off then I was 8 years ago. Then I filed for bankruptcy and today I am coming out of it and doing a lot better.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  143. Mary

    We are not better off than we were 8 years ago. We are dipping into our savings and retirement funds while trying to put our children through college, pay our mortgage, keep our jobs, prepare for losing our insurance in a few years, and buy groceries,gas, etc..
    I am not overly confident that either candidate will be able to turn the economy around in 4 years. But I am willing to take a chance with Obama. We need change. Aside from the economy,we need to be able to respect, trust and be proud of our next president.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  144. Jon

    I'm better off personally then I was eight years ago, but that has nothing to do with our current president. I see people all around me struggling, getting laid off and inflation keeps rising. Bush hasn't done anything to stop that. I've seen more homeless people on the streets lately and more people are defaulting on loans and having to sell their cars, boats, vacation homes etc. It's clear we were much better off economically under Clinton.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  145. Kurt C.

    100 times better. And I was 100 times better off after 8 years of Clinton. You see, I work my rear off to better myself and neither party can keep anyone down, if they work hard enough.

    If the worst is realized and Obama is elected, I'm sure I'll still be better off after his disastrous ideas are implemented, because I'll work hard and not expect a handout around every corner.

    But, at some point, when I see the incremental returns far outweigh the cost, I'll stop working so hard. That's the America Democrats envision.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  146. Pat

    Of course not, Jack. I'm just bracing for the Bush depression and the collapse of America.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  147. Ken Austin

    Better off ? if it weren't for you asking the question and your forum I'd curse. Don't take a rocket scientist to answer this one. If I didn't have friends affected by the mortage crisis, if I weren't paying astronomical gas prices to a president, his VP and their elction cronies, if my children's future weren't mortaged off on a personal war, if the recession was truly a recession, and if I could choose which of the seven houses I could kick my feet up in, then I could say yes, i'd be better off. But tell me Jack, which would I be lying about?

    August 25, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  148. Jeff

    Yes I am. But if I wasn't, Bush isn't the man the blame. I think the President's effects on the economy are minimal and the impact that is made isn't seen until well after their term in office. Just like with Clinton, you cannot attribute the economic success in the '90s to him, but to the IT and DotCom boom and fall of the USSR because of Reagan's policies. The current poor state of the economy is mainly due to the housing bust and financial industry downturn that was riding the wave; which can be more attributed to the cyclical market as a whole as well as lending practices encouraged by the Fed/Greenspan.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  149. Tony/Hartford CT

    I am way better off now. I would much rather be paying $4.25 a gallon for gas than $1.85. Nothing says "better off" than having your home foreclosed on you, and is there really anything better than wasting money by the billions in two wars we can not win?

    August 25, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  150. Deb

    Definitely, I am much better off now than I was 8 years ago. My house is paid off. I have a FULL TIME JOB that I really enjoy. I am putting money into a retirement fund. Pres Bush does not get my credit but neither does Congress. I take personal responsibility for my own ability to live within my means. That simple math is – spend less than you earn. Our government has flaws and problems that should be taken care of but that will never happen as long as there is so much division between parties. We need to remember that we are all Americans and we are all working to accomplish the same basic goals. We MUST overcome party differences and work as a team. Special interest groups need a flat "no" when they want money and those too lazy to work should be denied government assistance. Taxing the "haves" just to help the "have nots" only encourages people to live on the dole. To receive help, there needs to be some form of "repayment" on the part of the recipient even it if it is putting stamps on envelopes or sweeping sidewalks. I scrutinize the members of Congress more closely than I do the President because so many of those people try to stay below the radar when it comes to their political positions. But that is why we have a balance of power in our government. What a great country!

    August 25, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  151. Evelyn

    You must be trying to make us cry. Absolutely not. With food and energy prices increases, our family now use credit cards for some monthly essentials, and I don't think we are alone. Racking up debt on credit cards for monthly expenditures could make credit card debt become a crisis like the housing crisis. I think Barack Obama and the democrats are perfectly capable of handling the current economical crisis. They understand that if you boost the middle-class, the upper-class will also benefit, because the middle-class will have more resources to buy goods and services. The minimum wage increase in the 1990's benefited everyone, because people had more money to spend.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  152. Shaker

    I guess if I didn't know how many homes I owned or that earning less than $5 million makes me middle class than ya I would have considered myself better off than 8 years ago like McCain, & his rich buddies Bush/Cheney.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  153. T

    yes ... actually. Im making about $40,000 more than i was then. I have 2 cars a motorcycle and a bigger house than then also. I worked my butt off and saved money. I didn't wait for the government to help me i did it myself.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  154. Jeff - Tampa, FL

    Yes, I'm immensely better off – and eight years ago I was in college earning my degree. America remains the land of opportunity. But it also remains the land of excuses. If you're not better off now than you were eight years ago, take a hard look at yourself, not your federal government.

    August 25, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  155. nelson

    Jack, just looked at all those 126 comments before mine
    Ya know.. I just can't top those! The only people better off
    must be from some other country that we are rebuilding!

    August 25, 2008 at 5:39 pm |