Are You Better Off than You Were Four Years Ago?

Six presidential elections ago, the only time then-Pres. Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan met for a debate was in Cleveland.

There, Reagan asked a question that has resonated since:

“Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

It’s a question asked by every challenger about every incumbent, and it’s a question that should be asked today.

Four years ago, many of us were still in college at Bowling Green. Some were early into their first jobs out of college. Most had come of age politically during the Clinton administration. There was little, if any, memory of the Cold War, let alone its flare-ups in Asia. Russia was our friend. Yasser Arafat was one of the good guys. Nobody knew who Osama bin Laden was. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 12,000, and there was talk it could hit 100,000 in our lives, no small feat since it broke 2,000 for the first time in the 1980s. The World Trade Towers were the Empire State Building’s bigger, uglier stepsister.

Since then, the world has changed immeasurably. We are at war with terrorism. We are at war in Iraq. The Dow struggles to stay above 10,000. Everyone knows who Osama bin Laden is. The World Trade Towers are now a hole in the ground in lower Manhattan.

And now, waist-deep in the real world, staffers at 210west ask themselves, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Please send us your story.

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