Ronald Reagan was able to win election to the presidency by asking voters a simple question: are you better off now than you were four years ago? At the time, the answer to this question for most Americans was a resounding “no,” a fact that could be traced directly to Jimmy Carter’s ineptitude. Reagan won, and over time things began to turn around. Fast forward to the present. Barack Obama has been president for six years. Let’s ask a similar question: Are you better off now than you were six years ago? Just as it was in the days of Reagan and Carter, the answer to this question for most Americans is “no.”
There is an unwritten law of politics that says each successive president should make things better than they were under his predecessor. Some have and some haven’t. Nonetheless, the expectation is there and all presidents have to deal with it. So, how has President Obama done in living up to this expectation? In a word, poorly. Polls now show that Americans believe that Barack Obama is the worst president ever to hold the office; which is saying something because America has had its share of inept presidents (e.g. Andrew Johnson, U.S. Grant, Warren Harding, and Jimmy Carter to name just a few). This fact brings up another important question: How does Barack Obama think he is doing as president?
In a recent speech, President Obama claimed that Americans are better off now than they were when he took office in 2009, but they don’t know it. Besides being preposterous, this is a revealing statement, although what it reveals is unsettling. Are these the words of an elitism snob so full of himself that he thinks American citizens don’t even know when they are worse off? Are these the words of man so insulated from reality by the luxurious perquisites of the presidency that he is really that out of touch? Could the president be so warped by his socialist tendencies that he thinks being more equal in our misery means we are better off? Finally, could we have a president who views himself as a regal monarch of the let-them-eat-cake variety who doesn’t even care if his subjects are suffering?
Regardless of what the president’s statement reveals, one thing is certain: he needs to get out among everyday Americans more often. Barack Obama obviously has no clue about how things are in the world outside the beltway—the real world Americans live in. President Obama thinks Americans are better off than when he took office. Rather than just state the obvious—that the president must be delusional—let me present a few indicators of how Americans have fared during the Obama years: : 1) The American economy is still weak—it actually shrunk by three percent in recent months; 2) The federal deficit has swelled to unmanageable proportions; 3) Debt is so far off the charts that America’s credit rating has tanked; 4) Workplace participation is the lowest it has been in modern times (don’t be misled by optimistic claims of lower unemployment—the numbers have come down only because so many people have simply given up and stopped looking for work); 5) Ill-advised leftist policies are transforming the typical job into a part-time position; 6) Thousands of Americans who were told they could keep their insurance policies have lost them; 7) Insured Americans who were told their premiums would not go up have seen them double or worse; 8) Americans were told they could keep their physicians only to find they have lost them; 9) College graduates are drowning in student-loan debt but cannot find jobs; and 10) Small businesses are being regulated out of existence and taking thousands of jobs with them. Yet with all of this President Obama thinks Americans are better off now than when he took office.
The examples cited thus far have been limited to domestic financial concerns. This is appropriate because when people think about their relative status in life their first thoughts are typically about personal finances. But financial concerns are only part of the picture. When considering whether we are better off now than before Barack Obama took office, it is also important to think about safety, security, and personal freedom. In the long run these considerations will be even more important than personal finances. Unfortunately, when considering the current state of our safety, security, and personal freedom, things look even bleaker than they do with our financial concerns.
Are we safer and more secure under President Obama than we were before his election? Not a chance. Obamacare is putting our personal safety at greater risk than usual by undermining the quality of healthcare in America and by limiting our access to it. Further, President Obama’s ineptitude and weakness in handling the withdrawal from Iraq, nuclear proliferation in Iran, the schedule for our withdrawal from Afghanistan, the tragedy of Benghazi, on-going cuts to the defense budget, and forcing controversial social experiments on the military have sapped the morale of our troops, emboldened our enemies, and made America more vulnerable than ever to terrorist attacks at home and nuclear attacks in the Middle East.
Do we have more personal freedom under President Obama than we had before he was elected? Not even close. During his six years in office President Obama has used drones to target American citizens, the IRS to harass individual Americans, and the NSA to listen in our telephone conversations. In fact, for the first time in our history Americans have reason to fear their own government. Under President Obama, big brother is not just watching us, he is using the power of the federal government to bully us.
President Obama claims that Americans are better off since he took office, but they don’t know it. A quick look at the facts shows why they don’t know it. Americans don’t know they are better off under President Obama for the simple reason that they aren’t. Here is a news flash for the president: We were dumb enough to elect you and then re-elect you, but we are not so dumb as to think we are better off for having done so.