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Are You Better Off?

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Is every election about the future? If they are, we must take a look at where we have come, the direction we are on currently, and where we want to go. A catch phrase which is often used is; are you better off than you were two years ago?

As bad as things were two years ago, we are not better off. Two years ago we had the near collapse of the financial system. We had a recession. We have rising unemployment. Where are we today? The financial system was bailed out. How close we were to complete collapse remains debatable. However, we are no longer in fear of financial system collapse. But what about everything else? Are we in a recession? Technically, no, but it does not feel like we're in a period of economic growth either. Unemployment remains extremely high from what we have gotten used to. Yes, even in the Bush years, unemployment was below 5%. 3 to 5% unemployment was considered full employment. Nowadays, unemployment rate of 9 to 10% is the new norm. Are we better off?

The past two years has also brought us an increase in the number of people who are dependent upon the government for social programs and daily living. What kind of progress is this? President Obama goes on TV to make a call for people who need to donate to food pantries because the need has never been greater. I think that says something about the direction that this administration wants to take America. Poverty is at its highest level since the Johnson administration declared war on poverty back in the mid-1960s. At that time, President Johnson declared that there were too many people living in poverty and took steps to reduce the number of people in poverty that has declined until the year 2009. Great job, President Obama.

The Obama administration has also shown a lack of leadership born out of a lack of confidence. On the campaign trail, Obama tries to portray himself as a leader taking the country in the right direction. The proof is in the pudding. All he can do is make a speech creating fear if someone else were to take over the helm. His policies have clearly failed. The stimulus is not created jobs, health care reform is not held down costs, financial reform helped out Wall Street more than it helped the average American citizen. The populist anger fell flat.

This November's election will not go far enough. It will not have enough votes to undo the damage that has been done in the past two years. It will not be able to restore confidence in the direction that America needs to go. Traditionally, we've looked to the president to do that. Campaigning, he promised to bring America together and work together both Democrats and Republicans. Today, the country cannot be more divided. The presidents rhetoric continues to spew more divisiveness from someone who only wants to be president of people who think like he does. He only wants to be president of progressives. He only wants to be president of Democrats. He only wants to be president of non-colonialists.

Well, we do have to get fired up and ready to go about the election coming up next month. As bad as things have been, we cannot stay on this course that will only make things worse. Will the wave of anti-incumbency be enough to take us in a new direction? And if the answer is yes, will it be the right one this time?

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