Over the last weekend, representatives of the Obama campaign were asked the classic Ronald Reagan rhetorical question: "Ask yourself if are you better off than you were four years ago?" All, except for one, danced around the answer by declaring how bad things were when Obama took office; offering this as the only proof that Americans are truly better off today. Now, the one who didn't do the dance, Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, answered the Reagan-esque question by saying: "No, but that's not the question of this election."
I think most Americans would probably agree with the first part of O'Malley's answer because I believe they feel that things have only gotten worse over the last four years. Lets not forget the recession actually ended 5 months after Obama took office; with a noticeable rebound in economic activity. Ever since then, economic growth in this country has only gotten weaker with debt going through the roof. The average family income has shrunk by more than $4000; and, at the same time, prices for food, energy, gasoline, and clothing are significantly higher with gasoline prices more than doubling. Home prices have hit rock bottom. People are still being foreclosed on. Many couldn't sell there homes if they wanted to because they are so upside down on their mortgages. Home sales, despite record low interest rates, are at half the rate of a normal economy. There are a million more unemployed today than when Obama took office. Nearly half of all college graduates can't find work. Then, too, more than 8 million people are being forced to work part-time for lack of any real jobs. On top of that, more than 12 million workers have just given up looking or are in jobs that are below their experience levels. Put that all together and it is very hard to say America is better off under Obama's stewardship.
As far as O'Malley's "but that's not the question of this election", I think this is another attempt to sidestep the reality that Americans aren't better off. Further, in poll after poll, jobs, the economy, home values, and food prices are things that are the biggest concerns of voters. O'Malley and others in the Obama camp are just whistling past the graveyard if they keep trying ignore the truth contained in the answer to that famous Reagen question.