Whoever came up with the Reagan line “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” probably got an extra handful of jellybeans for coming up with it, so naturally the Republicans cling to it and recycle it whenever they run against a Democratic incumbent. Well, to quote the Gipper, there they go again.
I think it’s a bullshit question no matter who asks it. Who’s the “you”? Me personally? My community? My state? The nation? You can answer it in terms of economic and social issues, or you can answer it philosophically as a reflection of your natural state of optimism or pessimism.
There’s also the implication that somehow the government or a president can make you better off as compared to four years ago… or last week, for that matter. That is an odd proposition to hear from the “smaller government/more freedom” party, and if a Democrat asked it of a Republican nowadays, their response would be something along the lines of “It’s not the government’s job to make you better off.”
For every reason I can think of how I’m not better off, I can come up with more reasons why I am. And few of them have anything to do with who I voted for.