Archive for Friday, September 14, 2012

Not better off

September 14, 2012


To the editor:

In a letter about whether this country is “better off” today vs. 2008 by Steve Bruner (Public Forum, Sept. 5), I, for one, strongly disagree. Perhaps some individuals are doing better, but certainly not the country and overall economy.

I agree with your statement of what poor memories we have. It seems like it was just yesterday that President Obama would not go along with the Keystone pipeline, a project that offered over 20,000 shovel-ready jobs, and assistance with energy security. President Obama said he will make his decision after the election. It’s disappointing he doesn’t display the courage to put our country’s best interests ahead of his own political agenda.

It also seems like just yesterday that the president was trying to force “cap and trade” on us. He couldn’t get his way with Congress, so he did a quick switch to have the DOE control it. The end result? Higher energy costs for coal-fire states. The Dow has made a significant comeback and let’s hope it continues, but are we better off with the housing crisis that still lingers, high unemployment (42 straight months over 8 percent) and the current soaring gas prices? What about a health care bill that the majority of the country would like to see repealed?

I could go on and on. I almost forgot about the president telling Russia’s Medvedev, “I will have more flexibility after the election,” which is code for no accountability.

Mr. Bruner, you’re entitled to your opinion, but as a country I do not believe we are even close to being better off.


yourworstnightmare 1 year, 7 months ago

Of course we as a country are better off. There are individuals who are not, but as a country and an economy, we certainly are.

Anyone with any investment in the stock market is better off (retirement plans included).

We are all better off because of the end of the Iraq war of choice that was not paid for but put on the credit card.

We are better off both in safety terms and in morale terms because Obama got bin Laden.

Contrary to Mr. Flitcraft's assertion, Americans know they are better off health-wise because of Obamacare.

It is inconvenient for the GOP and their feckless candidate Mitt Romney, but we as a country are far better off than four years ago.


JHOK32 1 year, 7 months ago

Clinton said it best "Bush left Obama & this country in one hell of a mess" between the two wars that Bush started costing $Trillions looking for Saddam's "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - (we all know now this was an outright lie), coupled with Wall Street & the Huge Banks raping the country until they almost brought the entire economy to it's brutal death - all while Bush & company looked the other way (& the GOP still says de-regulate everything & let the chips fall where they may? - oh really! - yeah that's really worked!) - Now the GOP says "Obama hasn't cleaned up Bush's mess fast enough" all while the GOP fought Obama every step of the way while he tried the only things within his power to jump start the economy back to some form of normality. Why is the Dow back up to 13K? Why is GM back in business? Why is Bin Laden dead, why are the terrorists who hijacked the U.S. merchant ship all dead now? Why is it that for the first time in U.S. history EVERY American will have access to health care?, & not just the rich & people who are lucky enough to have health insurance through their employers (which is getting more scarce every day). I think considering the monumental mess that Bush & company left for Obama he has done one hell of a job & Dr. Bruner is a very wise & respected person for telling it like it is - good for you Dr. Bruner! Keep up the good word! Especially now that we have our nutcase Governor raping Kansas - We need you now more than ever.


rockchalk1977 1 year, 7 months ago

The Census Bureau reports 15% of Americans now live in poverty. That's 46.2 million people which is a record high. University of Michigan economist Sheldon Danziger calls the poverty figures surprising and a sign that expiring unemployment benefits were able to help workers for much of the year.

In August, There were a record 8.8 million American workers collecting social security disability payments, plus 2 million spouses and children of disabled workers collecting benefits. Additionally, there were a record 45.5 million retired workers, their spouses and dependents receiving Social Security benefits. That made for a record 56.3 million people in the United States in August taking SS or SSD benefits. That was up from the previous record of 56.2 million set in July. Obama is hopeless change and should not be re-elected.


tange 1 year, 7 months ago

Four years ago, I may have been better "on."
The consensus now? Probably better "off."


Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

When Reagan ask that question what republican mentality has followed? About 20 million fewer jobs and people owing more on their mortgages than their properties are worth.


This ENTITLEMENT - TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist = Grab Your Wallets!

This ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist aka home loan scandal sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many $$ trillions (Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion), Plus millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance.

This ENTITLEMENT Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern.

This ENTITLEMENT - Bush/Cheney implied many financial institutions were at risk instead of only 3? One of the biggest lies perpetrated to American citizens. Where did this money go? Why were some banks forced to take bail out money?

RECKLESS Tax cuts = THE ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy which do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs. Tax cuts are a tax increase to others in order to make up the loss in revenue = duped again. Bush Tax Cuts aka THE ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class = duped one more time.

In the end big debt and super duper bailouts HAVE BEEN the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

This ENTITLEMENT - Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

This ENTITLEMENT - Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

This ENTITLEMENT - Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents.

This ENTITLEMENT - Starting in 2003, George W. Bush destroyed the world economy by encouraging U.S. banks to make loans to those who could not afford them, through schemes such as the "American Dream Downpayment Initiative".

Also through the destruction of oversight, such as lawsuits to prevent state securities laws from being enforced on Bush's watch.

Once Bush's policies led to their inevitable result of economic collapse, the United States found itself in a situation where it had to take on debt in order to restore the economy.


riverdrifter 1 year, 7 months ago

"If you're not better off today than 4 years ago, the person most likely responsible for that stares back at you from the mirror every morning. If you don't think you're better off today than 4 years ago, do something that will make that assessment change 4 years from now."

And therein hangs the tale! Thank you! I haven't worked regularly for 3 years but I've been living off the fat of the land and I'm doing fine. The bottom line: work. And, I'm cheating Brownback to death as in he expects slaves like me to pay income tax. Cash, boys, cash. I'm like the rich boyz: ain't paying no income tax; gone underground. One exception: I work.


Fossick 1 year, 7 months ago

"Are you better off today?" was a stupid question when Reagan asked it, and it's a stupid question today. The President is not your dad. He's not your coach, your sponsor, or your best friend. He's not responsible for your life and despite his grandiose promises, cannot really deliver all that much to you, even if he cared about you personally, which he doesn't.

If you're not better off today than 4 years ago, the person most likely responsible for that stares back at you from the mirror every morning. If you don't think you're better off today than 4 years ago, do something that will make that assessment change 4 years from now.


scaramouchepart2 1 year, 7 months ago

Blame Obama for not being ALLOWED to correct 12 yrs of mismanaged business corrupted government. Shovel ready jobs. Really! Republicans destroy the worlds finance and shovel ready jobs is what they offer. And how dare we be offended. Jobs is jobs. The new slave labor should be grateful.


commonsenseanyone 1 year, 7 months ago

Bozo, it must be lonely on your bus ride with not a sole to debate with. All the republicans are at work.... Zing!


Armstrong 1 year, 7 months ago

If we're shooting to be the greatest 3rd world country then yes we are headed in the right direction. At the rate we're going I believe we could surpass Greece and Spain should Barry do the unthinkable and get another term


sprucegoose 1 year, 7 months ago

Jafs, the 36% is not entirely correct either, since there are other allowable deductions such as depreciation, contributions, taxes, etc. The investment in capital equipment just allowed the company to increase those numbers. That is why I cannot give you an exact percentage of the federal tax liability until all those figures are taken into consideration.
I can tell from your posts that we are probably from opposite ends of the political spectrum but that we could still enter into civil discourse. A rare thing in this forum. When someones MOM calls a poster an "ahole", my post as "binary and worthless", or "making no sense" I think it is time for me to find a better way to waste my time.


tbaker 1 year, 7 months ago

Debt: 41 cents of every dollar the Federal Government spends is barrowed, climbing more than $5 trillion under Obama. The federal debt has increased by more than half and is now over $16 trillion. National debt per person has increased by just over $16,000. More national debt has accumulated under Mr. Obama than all previous Presidents combined crossing $16 trillion for the first time, and is driving the U.S. credit rating down.

Healthcare: In spite of promising ObamaCare would make it cheaper, health care costs continue to rise at a very alarming pace. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

Median incomes: These have fallen 7.3% since Obama took office, which translates into an average of $4,000. Since the so-called recovery started, median incomes continued to fall, dropping $2,544, or 4.8%. A decade ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult. By 2010, the United States had fallen to seventh. Our incomes continue to go down. Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation. To get the same purchasing power that you got out of $20.00 back in 1970 you would have to have more than $116 today.

Unemployment: The unemployment rate today is the same it was during Mr. Obama’s first month in office. The economic recovery has been the worst one since WWII. Unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 months straight - despite the White House's commitment it would not exceed 7 percent if Congress enacted the president's economic stimulus package. Long-term unemployment has increased from 2.7 million to 5.2 million, with reliable estimates of the total number of unemployed people in American at 23 million once those who have completely given up looking for work are factored in. More than three years into Obama's recovery, 811,000 more still fall into this category than when the recession supposedly ended.

Poverty: The poverty rate climbed to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009, and economists think it may have hit 15.7% last year, highest since the 1960s. In spite of massive stimulus / hand-out spending, the number of Americans living in poverty has gone from 39.8 million to 46.2 million. 1 in 7 people are on Food Stamps. 47 million people (11.8 million more people on food stamps since Obama's recovery started)

Gas prices: A gallon of gas cost $1.89 when Obama was sworn in. By June 2009, the price was $2.70. Today, it's $3.84.

Now for all you folks who think all this was caused by Republican obstructionism please remember – Mr. Obama had two years where all three houses of government were controlled by his party.

His policies haven’t failed because they were blocked; they failed because they were passed. (Paul Ryan)


none2 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm definitely better off now. The justice department and the FCC blocked the merger of T-mobile and AT&T which would have caused a duopoly in the telcom industry with Verizon and ATT.

Sprint most likely would have had to have another round of massive layoffs had that merger been approved, and would have struggled to survive. That would not only be bad for employees but for the entire region since Sprint is based in Overland Park and is one of the largest private employers in the metro area. Likewise, it would have meant fewer choices and higher prices in the mobile market.


sprucegoose 1 year, 7 months ago

Jafs, this is off the subject here, but I think I left you with the wrong impression after our last conversation. Actual profit for the year was $60K. After all allowable deductions, which included the deduction for investment in capital equipment, the federal taxable income was $10k. Just thought I ought to clear that up.


donttreadonme 1 year, 7 months ago

"...that President Obama would not go along with the Keystone pipeline, a project that offered over 20,000 shovel-ready jobs,.."

That 20,000 number is bogus. They would be maybe 5-6000 temporary construction jobs (which is good) in the USA, but another 7000 would be created in CHINA to make the steel pipe and pump houses, and the rest of the jobs would be in CANADA.

So why are we in such a big hurry to let a CANADIAN company build a pipeline to sell gas/oil to CHINA? It's not going to shave a nickel off gas prices, and when that pipeline ruptures, and not if, when, it would be an environmental disaster in the USA.

But hey, go ahead and blame the President since that's your agenda. And BTW, I'm better off now than I was 4 years ago. Income up, investments up. Life is good.


blue73harley 1 year, 7 months ago

Definitely not better off. Especially took a big hit on insurance thanks largely to the Obamanator. Corporations are passing the costs on. Went from a nice co-pay to a huge high deductible - $3K out of pocket before coverage kicks in. That is what happens when the prez hands out free colonoscophies, etc.


voevoda 1 year, 7 months ago

For some of us, the measure of "better off" is not limited to our own personal financial situation. If my neighbors are going without necessary health care, if my neighbors are facing poverty in retirement as their pensions vanish, if my neighbors can't find work and can't afford higher education, if my country is mired in a purposeless war and is despised around the world, then how can I consider myself to be better off? Has the Obama administration corrected all the problems that faced our country in October 2008 so that we now live in Paradise? Of course not. But the signs are that we are headed in the right direction--and that the Romney/Ryan ticket would head us backward.


jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

Am I better off now than I was 4 years ago? Yes. I suspect it's because both my spouse and I have chosen to invest about 80 hours per week each in our small business. Of course, we both did equally well the previous 8 years and again, I suspect it's because of the hours we kept. And we did equally well the 8 years prior to that, again, for the same reasons. If there's a pattern there, it's that if you work really hard, it doesn't matter who is living in the White House.


progressive_thinker 1 year, 7 months ago

Am I better off than I was 4 years ago?

My 401k is up 50% since Bush left office.

My nephew is back from Iraq. He is not being deployed to Afghanistan because the war is winding down.

My mom's prescriptions went down over $150 per month because of the affordable care act.

My sister in law will be able to get insurance for the first time in her life. [She has been living with juvenile onset diabetes for 50 years and could previously not get insurance due to the preexisting condition.] Having insurance coverage will allow her and her husband to finally save a little for retirement. This could well end the cycle of financial disasters that they have experienced because of the lack of health care coverage.

Yes, I am better off.

Thank you.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

The real question is would we be better off if Republicans had controlled the White House and Congress over the last 3 plus years. Despite a very disappointing performance from Obama and the Democrats, the answer is a resounding "NO!!"

And, sadly, when the choice is between Romney and the petty, mean-spirited plutocracy he and the Republicans would give us, and the centrist Obama who would give us slow, marginal improvements over the status quo, the vast majority of us would most certainly be better off in four years with the latter rather than with the former.

That said, unless we do something really soon to address our use of fossil fuels, the choice between Democrats and Republicans is just a choice between whether the most negative effects of global warming begin to set in in 50 years or in 20 years.


ibroke 1 year, 7 months ago

trobs--- there has always been lots of healthcare access--- blue-cross,coventry,coventry one,aetna,celtic,companion life,united healthone,humana one, what do you mean??


jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

It's such a complex question, whether or not the country as a whole is better off now.

I'd say in some ways it is, and in others it isn't.

But, the more relevant question, although harder to answer, is whether or not we're better off than we would have been with McCain/Palin.


JonasGrumby 1 year, 7 months ago

We're not better off than we were four years. However, I am confident that Obama will get things done in a second term. Everyone deserves a second chance.


Trobs 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm making more than I've ever made. The Iraq war which took years of my father's, my wife's and my own life is over. the economy has grown every quarter since Q1 2010. My family, friends and other assorted loved ones has better access to healthcare.

Pretty good improvement in my opinion.


Liberty_One 1 year, 7 months ago

The economy is definitely not improving but is actually get worse. Inflation is causing misery for the poor and middle class, with Bernanke promising yet more quantitative easing this will only get worse. True unemployment, which includes discouraged workers and underemployed workers, is actually going up and is particularly bad among young people. These young people are losing valuable time that could be used learning skills, earning raises and promotions, gaining experience and, most important of all, making money to pay their bills and move out of their parents' house. There's a looming student loan bubble, a looming bond bust, and the threat of the dollar no longer being the world's reserve currency. India and China are buying gold. Iran doesn't want to accept US dollars for oil anymore. If this happens it could mean a massive inflation here in the US as those dollars come back here when no one else accepts them.

The fundamentals aren't getting better. Manufacturing jobs are not coming back. The housing market is still troubled. Unemployment is devastating the younger generation. There's trouble in Europe which could spread here. The government is tapped out, with deficits still at record levels and a massive amount of unfunded entitlements that will have to be defaulted on.

Keynesian economics has completely failed. It's time to try something else.


Jean1183 1 year, 7 months ago

Jean1183--->NOT better off.


grammaddy 1 year, 7 months ago

Look around you,idiot. If you believe all the religious hype about going to a "better place" when you die, then even Bin Laden is better off. If you're not,maybe you should take some personal responsibility for that.


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