Yes, we are better off than four years ago

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As the Democratic convention gets under way, here in Charlotte and across the nation, there’s only one question that counts for voters: Are you better off today than you were four years ago?

It’s the question most effectively raised by Ronald Reagan in 1980, when Jimmy Carter was running for reelection. Because the answer at that time was clearly: No. But Republicans should think twice about raising the same question today. Because, except for those who’ve never accepted the idea of Barack Obama as president, the answer is clearly: Damned straight we are!

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True, things are far from perfect. Too many middle-class Americans are hurting. Too many Americans are still out of a job. Too many recent graduates can’t find their first one. But in so many areas, compared to four years ago, we have made significant progress.

Four years ago, we were bogged down in two long wars. Today, the war in Iraq is over. A new Iraqi government is in charge. And the war in Afghanistan is winding down, with the first wave of U.S. troops already back home. 

Four years ago, we still feared the possibility of new terrorist attacks cooked up by Osama bin Laden against the United States. Today, he’s dead. Al Qaeda’s leadership has been almost totally destroyed. And Moammar Gadhafi’s no longer up to his old tricks, either.

Four years ago, following the Bush crash of 2008, the Dow had sunk below 9,000. Today, the Dow is routinely trading above 13,000. U.S. corporations have enjoyed three years of record-high profits. And the American auto industry is back from the brink of bankruptcy: bigger, stronger, and producing better cars than ever.

Four years ago, America was hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs a month. That’s the hole Obama found himself in, the first month of his presidency. Today, it’s just the reverse. For the last 29 months in a row, over 100,000 new private-sector jobs have been created. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Obama stimulus alone was responsible for saving or creating 3.2 million jobs.

Four years ago, some 50 million Americans could not get health insurance, even if they could afford it. Today, under ObamaCare, 36 million Americans have access to healthcare for the first time, over a million young Americans are now covered on their parents’ policy and all women have access to contraception and preventive healthcare, with no copay.

Four years ago, gays and lesbians serving in the military had to live a lie. Today, they can serve proudly and openly in uniform. And marriage equality has been endorsed by a president of the United States.

As Democrats will boast from Charlotte this week, that’s an impressive list of accomplishments, by any measure. Perhaps best summed up by Vice President Biden in bumper-sticker fashion: “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!”

Press hosts the nationally syndicated “Bill Press Show” and “Full Court Press” on Current TV.