Standing at a podium in his crisp, dark blue suit, Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate for President in 1980, looked sternly into the camera and posed this question to the American people: “Ask yourself, are you better off now than you were four years ago?”
He was debating Jimmy Carter. The economy was in the tank. Virtually every indicator, from consumption, to GDP to the stock market, suggested the end of the world was at hand. Of course, Reagan went on to win the election in a landslide.
If you’ve been paying any attention to this year’s election coverage no doubt you’ve heard both Republicans and Democrats debate whether or not Americans are better, or worse off, than they were four years ago. At a rally earlier this week Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan said, “Simply put, the Jimmy Carter years look like the good old days compared to where we are right now.” A day later Vice President Joe Biden responded, “You want to know whether we’re better off? I’ve got a little bumper sticker for you: Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.”
Lost in all of the campaign rhetoric, the ideology, the polarizing prime-time TV talk shows, the political propaganda spewed at both the Republican and Democratic conventions, the half-truths, the non-answers and ominous economic forecasting is one fact that’s completely overlooked: there isn’t a damn thing any President, Republican or Democrat, or Senator, or Congressperson can do to make you better, or worse off than you were four years ago, 8 years ago, or 30 years ago.
The only person responsible for you being better, or worse off, today is YOU.
When I woke up this morning I asked myself the question, “Am I better off today than I was four years ago?” The answer was yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
I’ll celebrate 14 years of marriage in October. I love my wife now more than the day we got married. My daughters inspire me everyday with their creativity and desire to learn. My bank account, while not as big as it used to be, isn’t shrinking anymore. For the past 10 years I’ve gotten to do what I love – invest, teach, write and talk about real estate investing. I turned 40 earlier this year and I’m in the best shape of my life. I ran in a 12-mile mud obstacle course race in January, do P90x every morning, and I’m currently training for a half marathon in November. My cholesterol is lower than it’s ever been too. So yes, I’m better off now than I was four years ago. It’s all because I made a decision to be better off – emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually.
I refuse to give credit, or place blame, for any of my accomplishments or failures on the President of the United States. I take full responsibility for my actions and give glory to God for the gifts I’ve received.
If you’re worse off today than you were four years ago, I’m very sorry. The good news is that we still live in the greatest country in the world. If you make a decision to have a positive attitude, work ethic and faith, then things will turn around.
And neither Barack Obama, or Mitt Romney if he’s elected, will have anything to do with it.
God bless America.