The Herald Bulletin
---- — Question: “Are you better off now than you were five years ago?”
Some may be quick to answer this question without giving it much real thought. I believe to answer this question, we must first look at the facts.
Fact 1: In January 2009, the U.S. Median Household Income (the true measure of the economy) was $55,871 whereas of August 2013 it is $52,236 (source: Sentier Research).
Fact 2: In January 2009, the national average price for one gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $1.83, in August 2013 it is $3.58 per gallon (source: Energy Information Administration).
Fact 3: Since January 2009, consumer prices have increased 9.6 percent, the number of food stamp recipients have increased 49 percent, debt held by the public has increased 90 percent and federal spending has increased 11.2 percent (source: Factcheck.org).
Fact 4: In January 2009 the federal debt was $10.6 trillion, in October 2013 $16.7 trillion – an increase of 57 percent (source: The Washington Times).
Now with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions of people are losing their medical coverage while those of us fortunate enough to keep our medical coverage have seen our deductibles and co-pays triple and quadruple to meet the demands of the ACA. After looking at the facts, my answer is simple: No, I am not better off now than I was five years ago.