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Are You Better Off? Just Do the Arithmetic

September 04, 2004

In the article "Better Off Than 4 Years Ago? Nation Is Divided," Aug. 30, you present, without comment, a table titled "Economics of Election" comparing six measures of the economic record of each president since Eisenhower.

The comparison is so striking that I think it deserves some analysis. For example, if you summarize the measures of each term for two-term Democratic and Republican administrations by combining the two Bush (father and son) terms, the two Nixon-Ford terms and the two Kennedy-Johnson terms, in addition to the two-term Reagan and Clinton administrations (excluding the Eisenhower administration, for which the data are incomplete), you will find that either Democratic administration beats all three Republican administrations for all six measures. This result should dispel any doubt as to which party is better for the economy.

Gerald A. Cohen

Laguna Beach


I often wonder where people like Kim Wallace, chief political analyst at Lehman Bros., do their research. My husband and I are college-educated professionals each earning (or used to be earning) $70,000 or better and we invariably say that we are not better off than we were four years ago. In the last three years, my husband has not seen a merit increase because of budget constraints. Last year he was lucky to receive a 2% cost-of-living adjustment. Since January, my salary has been cut 15%. During the last three years, we have been fortunate to weather the many job layoffs and now work for employers who expect the same amount of work to be completed with fewer workers, decreased salary, decreased compensation and no light at the end of the tunnel. Four years ago, I had hope. Today, I have none.

Felicia Hinrichs

Los Angeles

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