The Reagan Question: Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Eight Years Ago?
This paper updates Ronald Reagan's famous question during the 1980 presidential election: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" by comparing the state of the economy in 2000 and 2008. We use 25 indicators of economic well-being and economic performance and find that 23 of the 25 indicators are worse in 2008 than they were in 2000. Even after we limit comparisons to similar points across the business cycle, the same 23 indicators were worse at the most recent business-cycle peak (2007) than they were in 2000.
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