9/19/2012 7:25 PM ET|
Readers answer: Better or worse?
Worse off, but Obama supporters
So, if our sample of MSN Money readers is any indication, are people better off? Will posing the question at rallies help Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win votes?
Some of our readers who said they were better off noted that many others were doing badly, and they did not seem to offer support for Obama. Meanwhile, the two MSN Money readers who responded to our request for an interview each said that they were worse off than they were four years ago, but they didn't blame the current president.
Reader Jacqui Stewart, for example, lost her job at a nonprofit student loan company in March, in part because of student loan reforms under Obama. While she's stressed about having to pay her mortgage now, she's thankful that she has a home, which she says she was able to buy with help from stimulus programs under Obama.
She is considering returning to school to become certified in a health care occupation, using a state grant that assists unemployed people who take classes. She is leaning toward a vote for Obama in November.
"Bill Clinton was right -- Obama did come into a mess. I get that," she said. "He came into a huge mess. Four years isn't enough time to make it right. I do feel that in that respect he should be given more time."
Romney, she said, also wants the rich to pay less when they already pay less in taxes and should be asked to pay more than the middle and working classes.
"I just think he's out of touch with what most of the country is . . . . Most of the country doesn't make millions of dollars a year . . . .
"I believe it should be tiered -- sorry if you can't buy your private jet this year," she said.
Bill Richardson, the other reader interviewed, lost his work in home construction in Texas in August 2008, during the housing crash. He was 65 and took early Social Security. Retired after it became difficult to get work, he's had to learn to live on very little, far less than he did in the past.
"I have about $10 a week discretionary income, so if I don't get sick or my vehicle doesn't need repairs, then I'm fine," he said. "I've become used to living on the income I have, because I don't know if at any time in the future my income will increase."
Richardson forgoes any medical tests that aren't 100% covered by Medicare, and he is thankful to be in good health. And, although the housing sector has not made significant rebounds in the past four years, contributing to his own hardship, he blames the banking industry and the lack of regulation that occurred under prior administrations.
"There are people who make money whether the house is foreclosed or not," he said, referring to the complicated financial instruments that insured many on Wall Street against bad housing loans. "A big part of this economy was propped up with false credit. People were taking out loans they couldn't afford, and it wasn't their fault."
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