Commenting today on John McCain’s “We’re worse off than we were four years ago” ad, George Will observes that the question of being better off should be quantified in terms of more than one’s pocket book:
Unfortunately, the phrase “better off” is generally understood as a reference to your salary, your bank balance, your IRA and the like. But wait. Are you better off being four years older? That depends.
If you are young, since 2004 you might have found romance, had children, learned to fly-fish and become a Tampa Bay Rays fan. In which case you emphatically are better off, even if since 2004 there has been only a 0.6 percent increase — yes, increase — in the median value of single-family homes.
If you are near “the sear, the yellow leaf” of life, in the past four years your expected remaining years of life have declined. But that does not mean you cannot be better off.
Read the whole thing. It’s George Will at his best.
As someone who has two more children than he did four years ago, I’m certainly better off. In an election year we must not forget that our prosperity most often has less to do with presidents than it does providence.