It’s time to ask the ‘Reagan Question’ again

By Denny Wilkins

As the midterm elections approach in November, people in America should pop the Reagan question: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

Voters should ask, for example:

“Is my health insurance costing me more out of pocket than under the previous two presidents? Am I getting better, more affordable benefits?”

“Can I still get health insurance? At what price?”

“Do I have to pay more for my prescription medications?”

“Have work restrictions been placed on my Medicare benefits? Has my state limited Medicare benefits?”

“Are my Social Security benefits still the same?”

“Has my property tax bill gone up or down? What about school taxes, too?”

“Has the rusty, dilapidated bridge carrying my daughter’s school bus been repaired?”

“I live in a city. Has my child developed asthma in the past year?”

“How will children recover from the interruptions of their school year due to COVID-19?”

“What kind of education is my son or daughter getting now? Are there more or fewer computers in her school? Are the teachers better?”

“Am I still wearing a mask?”

“Given supply chain interruptions have closed auto plants, what’s the interest rate on a used car loan now?”

“Is the country really as divided as the media portray it? Are we on the brink of a civil war?”

“Is it more difficult for me to vote now? Do I have to show a photo ID or any kind of government-issued ID to vote if I didn’t in the past?”

“If I’m not white, am I more fearful now of law enforcement?”

“If I’m not male, am I still being short-changed in my pay compared to men?”

“Is being a member of a union useful to me anymore?”

“Is there a union for me to join?”

“Will my child in the military need to fight a war in southeast Asia? Or Ukraine? Or guard an oil well in the Mideast?”

“I had a job before COVID-19. Do I have one now?”

“Can I be sure that the food I eat is as safe as it used to be?”

“Did we add more nuclear bombs to the U.S. arsenal? Does Iran have a bomb now? Does North Korea?”

“Do we sell more or fewer weapons to Saudi Arabia?”

“Are more potholes being fixed?”

“Are TSA lines at the airport longer?”

“Are we spending more or less on foreign aid?”

“Is the federal deficit higher or lower now?”

“What’s the price of gasoline? Of bread? Of milk? Of beef?”

“Have any big bank executives — or big tech executives — been charged with crimes?”

“Do I have the same doctor?”

“What about my student loans? Higher? Lower?”

“Do colleges cost more now?”

“Has the post office in my town been closed?”

“Do I still have to wait a long time to get an appointment at a VA clinic?”

“Has a federal treaty with my tribe been broken or ignored again?”

“What’s my tax bracket now?”

“Can I hire a refugee from the Mideast to work for my company?”

“Has the gender, racial, or ethnic mix of teachers at my child’s school changed?”

“Do I have to worry about Russia again?”

“Who’s looking out for my family?”

Denny Wilkins is a professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University.

Categories: Jandoli Institute, Politics

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