Sept. 19 2012 12:00 AM

Hoping to inherit political capital enjoyed in the ‘80s by their sacred leader, Ronald Reagan, Republicans are once again using this question as a way to gain an advantage on President Obama this election.

Maybe it’s a fair question. Maybe it’s pointless — after all, economies don’t radically shift every four years. 

Leading up to the Nov. 6 election, City Pulse will take to the streets to ask residents from all walks of life this inherently loaded — or plainly simple — question: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

— Compiled by City Pulse intern Randiah Green. Edited by Andy Balaskovitz

Everett Root
Residence: Haslett
Age: 51
Occupation: State employee

“From an economic standpoint for me and my family, things are fine. Things haven’t necessarily gotten better but we’ve held our own. I have worked four years without a raise now. It’s harder on my son because he’s graduated and now he has to pay off his student loans. My wife is thinking about finding a different job and we anticipate that to be hard. In that regard, we are not sure what the next year will look like. It does seem tougher to make ends meet or to find extra money to do something with, or to save to help our son pay off his student loans, for example. I’ve watched a lot of family members leave the state — nieces and nephews from 20 to 30 years old — because they are underemployed for their qualifications.” 

Matthew Samuels
Residence: Lansing
Age: 28
Occupation: Student

“It was tough finding a job out of undergrad and when I finally did find a job, it still wasn’t anywhere where I thought I should be. That led me to go back to law school. It was a negative impact that had a positive result. I think it’s gotten worse trying to find a job after being an undergraduate. I will say that when I was in school, the student loans were tough. The whole student deferment where you could consolidate all of your student loans into one and then defer them if you were unemployed was a major thing for me when I finished my undergraduate degree.”

Katherine Hunt
Residence: Lansing
Age: 23
Occupation: Student

“The insurance policies where people are able to stay on their parents’ plans a little longer has been helpful. My best friend recently had knee surgery and was able to be covered by her parents’ plan. She is 24, and she has had medical problems all of her life and probably will continue to. So this will probably be helpful to her even in the future, because I’m sure she is going to need it.”