"Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"
It's a popular and all-too-familiar presidential campaign question that party leaders on both sides of the aisle like to pose.
The irony is, the answers between both parties appear juxtaposed-- between reality and a hard-line party script:
Republicans yell "no!" Obama's done an awful job; too many people are still out of work and struggling! (although the incomes of the top 10 percent of the wealthiest Americans and corporations have seen record-level growth).
Democrats yell "yes!" Obama has saved the country from another Depression (although the middle-class continues to collapse fast into low-income brackets all across the nation).
But on Tuesday during a new conference, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to add his two cents to the question: He says "yes," New Yorkers are better off.
"Certainly we can say in New York City, and that's the only place I am an expert on, things are better than four years ago," said the mayor.
But was the mayor speaking for himself? Unemployment remains high at 10 percent and a record number of families in the city now fill homeless shelters.
Still, on the flip side, would the situation have been worse if not for the various safety nets casted by this current president? It's a fact that a myriad of new programs have been created during the president's administration targeted at the middle-class, the struggling and the poor.
President Obama has made it easier for those who need it to gain access to healthcare coverage, dental coverage, unemployment insurance; he has provided help for struggling homeowners, help for new business startups, granted temporary amnesty to illegal immigrants and is now helping graduates struggling to re-pay their student loans.
But as Fox News host Greta Van Susteren stated following President Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, "All of that sounds good. But none of that matters if you don't have a job."
So what do you think? As a New Yorker, do you feel you are better off today than you were four years ago? And if not, do you at least feel hopeful for a better tomorrow?