Are You Better Off?

For much of the middle class, the answer is no -- yet it isn't hurting Bush

Unemployment is near a 14-year low. Inflation has been cut to about a third of its pace in the early 1980s. Interest rates are only half as high as eight years ago. The U.S. economy shrugged off the October 1987 stock-market crash to record a sixth straight year of growth, a feat unprecedented during peacetime. So why, given the fact that pocketbook issues eventually dominate almost every presidential campaign, is George Bush not running away with the election?

One reason is fear that gargantuan budget and trade deficits may yet cause prosperity to fizzle. But there is also a feeling that...

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