So how you livin’ compared to four years ago?

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Four years later and STILL no hoverboards?

Are you better off now than four years ago? Well, are you? It’s a dubious framework for a question, especially one meant to define an entire campaign, because there are so many factors involved that go beyond just who happens to be sitting in the Oval Office at the time. But it is, of course, the question the Republicans are hanging their (diamond-studded cowboy) hats on this year. As VP nominee and world’s greatest marathoner Paul Ryan said in Greenville yesterday: “The president can say a lot of things, but he can’t tell you that you’re better off.” Can’t he?

Not that anyone in the presidential election ever pays attention to us here in this big blue city, but things have changed like crazy just in Brooklyn over four years. The condo boom busted and then re-boomed, we went from being known for bands like TV on the Radio to being mocked for obscenely overpriced foodie tours and we got like 12 more flea markets and a bunch of new tech jobs.

So before Joe Biden and all the rest start telling us about the struggles of single fathers in Roanoke, we want to hear your Obama era progress report. Give us the rundown in three areas: your job, your income and your general mental/physical/spiritual well being.

(Oh, and lest you think Obama doesn’t care about the youth vote, this button was spotted at the convention, and this ad just surfaced in which Obama calls to chat with … Harold & Kumar, courting the ever-important almost-too-stoned-to-vote demographic.)

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  1. I feel that the last four years were the movie that does not live up to the awesome preview. I don’t think that Obama is to blame, but compared to four years ago I am now unemployed and also single. My brother has taken to screaming “thanks Obama!” in a hick voice whenever something bad happens, such as burning toast. Maybe I should’ve done that when I got dumped. Or laid off.

  2. Job: I’m in the same position as 4 years ago.
    Income: I’m making significantly more money now than I was 4 years ago (in the same position).
    General mental/physical/spiritual well being: My general well being has improved exponentially over the past 4 years.

    Fortunately for me, all three of these factors in my life were improved due in almost no part to Obama. Not that he’s not great. I like him. He’s dreamy AND he talks pretty, so I’ll for sure be voting for him (again).

  3. Job: Got a full time job a month after graduating college, which I am very lucky to have.

    Income: Not huge, but it’s enough for now…or at least until my student loans go out of forbearance.

    Well being: I’m actually less stressed now that I’m done with school, though still pretty stressed. Bleh.

  4. Four years ago, I was getting ready to quit my full-time newspaper job in South Carolina and move up to the great unknown of New York City. The first few years were rough (thanks, Obama’s anti-free-food policies); but now I’m holding steadily above water, and much happier freelancing here than I was slogging away at a dying industry down in SC. I might even get health insurance help soon. No complaints, save for the lack of hoverboards. WHERE’S THE HOVERBOARDS, OBAMA?!?!

  5. My job… well that doesn’t exist. But it has absolutely nothing to do with Obama. It has to do with (shocker) corporate greed and institutional flaws in the legal education system (churning out 11k graduates for less than 2k new jobs in NYC every year), irresponsible education lending, and a massive economic crash resulting from 3 decades of poor economic policy. And bad decisionmaking on my part (I know, it’s a very un-American concept to actually take responsibility for yourself instead of blaming the government). Needless to say my income has been affected by the fact that I am not working in the profession I spent slightly less than what I could have paid for a decent studio apartment in one of the soon to gentrify nabes of Brooklyn. And Obama actually helped me (a little) on that front. Now after 20 years of making regular payments on my student loans the government will forgive me for the borrowers debt regret of my youth.

    Mentally/physically/emotionally I think the hard economic times has made better people of all of us, or at least here in Brooklyn anyway. Until I watched that horrifying #invisibleobama incident and Rmoney refer to our country as a company the other night I was feeling very positive about the future despite my career struggles. Now I have set in motion plans to renounce my citizenship if the Republicans succeed in buying the presidency and using their time travel technology/insane cult mentality to reverse all the progress we have made for equality and civil rights over the past few decades.

    People and politicians need to exercise a little fore and hind sight and recognize that the economy will have ebbs and flows, but what makes this country great is not a 3 bedroom split level with a mini van in the drive. It’s rights, equality, fairness, freedom. Also, having a planet, which Mitt doesn’t seem to think is important to helping you and your family. Good thing Obama started Mars exploration!

    And if you don’t know what caused these massive financial woes, watch “Too Big to Fail”. That should settle who’s party fucked it up for everyone but Mitt’s 1%.

  6. Four years ago I was in the midst of undergrad and unsure of my prospects. Now I’m 23, working for an Ivy League school and pursuing a masters degree. Big differences? I’m still insured with my parents, which is amazing, considering my job is entirely unbenefitted. Job-wise, I work in journalism, and it’s going to take more than four years to fix the job situation in my market. I’ll likely remain a freelancer for some time, so it’s great knowing not only that I can keep my insurance for a few more years, but that when it’s times for me to move to my own plan, I can’t be turned away for pre-existing asthma and GI conditions.
    I’m also able to take out student loans at the fixed interest rate of 6.8%.
    So yeah, I’d like to say I’m better off. Four years ago I faced a rough market and bleak prospects, especially in the event that I didn’t get a job right out of school (which I didn’t). Now I have a job, I’m able to stay healthy and pursue a higher degree in the hopes of finding a better job.

  7. four years ago I moved to an entirely new state for the first time in my life, and a few months ago I made another huge move. So far new york is working out pretty swell!

  8. My life is unbelievably better than it was 4 years ago.
    Job: went from being a full-time law student to full-time employment.
    Income: went from negative income, i.e. living on student loans, to a middle-income salary plus 100% loan repayment through my law school because I work for a nonprofit.
    Well-being: was dating an asshole, am now living with a fantastic partner, and now that I’m not in law school I have ample free time to spend on friends, hobbies, and exercise.
    Thanks, Obama! (I’m not sure how much he had to do with it, but I feel like if others can blame him for everything bad in their life, I can give him credit for the good).

  9. Four years ago, I had just quit my job in South Carolina, and I was $6,000 in credit card debt (that was sort of intentional and planned out, however, as crazy as that sounds). I make a lot more money than I did four years ago to kind of do the same thing. I’d rather be living somewhere else, but as far as the stuff that the government has some influence on, I’d say there’s been a net positive. I’m guessing though that the people who read this site are not the people who would be most impacted be an economic downturn. A lot of positives in this thread. If you live in New York, and you read this site, chances are you’re either doing very well or your economic hardship is at least partially self-induced. I think the story would be a little different if this site covered rural Michigan.

  10. Job: Was laid-off in January 2009 and am still out of full time employment. My husband was laid-off in May 2009. Moved to NYC in order to open up more job opportunities and so far, still nothing except lots of temp jobs. The only hits I get are for entry level jobs making far less than my previous management job. I have fear that it will become increasingly difficult the longer I’m not working full time. My husband is currently training for a new career due to difficulty.

    Income: Definitely worse for obvious reasons. I’m strangely paying less in rent though and got rid of my car so that all helps. Keep deferring my loans though.

    Well Being: Honestly? Pretty shitty. Can’t leave NYC because it will cost too much to move. Can’t find a job with benefits here. Can’t have kids because of no health care.

    I know things can’t change overnight. I can say that many friends who were out of work the same time I was now are gainfully employed and succeeding. I continue to see jobs to apply for which is much much more than previous years. My peers are even buying homes. A mess cannot be fixed in 4 years. I’d like to see Obama in another term because 8 years could be a better tell.

  11. 4 years ago, I had just moved from Portland to New Jersey for grad school. I had a van I bought for $800 to make the trip and about $400 in cash, and no source of income, although I merely had to wait a few weeks for student aid to get sorted out and then I had a bunch of cash.*

    Fast forward, I have a job in my field and a salary. So It worked out pretty well.

    *: I’m paying that back now :(

  12. Four years ago I was in the middle of college, with no source of income. Now I am steadily employed in an awesome field, with a decent salary (full-time with benefits!). I haven’t had a lapse in health insurance coverage either, thanks to the policy where you’re covered under your parents until age 26. Aside from my student loan debt (which is my only debt), I’d say I’m better off.

  13. Four years ago I was living in the city, barely making ends meet as a Production Assistant for film & tv. After a brief transitional unemployment, I wound up at a small computer company that had just entered the cell phone market.

    Flash forward to today – I’m a full time computer technician for this company, and I can finally afford to own the phone that drives our stock.

    So yeah, financially I’m doing well. No credit card debt, and beginning a small savings account. However, note that in the 4 years that have elapsed I’ve made over $20,000 in payments towards my student loans… only decreasing the principal by about $4k.

    Other than that weighty mental burden, I feel well centered these days. I would go so far as to say that, on occasion, under the exact right circumstance, I have even felt… patriotism.

  14. Job: I have a better one than I did 4 years ago – this came about because I was laid off from my previous job in 2008, so…thanks? On the minus side, I live in Brooklyn and commute to Westchester.
    Income: Increased by a large amount.
    Well-being: Hard to gauge. I’m always pretty happy. I got violently mugged on my street a little over 4 years ago, and literally right where my blood was on the sidewalk there’s a veterinarian’s office. Hey, I’m also generally happy that more American citizens were granted inalienable civil rights in certain states, so I can’t complain too much.

  15. Job – still freelancing with more work then 4 years ago.
    Income – increased
    Well …. I’d love better health insurance, I’d love to see what happens with Obama’s plan. Wouldn’t it be great to afford it? I have freelancers union which has been great but it’s not enough. We need more options!

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