In his 1980 presidential debate with Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan looked directly into the television cameras and asked the American public, simply, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" The question—posed by incumbent and challenger alike—has since become a recurring feature of presidential campaign season. Now, with Election Day 2012 nearly upon us, the Manhattan Institute has enlisted six of its fellows to take up the question anew. On issues such as housing prices, energy prices, unemployment, bank regulation, and America's reputation in the Muslim world, the news is not good. We are not better off than we were four years ago and in some cases we are worse off—far worse off. However, the last four years have seen significant improvement in one issue area of historic concern to the Manhattan Institute: education.
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