Former President Ronald Reagan once famously asked the rhetorical question of viewers during his second debate with Jimmy Carter, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
What brought Reagan’s quote to mind was the lead story in the Winthrop Sun Transcript from August 3, 2000, which tells of the vote by the School Committee to increase the athletic user fee from $50 to $75.
If this story had appeared 50 years ago, it would be considered quaint. But given that the story is from just 10 years ago, it is quite sad. Inflation and the high cost of living have nothing to do with the meteoric rise of the athletic user fee to today’s $250 figure, which all but has priced out the track program, a sport that brought so much glory and enjoyment for WHS students over the years.
Tax cuts for the rich; a phony war in the Mideast; and Wall Street’s greed have conspired to bring about declines in the American way of life and the ability of state and local governments to function.
So, to pose (and answer) Pres. Reagan’s question: “Yes, we are worse off than we were 10 years ago.” And we fear the next decade will be even worse.