The oft-asked question during this presidential race is, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"
The party out of power — this year the Republicans — loves to try to corner the incumbent with this query, especially if we've had a rough couple of years.
It's a relevant, though simplistic approach.
Considering the state of the union, however, here is a question that citizens can pose to both political parties:
"What the heck happened to America?"
Consider the following:
* The national debt has reached $16 trillion. The amount we owe has increased over $5 trillion during President Obama's first term; it took President Bush two terms to reach $5 trillion in additional debt.
* The annual interest on the debt is about $500 billion. About one-third of our debt is owned by foreign countries.
* According to the CBO, the federal debt held by the public is more than 70 percent of GDP. That's the highest level since just after WWII.
* The Wall Street Journal reported last May that Census Bureau figures show that half of all Americans live in a household that receives at least one government benefit and many likely receive more than one.