Why is it that no one is asking the question, "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?"

It could be that no one is asking because we all know the answer. The answer is no one is better off. Not the rich.Not the poor, and certainly not the middle class. In the last four years, the rich have been forced to pay more than its fair share. According to the US News and World Report, the rich, who make up 1 percent of all taxpayers, paid 37 percent of all federal taxes.

As hard as the rich have had it, the middle class, the class that the president claims to protect, has been hit harder. Workers have seen it in their paychecks where 2 percent is being deducted. This means that a person earning $35,000 a year has a monthly paycheck that is reduced by $54.

Now the president is proposing a new formula to figure annual increases in Social Security, which will hit the middle classes the hardest. We need the government to realize that this is not some give-away program from the federal government, it's money that is forcibly taken from the worker's paycheck every month as part of a forced savings program to be paid back to those very seniors when they retire.

Seniors who have been conned into investing in "safe" investments such as CDs have seen interest that they receive fall to less than one percent. This means they are losing more than 2 perent of their investment every year because it's been eaten away by inflation.

Next year Obamacare will hit with a vengeance. With 30 million more Americans to be covered, Del Norte families who are lucky enough to find a doctor will find that they will be forced to buy very expensive health insurance. How expensive? The IRS estimates that it will cost $20,000 for a family of four by the year 2016. Those who fail to sign up will be subject to paying a penalty of 2.5 percent of their taxable income.

Seniors with Medicare Advantage will see their premiums increase to pay for Obamacare. Remember, President Obama sold us on Obamacare with three promises: one, that we could keep our doctor; two, that it would save each household $2,500 every year; and three, that if we liked our current plan, we could keep it. All of these promises have been broken.

Now the president is proposing an additional tax on cigarettes. This would bring the federal tax to over a dollar a pack. This tax falls the heaviest on the lower middle class because they make up the largest percentage of smokers. Of course, more people would probably quit smoking, causing the administration to call for more taxes on those smokers who are left.

At the state level, California has among the highest corporate taxes of any of the 50 states, which is why many businesses have left for lower tax states. In addition, it also has the fourth-highest personal tax rate of any state at 11.2 percent.

This year you and I arepaying an additional sales tax. The governor sold it as a way to pay for schools, yet the schools have yet to see an additional dime of those millions of dollars. Could it be that he wants to spend it on state inmates who claim it's their right for the state to pay for their sex change operations?

Speaking of inmates, now that the governor has shifted responsibility for state prisoners to the counties, it's only a matter of time before the counties like Del Norte will have to provide all of the medical, dental and psychological services to these inmates that state prisons provide. Who will pay for that?Look in the mirror.You guessed it.

On the local level, we are now paying a lot more for electricity because you and I are going to end up paying for the extra cost to produce electricity now that the dams on the Klamath river will be history. And don't forget that our sewer rate is going to increase to pay for the new sewer plant.

Is it any wonder that the rich feel less rich? Middle class workers feel that their paychecks are under attack forcing more to apply for food stamps, and seniors contemplate spending the rest of their retirement years making hard choices between getting proper nutritious foods or going without one or two meals a day in order to pay for their prescription medicines.

Is this the future you want for yourselves and your children? Is there something you can do to prevent runaway government from taking over every aspect of your lives?

Yes, there is. You can start by becoming involved. Join a local organization that believes that government should live within its means and not borrow from our children's future. After all, our children should not have to pay China for the debt we have left to them. We must think, act, and behave like responsible adults and demand that those we have elected to represent us, really represent us and not their own narrow interests.

Bob Berkowitz is a Crescent City resident.