The headline at the Center for Economic and Policy Research rather speaks for itself: " 'Are Americans Better Off Today Than They Were Four Years Ago?' The Question That Exposes Incompetent Reporters."
Still, I'd prefer to frame the subtitle a bit differently: "Gee I don't know, Mr. Reporter, but is it possible for you to dive deep into your shallow journalistic instincts and ask an even dumber question?"
We're not in a court of law, "yes" or "no" answers can't be demanded, yet political media thrive on the 10-second soundbite, which is tantamount to the former. For a Democratic pol, the answer can only be, "You bet your ass they are, even if this exposes me to Republican ridicule--you know, the same Republicans who, for the past four years, have labored tirelessly on behalf of the poor, the disadvantaged, the unemployed."
Ah but there, there's a problem. The sarcasm would be lost on those five or six remaining "swing voters" in those five or six remaining swing states.
Better, I suppose, to just say, "You bet your bottom," and leave it at that, subsequent to adding, naturally, "Which Americans are you asking about? Or do you, Mr. Reporter, think of Americans as some sort of monolithic collectivity? ... one enormous, undifferentiated proletariat? ... oppressed victims at the whimsical beck and call of soviet puppet masters? ... hapless objects of inexorable forces of history? Say, what kind of commie are you, anyway?"
If that doesn't back him off, nothing will. Sure, it's just more sarcasm, but it's "nuanced" sarcasm. This will confuse and fluster him and leave him only the refuge of the next dumb question on his lapidary list.