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Better Off 4 Years Later? A Mixed Bag Of Answers

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THE RETIREE

Carole Delhorbe has a simple financial formula: Her two adult sons are better off, so she is, too.

Delhorbe says she could tell the economy was picking up when the two, one 32, the other 27, stopped asking her for money.

"There was a time when things were so tight for them ... as much money went out to door to pay their bills as if I had a mortgage," she says. "I knew they were never going to get anywhere if they didn't get any help."

But she noticed their calls tapered off last year and stopped this spring. Her older son's online toy and collectible business has improved, she says, and her younger son's Navy salary has increased.

As for herself, Delhorbe feels "a lot more secure" with Obama's health care program. She especially likes the provision that bans insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing illnesses.

Delhorbe, who lives in Ruskin, Fla., quit her job as a furniture refinisher more than two years ago because of health problems. She'd been paying her medical bills out of pocket and feared her arthritis and irregular heart beat would disqualify her from getting insurance.

"I'm so happy now that I don't have to worry about that," she says.

Delhorbe, a registered Republican who is an Obama supporter, also senses a more positive atmosphere. "The constant whining, moaning and complaining about the economy ... it's not like it was three or four years ago."

Homes in her neighborhood that had been foreclosed are now occupied, she says, and neighbors were out in their boats this summer after docking them for years.

"You knew when things were rotten: People wouldn't get together, they wouldn't have community parties. They just stopped," she says. "There was no fun for a few years. Now we're having get-togethers and we're starting to have some fun again."

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