In the WaPo today, “Most Americans Glum on Financial Progress”:
Offering the gloomiest assessment of personal economic progress in close to half a century, a new survey has found that most Americans think they have not made economic progress over the past five years, as their incomes have stagnated and they have increasingly borrowed money to finance their lifestyles.
As many Americans struggle with declining housing values, increasing food and energy prices and growing unemployment after a long period of flat wages, well over half of respondents said they are either losing ground economically or are stuck in the same place, according to the report released today by the Pew Research Center. Only four in 10 said they have moved forward in the past five years — a record low, Pew says, and far off the record 57 percent who in 1997 said they had moved forward in the previous five years.
The squeeze is particularly tight for those who are low-income and for the 53 percent of Americans who classify themselves as middle-class. Nearly four out of five middle-class adults say it is more difficult for people like them to maintain their standard of living. In 1986, fewer than two of three middle-class people shared that opinion.
Only two in five middle-class Americans say they “live comfortably,” while one in five says he or she is just able to meet expenses. The others say they are able to meet expenses with some money left. Overall, slightly more than half said they had to “tighten their belts” to adjust to the increasing economic pressure.
AP reports on another poll out today that shows that “Rising health care costs and the faltering economy are making consumers worry that they won’t be able to save enough for a comfortable retirement.”
Glum indeed. And finally, as a small business owner, I think it is important to note this from INC Magazine:
The nation’s small-business owners are cutting back on hiring and spending plans amid weaker sales and a bleaker outlook on business conditions, the National Federation of Independent Business reported Tuesday.
We need a president who has the right ideas about fixing the economy.