Glum

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.

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7 Responses to Glum

  1. Dizzy Dezzi says:

    Glum is definitely an understatement. That’s like saying that New Orleans got a little wet.

    I’m not a little glum about the economy, I’m scared as Hell and mad, too. Luckily, my business has maintained over the last year, but that could change. Even if I continue to maintain the current status quo, I can’t afford to improve on my business assets because prices for the kind of equipment I need to improve my business are going up, not to mention shipping costs and printing costs and just every day standard office supplies.

    Glum, indeed. I’m glum that I can’t find a good brassiere, but I’m worried sick that the day will come that something bad will happen (like hubby gets hurt) and then it will be 1990, all over again, only I have three kids, instead of one and no viable way to care for a family of 5 (vs 2, back in the day). You’ll recall who was president back, then, too.

  2. Janis says:

    Well hell, we got a HALF TRILLION DOLLARS to blow on turning people into blood-soaked rags and bone fragments, so how bad could it be?!

    I’m sorry, I’m going to be seething over that half-trillion thing in the comments to the above post for a while …

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  4. Dezzi: As I understand it, you make money when people party. I hope I didn’t get this wrong. Anyway, when times get tough, conventional economic wisdom is that things that help people feel good hold up pretty well. Even when all else fails, folks will still do their best to keep feeling as positive as they can. Therein, I hope, should be the basis of your being able to keep keeping on. Good luck!

  5. Dizzy Dezzi says:

    Darrell, you are correct and historically, in times of war and financial crisis, (I watch way too much history channel), people need something to keep their spirits up and that is why I have such good business…for the time being.

    But, the other side of the coin is that I have also been laid off of jobs and even seen places close down, not for lack of general attendance, but for lack of those people drinking enough or spending enough on other frivolities to a) pay my fee and b) keep their lights on/doors open. One of the jobs I have right now, I agreed to work for 6 months for FREE +tips (ha ha) to prove that I could bring in the people who would spend enough at the bar to pay my salary AND keep the place open. I was told that if I brought in three times what the bar was doing at “that time”, they would consider it. Thank goodness, that worked out I had to work a whole lot of extra shows to actually make up the money I was losing in that time (after 9 months, I finally had to threaten to walk before they agreed to pay me).

    Now, thankfully, I am getting paid for two regular gigs and I don’t HAVE to work my butt off like I did before. But, I hear a lot of grumbling around these parts and so I am always keenly aware that too many bad nights (like we seem to be having in the last couple of months or so) could result in me losing all or part of my business (I’ve already seen two companies, in my line of work, get let go in just the last two years…one was two months ago). I hear a lot of good things (like the only reason I am still there is because I am the only performer who has ever brought the crowds AND the money) and I have made sure to build some sort of relationship with TPTB (building bridges and all that), but I am under no illusions that I couldn’t get a call tomorrow saying, we can’t use your services anymore.

    I am pretty lucky to be able to provide my services to our brave men and women who serve in the armed services. I know that for some of them, I may be their own chance to relax. I do my best to make sure they leave my show declaring that they have had the time of their life and I am very rarely disappointed. I’m definitely going to make the most of the time I have to serve these folks, especially since it’s more than just a job for me…it’s my mission in life.

  6. Darrell

    I wish that were the conventional wisdom in my industry. People tend to cut back on the low end little luxuries like hand made bath & body products. My industry has taken a big dive over the past few years.

    And as Dezzi mentioned costs like shipping and printing have increased drastically in recent years – that hurts too. Shipping costs is a big reason why the wholesale price index has risen in recent months for most industries. I’ve been in business for 13 years and have watched the cost of shipping nearly double to some shipping zones in the US. I just read today that UPS is crying poor.

    The good news is I’m still in business… Dezzi is still in business and we aim to keep it that way!

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