Friday, December 25, 2015

A View Of The U.S. Economy By The Public

The Pew Research Center wanted to know what Americans think of the economy. Have we fully recovered from the Bush recession, or are people still struggling (in spite of the record-breaking incomes of the rich and the corporations)? They questioned a random national sample of 1,500 adults, and their survey has a margin of error of 2.9 points.

The results were not good. Only 27% thought the economy was excellent or good, and only 20% thought it would improve next year. About 73% thought it was only fair or poor, and 76% didn't expect it to get much better next year. And that is generally the view regardless of where people are on the political spectrum.

About half of the population (49%) says they are falling behind economically, while about 42% say they are staying even. Only a paltry 7% say their incomes are now climbing faster than in the previous few years. That's a pretty sad commentary on the economy -- and shows why the income (and wealth) inequality in this country continues to grow worse. The rich are making more money than ever, while no one else is doing that.

And the job situation is not much better. Only 41% say jobs are easy to find, and that drops to 33% if you are talking about good jobs. The unemployment rate has dropped significantly, but far too many of the new jobs are low wage and low benefit jobs -- jobs that won't support a family (or even an individual) at a decent standard of living.

This probably explains the bottom chart -- where it shows that nearly three-quarters (73%) of American think the minimum wage should be raised. They may not agree on how much it should be raised, but they agree that the current minimum wage is too low -- and doesn't provide a livable wage.

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