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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

 
Normal Americans know the real economy isn't doing well

by David Atkins

It's not just progressive bloggers sounding alarm about the growing disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street, and nervous the "recovery" which was already only benefiting the asset class anyway might be short-lived. Americans in general are as pessimistic about the economy as ever:

Americans have weathered several years of negative feelings about the economy, fears for the state of the world, and worries about their own family’s finances. Now they are greeting 2014 with a surprising amount of pessimism, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll. On the eve of the New Year, Americans are less positive than they have been in years about how the country’s economy, the world as a whole, and their own family’s circumstances will fare in the next 12 months.

Nearly half the country is pessimistic about the state of the economy next year – and less than a third are optimistic. Since the start of the Great Recession in 2008, Americans have been more willing to think the economy is getting worse than to say it is improving, despite the steady improvement in most economic indicators. This poll continues that negative assessment when it comes to the economy.

At the start of 2013, Americans looked more favorably on the economy than they do today. About the same percentage was optimistic as pessimistic about what the year now past would be like.

Pessimistic views now also outweigh optimistic ones when it comes to predicting what will happen in the world. And the public also has become more pessimistic with time. When Americans looked ahead to 2010, 2011, and 2012, positive assessments outweighed negative ones, although the margins shrunk each year. Now, Americans are decidedly pessimistic about the coming year.
Those negative feelings will only begin to subside when wages start to go up and the government starts offering a basic sense of economic security. Rising stock and housing prices are doing nothing to make most Americans feel better about the economy, because that's not how most Americans see their economic security.

It's all about wages and job security. If the private sector cannot or will not provide higher wages and economic security, it falls upon the government to do it. Failing to provide higher wages and more job security is no longer an option for the public. And without a re-balancing of the economy and an improvement in economic outlook, even the asset classes are likely to see their ill-gotten gains come crashing down like the house of cards it is.


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