SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

April 21, 2013

We’re sour on “economy”

Opinion poll

Public turns sour on its economic prospects

By Tom Raum and Jennifer Agiesta ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — For the third year in a row, the nation’s economic recovery has hit a springtime soft spot. Reflecting that weakness, only one-fourth of Americans now expect their own financial situation to improve in the next year, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows.

  • The sour mood is undermining support for President Barack Obama’s economic stewardship and for government in general.

The poll shows that 46 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the economy, while 52 percent disapprove. That’s a negative turn from an even split in September — before Obama’s November re-election victory — when 49 percent approved and 48 percent disapproved.

Just 7 percent of Americans said they trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always,” the AP-GfK poll found. Fourteen percent trust it “most” of the time, and two-thirds trust the federal government just “some of the time”; 11 percent said they never do.

The downbeat public attitudes registered in the survey coincide with several dour economic reports showing recent slowdowns in gains in hiring, consumer retail spending, manufacturing activity and economic growth. Automatic cuts in government spending that are starting to kick in also might be contributing to the current sluggishness and increased wariness on the part of both shoppers and employers.

Overall, 25 percent of those in the poll described the nation’s economy as good and 59 percent as poor — similar to the results of a January AP-GfK poll.

Respondents split on whether this is a “good time” to make major purchases such as furniture and electronic devices; 31 percent said it is, 38 percent called it a “bad time” and 25 percent were neutral.

The economy’s recovery from the severe 2007-2009 recession has been slow and uneven. Even so, most economic forecasts see continued economic growth ahead, even if it is sluggish and accompanied by only slowly improving levels of joblessness. Another recession in the near future is not being forecast.

In the new poll, few people said they saw much improvement in the economy in the previous month. Twenty-one percent said conditions have gotten better, 17 percent said they’ve gotten worse, and 60 percent thought the economy “stayed about the same.”

The public is split on whether things will get better soon; 31 percent said the national economy will improve in the next year, 33 percent said it will hold steady, and 33 percent said it will get worse.

Further, about 4 in 10 expect the nation’s unemployment rate — which was 7.6 percent in March — to climb in the next year.

  • And respondents’ outlook for their financial future is at its worst point in three years. Just 26 percent think their household economic well-being will improve over the next year, 50 percent think it will stay the same, and 22 percent expect it to worsen.

Among those with incomes of less than $50,000, 27 percent expect their economic situation to get worse in the next year; among those with higher incomes, fewer than 2 in 10 think that.

Democrats, who typically rate the economy better under the present Democratic president than do Republicans, have become less-optimistic about their financial prospects since January. Then, 41 percent of Democrats thought their finances would improve in the next year; only 30 percent feel that way now.

Obama’s overall job approval in the poll was at its lowest point since his re-election, at 50 percent, with 47 percent disapproving. His approval among Republicans was 10 percent. Among independents, 49 percent disapproved.

But if it’s any solace to the president and his supporters, Congress fared even worse. Thirty-seven percent approved of the performance of congressional Democrats, while 57 percent disapproved. Twenty-seven percent approved of congressional Republicans’ performance, and 67 percent disapproved.

(My  comment: 

In my opinion, the downbeat public attitude is fueled by several things.  We are now in our fifth year of pulling teeth and people can only stand so much pain.    Nothing gets done.  Everything needs doing.  This countries list of needs was high to start with, but we knew we had chosen a man who understood the problems – – knew what to do.   It becomes harder to believe.  The majority of people of the world understand about the need for climate control because of ‘global warming.’ This is no longer  a point which can be argued.  Action is needed.  We have been waylayed 

We have  watched  the issues of so-called “settled-law” of Roe vs Wade become obliterated to an extent that is almost unbelievable.  State ofter state, one by one is dismantling women’s rights to personal choice, family planning and other life preserving benefits. 

In these tying times of fewer  jobs, we are observing government slashing budgets across the board which demands the cutting of even more jobs than ever seen in this nation.  Yet middle class jobs with decent salaries never came back, so those rosy unemployment records of some states like Ohio who loves to brag about the high employment rate neglects to mention that these are barely minimum wage positions – – even so, in March,  just past 20,400 jobs were lost kinda wrecking those proud numbers..  Tell me my friends, wouldn’t it be nice if  all members of Congress and the Senate were first in line to receive these cuts in pay?   Especially Congress since they do nothing to earn their keep from what I can tell.  

So can we blame President Obama for all of this?  None of it. The only recorded goal of the GOP was to cripple Obama and make him a one-term president.   We can’t blame this honorable man for the hate and bigotry which comes from them to the point that hampering our nation’s well-being  is a small price to pay for their declared ambition.

So where does  the dissatisfaction come from?  Many feel betrayed by him.  We know he knows what our problems are,  what needs to be done.   Either he doesn’t know how to get the job done or for any of a variety of reasons –  or won’t.  He is President.  It is his job.  It must be done.  But it’s not done.  Because we believed in him so much;  trusted him so deeply – hung our hopes on him, we are let down and it feels really bad.  

 No man who has done so many things right could ever be judged a failure. Has a beautiful mind, is deeply moral and a wonderful family man.  On the surface, it might seem that he does not have the fire-in-the-belly necessary to be a great leader.  A great leader gets things done, no matter the cost.  With the GOP on the ropes, it just boggles the mind, for they will surely loose whatever clout they now wield.  The GOP has come to represent a giant roadblock to our progress and much needed action, with little left to offer the nation.  Such a great loss, for our system works best with opposing parties in healthy debate and exchange of ideas which gives rise to movement and progress.  The GOP’s “my way” or “no way” doesn’t work, it has paralyzed us. 

When Obama offered the cuts to the cost-of-living  increases that Social Security recipients will receive, a deserved uproar ensued.  It was seen as the betrayal it was.   Not a good move.  And that hurts him.  People feel he won’t fight for us, can’t or simply won’t do it.   The average American is  so weary of being taken advantage of, always paying for stuff we really have no choice in,  like money to all the countries we assist – – this aid should be happening at home – we NEED  help here.The super rich get by with everything including paying no taxes which leaves our country without funds.  Shouldn’t be allowed.   When industries like the Banking Industry nearly takes us all down, we bail them out and they become more wealthy and successful than ever before. Never higher profits.   But all those illegal maneuvers and tactics – – noone ever paid a price for that.  They should have.  All those CEO’s and guys at the top should have been tried and found guilty for it was all illegal and the world knows this.  But nothing.  Why do we still have this Attorney General?  How and why does stuff like this happen? 

Notice all the talk about 2016 lately?     Don’t think I’ve got another one left in me.   Frankly, it saddens me to think many are already speaking of Hillary in a manner that makes it seem like some foregone conclusion.  If I were to vote again, it wouldn’t be Hillary.  I do not accept the concept of “Dynasty” for leadership in this country it is repugnant to me.  I don’t think that anyone is EVER entitled to it or that other one – its my turn. All these hundreds of millions of people  and we should just narrow it down to a select few?  Why?   How does that make sense? It smacks of “royalty” – –  and that’s not what we do here in this country.

I admire Hillary – – always have, both as a loyal wife and as an accomplished professional legal mind.   She served us well as first lady,  as a senator and then as Secretary of State.   She did every thing admirably well. . . .not distinguished in my mind, but well done.    She did an excellent job in her run for president.  But as I said, I would not have voted for her as I am opposed to the Dynasty thing.   I didn’t appreciate her hawkish thinking on wars.  But otherwise. . .   . 

For me, the next president should be willing to leave it ALL  ON THE FIELD.  Nothing held back. It is still three years down the road, but I have had my eye on someone.  A remarkable lady;  a first class fighter, so gutsy, brilliant and creative.  She is all heart and straight-shooting talk.  My money is on Elizabeth Warren.  This woman will do what she says.  I believe that.    Jan)


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