Looming Mood Shifts among America’s “Middle” Class?

From The Atlantic:

In all, the survey suggests that after years of economic turmoil, most families now believe the most valuable–and elusive–possession in American life isn’t any tangible acquisition, such as a house or a car, but rather economic security. Asked to define what it means to be middle class, a solid 54 percent majority of respondents picked “having the ability to keep up with expenses and hold a steady job while not falling behind or taking on too much debt”; a smaller percentage defined it in terms of getting ahead and accumulating savings. “It seems like that class of the people just live from paycheck to paycheck,” said Dale High, a trucker from near Idaho Falls, Idaho, who responded to the poll. “Everything is going up, but wages are staying the same. And people can’t live like that.”

The backdrop for these sober assessments is a darkening of the national mood since President Obama won reelection. The share of Americans who say the country is on the right track reached a four-year high of 41 percent in the Heartland Monitor survey conducted just after his victory in November. But that optimism plummeted in the latest survey to less than three in 10. The number of people who expect the economy to improve over the next year also skidded.

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  • Jean

    The stock market, which theoretically is efficient and a proxy for all known information concerning the future of the companies included in the relevant index, is saying that the nation is on the right course. The stock market is a predictor of future activity, not present or past, so if everything is so “doom and gloom”, why is the stock market doing so well?

  • Buck Eschaton

    The Fed is buying stocks. The Fed is buying a lot of stock.

  • Buck Eschaton

    The Fed is buying stocks. You’ve heard of Quantitative Easing. There is no market when the Fed is pumping it artificially up.

  • Allen Browne

    Is “economic security” an oxymoron?

  • PJ Anderson

    The economic disaster of five years ago was an opportunity to fundamentally address corruption and greed across the private and public sectors. Our elected leaders chose, instead, to only line their election campaign coffers instead of acting to change the systems. As a result we have the exact same problems we had ten years ago, only with larger banks and higher debt burdens.

    I’m not optimistic about the future. Washington is a failed city full of failing leaders. No one had the fortitude to lead. We live in dangerous times. Though I doubt we’ll see mass economic devastation anytime soon, I do fear we have, since 2000, become the exact thing our founders opposed in 1776. This is to our shame.