The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released their year-end survey on December 15, 2010. Their pollling revealed that for the public, a tough year ended on a down note.
Consistent with the mood of the nation all year, 2010 is closing on a down note. Fully 72% are dissatisfied with national conditions, 89% rate national economic conditions as only fair or poor, and majorities or pluralities think the country is losing ground on nine of 12 major issues.
Pew's survey results are not surprising, and I would cover them in depth if it weren't for some rather important information that was buried in the next to last paragraph.
The survey finds that a majority of the public (57%) says it is very difficult or difficult to afford things they really want. About the same percentage said this two years ago (55%). And for many Americans, affording basic necessities remains a struggle – 51% say it is difficult to afford health care, 48% say the same about their home heating and electric bills, and 29% say it is difficult to afford food.
I just quoted Pew, and you read the quote, but I want to make sure all of us truly absorbed what it says. So let me repeat the information as a series of bullet points.
- Affording basic necessities remains a struggle.
- 51% say it is difficult to afford health care.
- 48% say the same about their home heating and electric bills.
- 29% say it is difficult to afford food.
Why isn't this information Front Page News? Can you see the headline? I can see it, splashed across the top of the front page of the New York Times—
29% of Americans Say It's Difficult To Afford Food
Why haven't we seen this headline? Or this one?
48% of Americans Say It's Hard to Pay Their Heating And Electric Bills
January 3rd, the first working day of the new year, is an excellent time to call out those in the media, our elected representatives, those setting policy at the Federal Reserve, others making hay Inside The Beltway, and many, many right-thinking economists—tell me again what a great country this is. Tell me again we're all going to be OK. Tell me again that this isn't an Empire in decline. Tell me again about the "business cycle" and recessions.