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Economic Concern Hits New High

New polls find that Americans are more worried about maintaining their standard of living now than they were during the 1991-92 recession.

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During the 1991 – 92 recession, as much as 48 percent of the American public said they were worried about maintaining their standard of living. And now according to an early February Gallup poll, we just beat that record, and we’re not even (technically) in a recession yet.

What’s more, the public overwhelmingly believes that our economic situation is just going to get worse. An early March Gallup poll found that an extraordinary 85 percent of Americans believe economic conditions are getting worse, and just 10 percent think they’re getting better.

The public appetite for solutions and action to turn around the economy will only increase in the coming months. This will hopefully force the Bush administration to address the many problems that threaten families’ standard of living, but have been sorely neglected over the past seven years

The February Gallup poll found that three problems in particular were cited by at least three quarters of the U.S. public as negatively affecting their family financial situation: the rise in gasoline/home heating prices (86 percent), the rise in food prices (76 percent), and the rise in healthcare costs (74 percent).

Another five issues were cited by approximately half or more: the decline in the stock market (61 percent), more people losing their jobs (58 percent), the rise in the cost of college education (57 percent), the outsourcing of jobs overseas (53 percent), and the problems in the housing market (47 percent).

That’s a lot of problems. It’s time for our policymakers to get busy.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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