Fear of Falling

The public believes that over the last five years it has become harder for middle class families to maintain their standard of living.

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Americans are notably sour about the economy today. And they don’t believe things are going to improve anytime soon. In the latest Gallup poll, the public, by a staggering 85 percent to 11 percent, said economic conditions are currently getting worse rather than better.

But it’s not just the short-term direction of the economy that’s bothering the public; it’s the general difficulties of getting ahead in today’s economy and the very real possibility that one might actually fall behind. In a major poll conducted by the Pew Research Center and just released as part of the aptly-named report, “Inside the Middle Class: Bad Times Hit the Good Life,” 69 percent said that, compared to 10 years ago, it’s easier to fall behind today. Just 11 percent think it is harder to fall behind.

The public believes the middle class, in particular, is having a harder and harder time keeping up. In the same survey, by 79-12, the public said that, in the last five years, it has become more, rather than less, difficult for middle class people to maintain their standard of living.

That’s the Bush economy for you. Middle class folks have a fear of falling, while hedge fund managers make billions of dollars annually. That’s deeply wrong and needs to change.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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