New Highs for Economic Worries

Public Worry about Standard of Living, Paying Monthly Bills Hits New Highs

Poll shows new highs for worry about maintaining living standards and belief that wealth is unfairly distributed, writes Ruy Teixeira.

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A new Gallup poll conducted between April 6 and April 9 shows that the public’s worries about maintaining living standards and paying monthly bills have hit new highs. At the same time, the public’s belief that money and wealth in this country are fairly distributed has hit a new low.

The poll found that 55 percent now report they are very or moderately worried about “not being able to maintain the standard of living you enjoy.” And 44 percent say they are now worried about “not being able to pay normal monthly bills.” Both of these are the highest figures Gallup has recorded since it first started asking these questions in 2001.

Americans are also less and less convinced that the distribution of money and wealth in our country is fair. Only a little over a quarter of the public—27 percent—now believe that wealth is evenly distributed, compared to 68 percent who want a more even distribution among a larger percentage of the people. The 27 percent figure is down from 38 percent in September 2000, and the lowest ever recorded on the question, which has been asked for about 10 years.

Sounds like Americans are ready for an end to the current Gilded Age and a little help on the basics such as their standard of living and paying monthly bills. Policymakers, take note.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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