WSJ Poll: Economic Pessimism Surges

By at 6 June, 2022, 3:09 pm

by Raymond J. Keating – 

The rough economic ride of the past 27-plus months continues, and in some key ways, it has only gotten rougher. As a result, perhaps we shouldn’t be all that surprised by a sad pessimism reported in the latest survey of American adults by The Wall Street Journal and NORC at the University of Chicago.

Indeed, as reported by the Journal, Americans are not a happy bunch: “The survey found Americans in a sour mood and registering some of the highest levels of economic dissatisfaction in years. The pessimism extended beyond the current economy to include doubts about the nation’s political system, its role as a global leader and its ability to help most people achieve the American dream.”

Among the key points were:

● 83% said the state of the economy was poor or not so good, and 35% were dissatisfied with their own financial situation. That was reported as the highest levels of dissatisfaction since NORC started asking these questions in 1972 (though with the margin of error, these recent findings might have simply matched the worst assessments).

● 38% of respondents said “their financial situation had gotten worse in the past few years.” Over the past 50 years, the only other time when more than 30 percent made such a claim was after the Great Recession of 2007-09.

● Perhaps most distressing on the economic questions in the survey, it was noted that 27% said “they have a good chance of improving their standard of living—a 20-point drop from last year—while just under half of respondents, 46%, said they don’t.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Unfortunately, our elected officials seem unable to see how their policies – both implemented and being discussed – have helped to generate economic ills and pessimism among Americans. When we desperately need tax and regulatory relief, free trade, reining in government spending and sound money, we’re getting the exact opposite. And as we continue to struggle to emerge from a pandemic economy, all of these factors coalesce to generate pessimism.

While saddened, no one should be surprised. And it’s time to get back to America’s long tradition of economic optimism.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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