In January 2014, a Gallup poll reported that the percentage of Americans who say they are "satisfied" with the country's economy is 28 percent. That's down from 68 percent during Gallup's previous survey, taken in January 2001.
The second most steeply falling of its 20 survey questions was a 21 percent drop in satisfaction with "the role the U.S. plays in world affairs." By contrast, the steepest rise in satisfaction was on the state of the environment, which rose 23 percent, from 46 percent, to 69 percent satisfied with it now.
The only really stunning outlier in Galllup's findings on all 20 questions was the 40 percent plunge in economic satisfaction, shown during that 15-year period.
Although economists claim that the post-2008 "recession" ended in June 2009, most economists ignore facts about who owns what, or the unequal distribution of wealth. (That's measured by something called "Gini," and they don't include that when defining either "recession" or "boom".) Most economists overlook the fact that 95 percent of the income gains since the "recovery" started in June 2009 have gone to the richest 1 percent of the U.S. population.
Republicans especially don't care about the poor. For example, there was Romney's famous statement about the poorer 47 percent, whom he didn't concern himself about, but that's really just standard Republican thinking, no surprise there. Like economists' belief in the "invisible hand" of God, the view is based on admiration for the rich and contempt for the poor, attributing poverty to laziness, and wealth to such virtues as wisdom.
However, remarkably, more Republicans than Democrats are dissatisfied with the economy: Gallup's new report shows that whereas 56 percent of Democrats are satisfied with it, only 31 percent of Republicans are. Democrats are more satisfied with it because they are prejudiced to like President Obama because he's a Democrat. Similarly, Republicans are less satisfied with the economy because they are prejudiced to dislike him, since he's both a Democrat and black — a combination that holds little appeal to the conservative, white, Republican electorate.
When Gallup reported in 2001 its earlier findings, it provided no breakdown by party, but did show that 68 percent of the public were satisfied, and only 27 percent were dissatisfied then, with the economy. Since this survey was taken at the end of the Bill Clinton boom and more than two months after George W. Bush, a Republican, had been elected to the presidency, and Clinton was both white and a Southerner, both of which attributes held appeal to Republicans, the optimism then was evidently shared by both Democrats and Republicans. What we have now is instead optimism only by Democrats, as if they constituted the richest 1 percent — the people who are benefiting. Other than Democrats, and the richest 1 percent (who are overwhelmingly, by about 70 percent, Republicans), Americans evidently think the U.S. recession is still continuing, even six years after Barack Obama became president.
Economists say the recession ended in June 2009, but the American public disagrees overwhelmingly with that assessment of the U.S. economy. Either economists are using false measures of "recession," or else the American public is wrong to be dissatisfied with the state of the U.S. economy. Maybe all economists should be fired unless they collectively proclaim their formulas to be false, and propose replacements for those false formulas that are empirically supportable — because the present ones clearly are not.
Economics isn't yet a science; it's not yet a field where the reigning theories are based upon the existing empirical evidence, but instead upon prejudices (the invisible hand of God, etc.), much like popular opinion also apparently is. But if someone stomps on your toe, and you say "Ouch!" and some expert tells you it's all in your head, you know the expert isn't much of one. That's the way it is, regarding the U.S. economy.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.
It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.