In "Just in Time for Halloween," I highlighted three charts (along with accompanying commentary) that paint a frightening picture of where things stand in today's America. But those aren't the only examples. In fact, hardly a day goes by when I don't stumble across yet another data point or statistical series that adds to the notion that our economy -- and our country -- is a train-wreck-in-the-making. Here are three I picked up from today's journey through my usual run of blogs and mainstream media outlets:
An overwhelming majority of small businesses are pessimistic about the economic outlook
"Small Business Outlook Survey - October 2011" (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
The small business outlook on the U.S. economy continues to decline.
Among executives from small businesses, during the last three months there has been little improvement, and some decline, in overall attitudes about the economy. Nine out of ten small business owners now believe the U.S. economy is on the wrong track.
The gap between the very rich and everybody else continues to widen
"Signs of Dissent: Do You Feel the Wealth Trickle Down?" (The Atlantic)
Since the Reagan tax cuts of 1981, after-tax income of the top 1 percent has increased more than 11 times more than the middle fifth of households, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
More and more Americans are being forced to go without critical necessities
"You Know Things Are Bad When Doctor Visits Plunge 8% Year-Over Year" (Business Insider)
A lot fewer people are going to the doctor this year, and no, that's not a good thing.
Here's JP Morgan's John Rex:
Sept ’11 office visit volumes down 8% y/y, while the sequential throughput measure increases 6% from August.... Primary care trends still running weaker... Med utilization still trending lower....
People are cutting back on health care due to financial concerns.