A new survey of U.S. household finances by British research firm Absolute Strategy Research suggests that Americans are not only pooh-poohing the notion that an economic recovery is at hand, they are becoming resigned to the fact that the longer-term outlook isn't all that much better.
A staggering 63% of respondents across the political spectrum feel that the American economic model is broken. Individuals surveyed do not agree that the prevailing paradigm facilitates equal opportunity, or that hard work and skill are rewarded. This grim view of the status quo is also represented in respondents' concerns about fairness and the distribution of wealth: a quarter of those surveyed say the next administration should make closing the gap between the rich and poor a top policy priority, and half want the next administration to make sure the wealthiest Americans pay a “fair share” of taxes. And a mere 20% of those polled believe wealth and income is distributed fairly.
This survey also highlights the extent to which Americans are dissatisfied with those responsible for managing the American economy. Respondents across the political spectrum agree that policymakers have not done a good job in handling the economy over the last year, and that a focus on stimulating economic growth should be the top priority for the next administration. Republicans and Independents are the most critical of economic policymakers, but two thirds of Democrats are also critical of the handling of the economy.
Respondents across all age groups worry that their children will face "worse" standards of living than they currently enjoy, reflecting deep-seated anxieties about the economy, unemployment, inflation and debt burdens. More than 40% of those polled believe that the children of their generation will have a lower standard of living when they are their age.
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