Fewer than a quarter of people see signs of improvement in the economy, and two-thirds say they believe the country is on the wrong track overall, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted June 17-20.
“Gas prices are higher, grocery prices are higher, transportation prices are higher,” says poll respondent Ronda Brockway, 54, an insurance company manager and political independent who lives in a suburb of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “The jobs situation nationwide is very poor.”
By a 44 percent to 34 percent margin, Americans say they believe they are worse off than when President Barack Obama took office in early 2009, when the U.S. was in the depths of a recession compounded by the September 2008 financial crisis and the economy was losing as many as 820,000 jobs a month.
The gloom covers the immediate future, with fewer than 1 in 10 people expecting unemployment to return to pre-recession levels within the next two years, and it extends to the next generation. More than half of respondents say their children are destined to have a lower standard of living than they do, upending a traditional touchstone of the American Dream.
Will Americans are growing more dissatisfied with President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and say it will be hard to vote to re-elect him without seeing significant progress over the next year and a half.
By a margin of 61 percent to 37 percent, a Bloomberg National Poll conducted June 17-20 shows Americans say they believe that Obama will have had his chance to make the economy “substantially better” by the end of 2012.
Only 30 percent of respondents said they are certain to vote for the president and 36 percent said they definitely won’t. Among likely independent voters, only 23 percent said they will back his re-election, while 36 percent said they definitely will look for another candidate.
“As far as the economy goes, I don’t see that he has delivered on the change that he promised,” said Sharon Ortiz, a 38-year-old independent voter from Hampton, Virginia, who supported Obama in 2008. “The jobs that he promised — I haven’t seen it.”
In the face of the most stimulative fiscal and monetary policies in our history, we have experienced the loss of over 7 million jobs, wiping out every job gained since the year 2000.
From the moment the Obama administration came into office, there have been no net increases in full-time jobs, only in part-time jobs. This is contrary to all previous recessions. Employers are not recalling the workers they laid off from full-time employment.
The real job losses are greater than the estimate of 7.5 million. They are closer to 10.5 million, as 3 million people have stopped looking for work.
Equally troublesome is the lower labor participation rate; some 5 million jobs have vanished from manufacturing, long America’s greatest strength.
Just think: Total payrolls today amount to 131 million, but this figure is lower than it was at the beginning of the year 2000, even though our population has grown by nearly 30 million. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the economy.]
The most recent statistics are unsettling and dismaying, despite the increase of 54,000 jobs in the May numbers. Nonagricultural full-time employment actually fell by 142,000, on top of the 291,000 decline the preceding month.
Half of the new jobs created are in temporary help agencies, as firms resist hiring full-time workers.
Today, over 14 million people are unemployed. We now have more idle men and women than at any time since the Great Depression.
Nearly seven people in the labor pool compete for every job opening. Hiring announcements have plunged to 10,248 in May, down from 59,648 in April.
Hiring is now 17 percent lower than the lowest level in the 2001-02 downturn. One fifth of all men of prime working age are not getting up and going to work.
Equally disturbing is that the number of people unemployed for six months or longer grew 361,000 to 6.2 million, increasing their share of the unemployed to 45.1 percent.
We face the specter that long-term unemployment is becoming structural and not just cyclical, raising the risk that the jobless will lose their skills and become permanently unemployable.
Don’t pay too much attention to the headline unemployment rate of 9.1 percent. It is scary enough, but it is a gloss on the reality. These numbers do not include the millions who have stopped looking for a job or who are working part time but would work full time if a position were available. And they count only those people who have actively applied for a job within the last four weeks.
Include those others and the real number is a nasty 16 percent. The 16 percent includes 8.5 million part-timers who want to work full time (which is double the historical norm) and those who have applied for a job within the last six months, including many of the long-term unemployed.
And this 16 percent does not take into account the discouraged workers who have left the labor force.
The fact is that the longer duration of six months is the more relevant testing period since the mean duration of unemployment is now 39.7 weeks, an increase from 37.1 weeks in February.
Mr Zuma was out of the country for the first day of Mrs Obama’s second solo trip abroad on Tuesday and although he returned on Monday night, aides said he was “not available” to meet her.
Instead, he arranged for Corrective Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to greet her on her arrival in Pretoria on Monday night, and one of his three wives, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, to meet her briefly on Tuesday.
Her visit to South Africa is aimed at advancing her international youth engagement agenda as well as highlighting Mr Obama’s support for “democracy, development and economic opportunities across Africa”.
But it coincides with a cooling in relations between South Africa and the United States. Last week, President Jacob Zuma issued a sharp riposte to an appeal by Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to African leaders to help remove Libya’s Col Muammar Gaddafi.
“We strongly believe that the (UN Security Council) resolution is being abused for regime change, political assassinations and foreign military occupation,” he told parliament the day after Mrs Clinton’s speech.
Dear President Obama,
My name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13 of this year. People meeting me for the first time don’t believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert.
I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II retiring as a Master Chief Bos’n Mate. Now I live in a “rest home” located on the western end of Pearl Harbor , allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.
One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.
So here goes.
I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do, but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish.
I can’t figure out what country you are the president of.
You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like:
· ” We’re no longer a Christian nation”
· ” America is arrogant” – (Your wife even announced to the world,” America is mean-spirited. ” Please tell her to try preaching that nonsense to 23 generations of our war dead buried all over the globe who died for no other reason than to free a whole lot of strangers from tyranny and hopelessness.)
I’d say shame on the both of you, but I don’t think you like America, nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do, for the obvious gifts this country has given you. To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.
After 9/11 you said,” America hasn’t lived up to her ideals.”
Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British?
Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man, that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War?
I hope you didn’t mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII, because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around, because we stand for freedom.
I don’t think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination. You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.
Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man.
Shape up and start acting like an American. If you don’t, I’ll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue.
You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.
And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more?
You mean you don’t want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts , who was putting up a fight? You don’t mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don’t want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are, terrorists.
One more thing. I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life, but you’re the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you’re not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you’re thinking of.
You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president.
You’re not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That’s not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now.
And I sure as hell don’t want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle…
Harold B. Estes
Snopes confirms this letter as true:
In fact, misery, as measured in the unofficial Misery Index that simply totals the unemployment and inflation rates, is at a 28-year high, reflective of how weak the economic recovery has been and how far there is to go.
The index, first compiled during the soaring inflation days of the 1970s by economist Arthur Okun, is registering a nausea-inducing 12.7—9.1 percent for unemployment and 3.6 percent for annualized inflation—a number not seen since 1983.
The index has been above 10 since November 2009 and had been under double-digits from June 1993 through May 2008.