10/11: The Financial Picture on the Home Front

By Barbara Carvalho

News about the drop in median incomes is about as unwelcome as the final notice by a bill collector.  But, how surprising is it?  In the latest national Marist Poll, 64% of Americans tell us they have difficulty making ends meet.   The figure rises to 76% for those with annual household incomes below  $50,000.  This is not a pretty picture.

Matters are even more unpleasant when considering the 72% of Americans who think their personal family finances will stay the same in the coming year or get worse.  77% of Americans also think unemployment next year will remain at its current unacceptable high level or be even higher.

The only oddity in these numbers, as far as the public is concerned, is the report that family income has deteriorated more in the two years since the recession officially ended than it did during the recession itself.  Maybe that has something to do with the growing gap in income Americans are experiencing.  Maybe it also has something to do with the fact that 75% of Americans don’t share the view that the recession  is over.