NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Economists struggle to say it, politicians aren’t courageous enough to really say it, and Wall Street doesn’t want to ruin a good thing by saying it.
But average Americans will say it: Financially, the American experience is lousy right now. It’s right up there with root canal and having a candy apple thrown into your “trick or treat” bag on Halloween night. Morale is low.
Need some proof? How about this 2011 survey from ABC News and Langer Research Associates, which pretty much sums it up:
“A near-record number of Americans call jobs difficult to find in their area; more than half say the long-running economic downturn has forced major changes in their personal lifestyle – and increasing numbers are upset and downright angry about it.”
The ABC poll reveals that only 15% of American say they are “getting ahead financially” while the rest are either treading water or drowning.
The upshot? Even politically disparate groups like Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party believe that the American Dream is slipping away – and nobody can seem to agree what to do about it.
Usually, here’s where the “but” part of the story appears, signaling a trend that things are getting better, or that there is a silver lining on the horizon. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those stories. The news, it seems, just keeps getting worse.
Exhibit A this week is a new study from the University of Washington that blames housing and health care costs as the two biggest reasons why Americans just can’t make ends meet.
The study, which focused on Washington state residents, estimates that it costs 13% more on average for adults to meet their financial obligations in 2011 than it did in 2009.