According to the Commerce Department, the US GDP grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the fourth quarter. While that is slightly lower than the 4.1% growth in the third quarter, it is higher than the 3.1% projections, and points to an ever stronger economic recovery.
The Commerce Department goes on to say that consumer spending, one of the key drivers of the economy, rose 3.3% in the fourth quarter. This follows a 2.0% growth in consumer spending in the third quarter…a continuing trend in the right direction.
For those of you that are as uneducated on economic issues as we are…you should know that these are very good numbers. One economist gave the last two quarters a “strong B” rating.
So this is all good news for the White House! Right?
Not so much.
According to the latest NBC/WSJ poll, 71% of Americans are dissatisfied with the economy. 81% feel at the economy favors the rich. 63% feel that the country is on the wrong track. 43% approve of the president’s job performance while 51% disapprove…his lowest numbers since first assuming the presidency.
It seems that the more the economy improves the more the president’s approval ratings decline.
The reason is because the positive effects of the country’s economic growth have yet to find their way into the pocketbooks of the masses.
Wall Street is booming. The S&P rose 29.6% in 2013…its’ best performance in 15 years. The DOW climbed 26.5% in 2013…best since 1995. And the NASDAQ soared 38.3% in 2013…best since 2009.
While Wall Street booms, Main Street struggles.
50 million Americans live in poverty…including 16 million children. 51.4% of all Americans will find themselves living in poverty at some point before they reach the age of 65. Middle class wages are flat. 12.2 million Americans are unemployed. By the end of this year 4.9 million will be out of work for more than 26 weeks.
The income disparity between the “have’s” and the “have not’s” continues to grow. The rich ARE really getting richer while the poor get poorer.
Therein lies the president’s biggest challenge; how to get the growing prosperity on Wall Street to find its way to the poverty on Main Street. At stake is the very foundation of our democracy.
The economic stability of the masses stands at the heart of a thriving democracy.
Without it a democratic state cannot survive.