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Sorry, Mr. President, the economy is not fine, and your flippant attitude toward it is a clear reflection of how out of touch you are with the American people. Last week in a White House press briefing, President Obama said “the private sector is doing fine,” while calling for more federal aid for Governors and mayors.
You know, because throwing piles of other people’s money into public pension holes will fix the problem. Not.
Anyway. About this ‘just fine’ economy thing. How can the economy be fine when for the first time since the Federal Reserve began calculating net worth figures in 1952, people are both earning and worth less than they were four years ago? Adjusted for inflation, the average American was better off in 2008 than they are today.
Everyone knows someone that’s unemployed, or families that have decided to change lifestyles to become single-income households with an at-home parent. Employment among young people is at an unprecedented high, which sucks when 20-somethings hold an average debt of $45,000 each.
Even for the lucky ones holding onto their jobs, the standard of living has gone down as wages have shrunk and prices have gone up. I find myself saying things like, “I remember when eggs were only $2 a dozen,” and I’m only 29, for Pete’s sake. I shouldn’t be old enough to be so nostalgic about cheap eggs.
The cost of gas? Forget about it. It costs $100 or so every time I fill up my tank, and instead of opening Keystone or drilling ANWR to increase our energy supply and lower the cost, President Obama has told me to check my tire pressure and change my oil regularly. Or just buy a more fuel-efficient car. I know the president isn’t exactly used to paying for stuff anymore, but not everyone can go out and buy new car at the drop of a hat.
Speaking things I can’t do to reduce costs right now is refinance our condo. Even though we put 20% down on it in 2005, we’re now tens of thousands of dollars upside down on it. Sure, it would be easy to foreclose, walk away, rent for three years and maybe buy again in the future, but instead we pay our mortgage every month, and will continue to do so. Because responsibility.
Unfortunately, we can’t take advantage of historically low interest rates right now because Bank of America owns our home loan instead of Freddie Mac or Sallie Mae. Because the government can’t ‘guarantee’ our mortgage, the bank has to actually make a risk assessment. Since we’re upside down, and the housing market doesn’t show any tangible signs of turning around, it would be a poor financial decision for Bank of America to issue us a new loan. No hard feelings, I understand that it’s totally more important to invest $50 billion in the unproven, unprofitable green energy business than in homeowners that have never missed a payment and want an easier way to repay their loan.
So no, President Obama, the private sector economy is not doing just fine. Reality says otherwise.
Image via Images_of_Money/Flickr