Financial Insecurity: Better times ahead? For whom?

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Financial Insecurity
US Income of Top 1 percent

PERCENTAGE OF U.S. INCOME CONTROLLED BY THE TOP 1 PERCENT OF AMERICANS. The trend is clear even if the exact percentage earned by the “Top 1%” depends on the specific economic formula used to build the chart. Here are three formulas for charting the trend: BLUE is a scale developed by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez to chart the rise in pre-tax income. RED is a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scale charting pre-tax income. GREEN is CBO’s after-tax chart.

We live in a time of record levels of economic inequality. Many Americans are financially insecure, unable to pay their bills, relying on government assistance, and lacking savings or retirement accounts. But are better times ahead?

This week, we’ve focused on financial insecurity, drawing on a new survey by the Pew Research Center. The big finding is that financial insecurity leads to political disengagement. The most financially insecure are unlikely to vote and don’t express preferences for Republican or Democratic candidates. This is true for the general public and for white Americans. And, the most financially insecure Americans believe that corporations make too much profit.

But optimism is on the upswing. Here are three big indicators that better economic times are ahead:

Now is a good time to find a quality job. Gallup’s January 2015 survey shows that 45% of Americans think so. This is the result of an upward trend that started from a low of 8% in November 2011. It’s close to the highest figure Gallup has reported (48% in January 2007).

Personal satisfaction is trending upward: Gallup reports that 85% of Americans now say they are satisfied with the way things are going in their personal lives, which is the highest figure Gallup’s seen since before the recession.

Economic confidence is at a record high, according to Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index. Gallup started the Index in 2008.

The big question, of course, is whether the economic recovery will trickle down to the most financially insecure Americans.

Do you see better economic times ahead?

Do you think the recovery will trickle down?

Or, do you think that the recovery will mainly benefit the middle and upper classes?

Share your thoughts …

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  1. Rambling Rob says

    Today you require a job to be part of the rise in the economy. If you are not working you are financially insecure. You cannot receive value for your savings, you risk the loss of what you have and the future projects increases in cost for all life sustaining needs including water. The real future lies in recognizing climate change, water needs, food production and distribution as well as transportation. These need attention! The economy is a means to support these activities not the central concern.