While politicians concerned with winning elections continue to insist that the economy is in a solid recovery the numbers tell a much different story. While it is true that the economy is growing and that by definition means recovery, the anemic GDP growth rate of around 2 percent is not sufficient to bring the economy back to pre-recession levels. The reality of how little we as a nation have improved since 2009 is crystal clear with a review of a variety of economic numbers released by the United States government. The poor GDP growth is just one of those measuring sticks.
To truly gauge the strength of the economic recovery the United States has experienced since January 2009 one must know the facts and not simply accept what they are told by politicians that are trying to win election. A review of the numbers without the usual political spin and rhetoric that accompanies such discussions reveals a startling truth, that being that the United States must do things differently if it is to get back to pre-recession levels of employment and economic growth.
Some economic FACTS to consider:
- In January 2009 there were 21.5 million unemployed Americans, in March 2014 there were 23.1 million Americans out of work- an increase of 1.6 million people. (Source: US Department of Labor)
- The National Debt has grown from $10.6 trillion in January 2009 to more than $16 trillion in March 2014. That is a 51% increase in 50 months. (Source: US Federal Reserve)
- The average American family had an income of $54,962 in January 2009. By March 2014 the average American family income had declined by $4,908 to $50,054. The drop in earnings coincides with an ever rising cost of living. (Source: US IRS)
- There were 39.3 million Americans living in poverty, as defined by the Department of Health and Human Services, in January 2009. Those living in poverty had increased by nearly 20 percent (46.2 million) by March 2014. (Source: HHS)
Other factors to consider include stagnate wages for those that do have jobs and a national high school dropout rate of one-in –four that is as high as 50 percent in many large cities.
With all the contributing factors discussed above, it is not surprising that Americans have not been able to prepare for retirement-another economic reality that is a ticking time bomb. A recent study revealed that two-thirds of working Americans have less than $25,000 in retirement savings while a third have LESS THAN $1,000.
Contemplate the impact of millions of Baby Boomers being unable to care of themselves, due to lack of retirement preparation, on an economy already in such a weak recovery that it could take decades to recoup the losses of the Great Recession.
If the electorate continues to be swayed by the billions of dollars that both the Democrats and Republicans pay for slick ads and marketing rather than demanding that elected leaders work together to solve the challenges that impact us all there is little doubt that our nation will continue to inch along from one fiscal crises to the next.
It should be clear, no matter one’s political leaning, what we are doing now is not working.
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