Monday, May 15, 2006

The Kitchen Counter Economy

The biggest disconnect between what the pundits and the numbers say and what people are actually experiencing in the U.S. can be summed up in a word:

The Economy

Okay, two words.

My point is that aggregate economic indicators like the inflation rate, unemployment rate, worker productivity and stock markets look pretty good these days. But many Americans aren't feeling good as a result of the numbers that the talking suits on MSNBC usually ignore:
* Rising health-care and other insurance costs.

* Rising interest rates.

* The attendant jump in home foreclosures.

* Credit-card debt.

* Depressed hourly wages.

* Underfunded pension plans.

* The negative effects of an accelerating global economy.

* And, of course, high gasoline prices.
So, you see, the American economy that the suits yammer about is humming along rather nicely, especially if you ignore the fact that the government has to borrow $2 billion a day just to stay afloat. The American kitchen counter economy is not.

Beyond the long faces at gasoline stations, this disconnect is best seen in President Bush's poll numbers on the economy, which are almost as bad as his Iraq war numbers.

This has the White House and most of the suits befuddled, but the explanation is quite simple:
The Bush administration has done virtually nothing to shore up the most vulnerable members of the working class while giving away the store to the rich.

Most politicians and suits have no connection to the kitchen counter economy. Their wallets and gas tanks are full. Their credit cards aren't maxed out. Their next meal will be billed to an expense account. They're not on the verge of sliding into poverty. Life is good.

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