Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

May 18, 2008 11:59 PM

State of the Nation

Many Americans are depressed, depressed about the state of the country, the state of the federal government and the state of their lives.

  • 72% of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track (highest wrong track score in the history of the 20 history of the poll). [NBC/WSJ 4/08]
  • 74% think the economy is getting worse. [CBS/NYT 4/08]
  • 45% think the nation's economy will get worse during the next twelve months (highest number in the history of the poll). [NBC/WSJ 4/08]
  • 81% believe the United States is in a recession now. [NBC/WSJ 4/08]
  • 58% are dissatisfied with the state of the U.S. economy (highest dissatisfaction in the history of the poll). [NBC/WSJ 4/08]
  • 77% rate the national economy as bad. [CBS/NYT 4/08]
  • 43% say economic conditions are poor. [Gallup 5/08]
Since forever, the United States has been the leader in global distribution of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That day is coming to an end. In a recent paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research Robert Fogel predicts that, by 2040, China will be the leader. In 2000 the U.S. produced 22% of global GDP, followed closely by the European Union (EU) at 21%, and China tied for 3rd with a group of SE Asian countries at 11%.

By 2040, Fogel predicts that China will be first, with 40% of global GDP, the U.S. will be second with 14%, and the EU will be 5th with 5%.

Grouping 2000 2040 2000 2040
GDP in billions of $ (PPP) GDP in billions of $ (PPP) Percent of Total Percent of Total
United Sites 9,601 41,944  22 14
European Union (EU 15) 9,264 15,040 21 5
India 2,375 36,528 5 12
China 4,951 123,675 11 40
Japan 3,456 5,292 8 2
6 South East Asian Countries 2,552 35,604 6 12
Subtotals 32,199 258,083 73 85
Rest of the World 12,307 49,774 28 16
World 44,506 307,875 101 101

The Global Distribution of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2000 and 2040, by Grouping of Nations

Note: The table above combines some elements of Tables 1 and 2 of Capitalism and Democracy in 2040: Forecasts and Speculations, Working Paper 13184, National Bureau of Economic Research by Robert W. Fogel.

  • 66% disapprove of the job being done by the President (ties for highest disapproval of his tenure). [NBC/WSJ 4/08]
  • An even higher disapproval was recorded in the CBS/NYT poll, 74% disapproving of the job being done by the President on the economy. [4/08]
  • 68% disapprove of the job being done by the Congress. [CBS/NYT 4/08]

  • 45% are dissatisfied with their personal financial situation (highest dissatisfaction since 1994 other than October 2002). [NBC/WSJ 4/08]
  • 68% of Americans are worried about maintaining their current standard of living, an increase from 51% recorded in December. [ABC/WP 5/08]
  • When asked about their household income:

    • 23% say - not enough to pay bills
    • 48% say - just enough to pay bills and obligations
    • 27% say - can save and buy extras [CBS/NYT 4/08]
  • In April, food prices rose at a higher rate (.9%) than in any month sine January 1990. [WP 5/15/08]

Here are a series of findings from Gallup that relate to economic issues being faced by Americans. [Surveys taken during April and May]

  • 46% of Americans report that recent food prices are causing them financial hardship. But it is worst for those making $30,000 or less per year, where 64% report distress.
  • 68% report cutting back on household expenses because of the increased cost of gasoline.
  • A year ago, 46% said that it was a good time to find a quality job. Now that number has dropped to 20%.
  • 52% of Americans believe they are paying too much in federal income taxes. But 60% report the income tax they are paying as "fair."
  • 49% report that their financial situation is getting worse.
  • 90% of Americans expect that gas prices will hit $4 this summer. 74% expect prices to hit $5 per gallon. And 5% think prices will hit $6. (What do you think?)
  • One in seven U.S. workers fear they will be laid off in the next 12 months. [Pew 4/08]

Women are facing more difficult times than men during the current economic crisis.

  • real median wages for women dropped 3% in 2007, while they only dropped 0.5% for men.
  • unemployment has risen higher than for men
  • women are 32% more likely then men to have subprime mortgages
  • women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men
  • non-married women have a net worth 48% lower than non-married men.
[Report released by Senator Ted Kennedy 4/18/08]

  • The Democrats are trusted to do a better job of coping with the nation's problems over the next several years. So say 53% of respondents, as opposed to 32% who select the Republicans. [ABC/WP 5/08]
  • 41% rate the Democratic party unfavorably (54% favorably), while 58% consider the Republican party unfavorably. [CBS/NYT 4/08]

When asked, "Regardless of how you usually vote, do you think the Republican party or the Democratic is more likely to:"

Come closer to sharing your moral values 34% 50%
Improve the healthcare system 19% 63%
Make right decisions dealing with immigration 38% 42%
Make sure US military defenses are strong 60% 27%
Make right decisions about Iraq war 34% 50%
Ensure a strong economy 28% 56%
[CBS/NYT 4/08]

  • 41% list the economy as the number one issue they would like to hear about from the Presidential candidates. Running second is the war in Iraq (17%), with health care in 3rd place at 8%.

Just over 6 months ago the number one issue, at 26%, was the war, followed by healthcare at 25%, and the economy at 11%. The importance of the economy has grown fast since then. By March of '08 economy had moved to #1 at 29%. [CBS/NYT 4/08]

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