Yesterday, Phil Gramm backtracked from his candid view that America has “become a nation of whiners.” (Watch the video of his original comment.) But he refused to back down from his assertion that Americans and the media are to blame for the current economy. “I said we are in a mental recession. We keep getting the steady drum beat of bad news…it’s become a mental recession,” Gramm said. That comment tracks John McCain’s own view that the economic pain experienced by Americans is largely “psychological.”
From his lucrative perch atop Wall Street, Gramm may not be able to see the suffering of most Americans. And McCain’s own life of luxury may have clouded his understanding. So here’s a reminder of 10 real examples of how Americans are hurting in the current economy:
HOUSING FORECLOSURES INCREASING: As a result of the subprime lending crisis, “housing foreclosures nationwide were up 50% in June compared with the same month in 2007.” In California alone, foreclosures have reached an average of 500 per day.
HOMELESSNESS INCREASING: The number of homeless over the age of 50 are “steadily increasing.”
HEALTHCARE COSTS RISING: According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, “health-care costs are growing much faster than the economy.” Costs are rising so significantly, some Americans are delaying retirement.
GAS PRICES RISING: The national average gas price is $4.09, up 33% from this time last year. Gas prices are now expected to hit “$4.25 by the fall and then stay at more than $4 a gallon until the end of 2009.”
JOB LOSSES INCREASING: In the first six months of this year, a total of 438,000 jobs have been lost, bringing unemployment to 5.5%. The CEO of Bank of America commented, if unemployment continues to rise, “all bets are off.”
HEATING AND ELECTRICITY COSTS RISING: Heating oil costs across the north are expected to be “up 60 percent from last year” and utilities across the country are “raising power prices up to 29%.”
REAL WAGES DECLINING: “Slower wage growth and faster inflation has led to falling real hourly and weekly earnings for most workers.”
LEISURE SPENDING DECLINING: As a result of the rising cost of living, Americans are “tightening their belts and thinking twice about spending extra bucks on entertainment and leisure products.”
VALUE OF DOLLAR DECLINING: The dollar “has been declining steadily for six years against other major currencies, undercutting its role as the leading international banking currency.”
Got any other examples to whine about? Let us know in the comments section.