Politics Magazine

A Good Economy Needs More Than Low Unemployment And A Good Stock Market

Posted on the 09 February 2020 by Jobsanger
A Good Economy Needs More Than Low Unemployment And A Good Stock Market Donald Trump bragged about the economy again in his State of the Union speech. He called it the best economy it has ever been, and noted the low unemployment and the good stock market.
That may be true for him and his rich friends, but not for most Americans. Most Americans are not invested in the stock market. And low unemployment is meaningless when too many of the economy's jobs are low-wage and low-benefit, and even workers with better jobs are struggling to keep up with inflation.
A truly good economy is one that benefits all workers and contributes to a growing middle class. That is simply not true of the current economy.
Here are some thoughts from Helaine Olen in The Washington Post on the economy:
Think of it this way: Jobs are more plentiful and average hourly wages are rising slowly, but the conditions we work under are not all that great. Laws and regulations make it difficult for workers to join together and unionize. Shift workers literally don’t know what they will earn week to week, yet need to be available to work all hours on demand. When it comes to health care, it’s not simply that costs and deductibles continue to rise, often past Americans’ ability to pay the bills. Earlier this week, Lauren Weber at Kaiser Health News reported on the increasing problem of insurance companies giving approvals for tests, procedures and medications only to retroactively yank them, leaving consumers on the hook for thousands of dollars in expenses, with little in the way of recourse. There are increased demands on families, too. Rising medical costs are colliding with a growing population of seniors, and Medicare does not pay for many of the expenses associated with long-term care. The result? A survey released last year found that half of adults assisting their elderly parents cut back on their own personal spending as a result of the financial burden. An equal number said they earned less money on the job as a result of their responsibilities to elderly relatives. You can think of any number of such economic issues, which we mostly see as our own individual burdens. But that’s not true: They are multigenerational, and the financial effects cascade through families. The age cohort with the fastest growth in student loan debt? It’s not millennials (though they do owe higher amounts overall); it’s people over the age of 60. They’re swamped not just by their own lingering college tuition expenses, but by the need to help their children and grandchildren pay for higher education. These are not the things we contemplate when we talk about the economy. They are, all too frequently, viewed as personal-finance problems. American society tells us we are supposed to manage them on our own and suggests that we are failures if we cannot. But this is absurd. A good economy is about more than having a job. It’s about being able to afford the health care we need and knowing how many hours we will work during a given week. If you think about it this way, you don’t need to convince people that the economy still doesn’t work. They are, all too often, living it.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog