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Pew Takes A Look At Before And After Bush

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What did Americans think in 2000 and what do they think in 2008?

The difference is striking.

From Pew:

A mere 13% of Americans are now satisfied with the way things are going in the country, compared with 55% eight years ago. And while 61% applauded at Clinton’s curtain call, only 24% approve of Bush’s performance as he leaves the national stage.

Why?

Well, all you have to do is look at the numbers to see how average Americans feel they’ve been shortchanged by this President…

I think the biggest factor here is that while GDP has gone up per capita, real median household income has gone down. That means we’ve been more productive, but haven’t been compensated for it.

Given that, our personal debt has increased significantly and nobody’s happy when they’re carrying even a small amount of debt, much less the $900 billion extra we’re collectively holding these days.

This is why I think Obama’s plan to “stimulate” the economy with targeted tax cuts makes a lot of sense. Nobody at the top needs the money, but the average American worker does just to keep their head above water. So it’s less a stimulus plan and more a stop gap to make sure people don’t fall through the cracks.

It’ll be interesting to revisit these numbers in 2012 and 2016 to see if anything has changed.