Middle Class is Fearful

It is the economy, again, stupid. Working class families are fearful, but the opportunity for mis-information is high.

Senator Obama is using the Detroit Labor Day kickoff to emphasize three messages: addressing the needs of working people, the key role unions play in the election, and the role of manufacturing and the auto industry," Shaiken said. Both the Democratic presidential nominee and Republican rival Sen. John McCain are fighting for union members -- a key voting bloc in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other swing states. Link

Obama/Biden and the populist message are on-track.

Drum Major Institute's (DMI) first annual survey on the Middle Class and Public Policy reveals that America’s middle-class households are fearful families – overwhelmingly pessimistic about the direction of the country, especially the economy and high gas prices.

Most have little flexibility in their own economic situations and have little if anything left over each month after meeting basic expenses. The middle class is disgruntled with the direction of the country and politicians and see little coming out of Washington that would give them cause for optimism.

Middle-class Americans do know what they want.

The nation’s middle class broadly agrees on a range of public policies aimed at easing their economic woes. They support:

*a universal national health insurance plan,

Three-quarters (75% excellent/good idea) of middle-class adults think a national health insurance plan is a good idea for the county, including 41% who think it is an excellent idea.

*requiring employers to provide paid family and medical leave,

Requiring employers to provide paid family and medical leave was also a highly popular proposal (71% excellent/good idea) and was strongly favored by supporters of both Barack Obama (81%) and John McCain (63%).

*making it easier for employees to join labor unions, and

68% support allowing employees to be represented by a union when a majority of co-workers sign cards requesting representation.

*allowing bankruptcy judges to change mortgage payments to keep homes out of foreclosure.

A majority of middle-class adults (62%) say it is a good idea to allow bankruptcy judges to change the mortgage payments due on a homeowner’s primary residence in order to prevent foreclosure.

Regardless of party affiliation or presidential preference, these Fearful Families think largely alike.

A majority of middle-class adults – whether they are Democrats, Republicans, or independents and whether they are supporters of John McCain or Barack Obama for President – believe that these policies represent good ideas for the country.

Yet there is a profound disconnect between the nation’s legislators and their middle-class constituents.

- Most cannot name a single law passed by Congress over the last two years that has benefited their household.

- They do not know how their congressional representatives voted on these issues.

- 75% of middle-class adults say they only receive communications from their member of Congress at election time – if they hear from them at all.

- Middle-class adults have an overwhelmingly negative perception of the job Congress is doing to represent their interests.

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According to DMI Executive Director Andrea Batista Schlesinger, “The DMI Poll indicates that the fate of the 2008 election may very well hinge on whether middle-class voters become informed enough to look beyond pro-middle class campaign rhetoric and judge candidates based on their actions when they mattered most; namely, when it was time to vote on actual legislation. With two Senators running for president – along with one-third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives up for election – the stakes of misinformation or ignorance are high.

“The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy’s First Annual Survey on the Middle Class and Public Policy Finds Broad Policy Agreement Among ‘Fearful Families’” is available online . The full report on the DMI Poll was released August 2008.

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Comments

worse and worser

The problem is both parties do not have trade, economic and labor positions people really want. It's the policy stupid.

Where's the polling on completely renegotiating trade agreements? There are degrees of policy change and the token phrase one is worker and environmental standards which is not enforceable.

I think renegotiating trade agreements crosses party lines as well.

I agree we need to discuss policy or the lack thereof, effects, consequences.

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Policy

The money and agenda is pretty clear in both parties and ya know, I think that's why we have 2004 redux. So, way beyond plain voting and assuredly being a party cheerleader, I think it's vital for us to point out the bad policy positions and demand something better. i.e. not only point out the bad policy or corrupt policy but analysis a better policy and ask "why not this" for what would actually work.

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Keep the pressure on

Continue to write, email and call your elected officials, write letters to the editor in the local papers.

Support populist/labor leaning candidates downticket because they go on to become the leaders of the future.

Vote out the old imcumbents. Give them real competition and make them work to keep their seats

Yes both parties are occupied by globalist corporatists - we need to rid our govt of this disease

I fear things will have to get worse before they get better though - much worse. What ideally should happen is the dissaffected rank and files of both parties should come together and form a new on on the common grounds of economic and trade policy

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Stock market ready to fall

This isn't going to help anyone. But it looks unavoidable.

The best already may be over for the U.S. stock market this year.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index, which had the worst first half since 2002, added 0.2 percent this quarter, the only gain among the world's 10 biggest markets in dollar terms. Shares in the benchmark index for American equity climbed to an average 25.8 times reported profits, the highest valuation in five years. The last time that happened, the S&P 500 fell 38 percent.

A combination of rising prices and falling earnings caused S&P 500 valuations to surge more than 20 percent this quarter, the biggest increase of any major market, making them the most expensive since November 2003.

The index's price-earnings ratio rose above 25 three times in the last five decades, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The last was in 2001, during the bear market that followed the bursting of the dot-com bubble. The increase in valuations preceded a plunge that helped erase about half the market value of U.S. companies.

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more interesting

is considering how much stocks have already fallen what does this mean in terms of just plain ole profitability, growth and makin' stuff?

I just wouldn't have assumed just an outrageous P/E overall considering just the crash already, but I guess that's taking into account the lovely financials, whose favorite activity these days is to announce write downs.

I wonder what the ave. P/E is minus the financials, real estate, relating housing sectors?

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