While President Obama tries to convince the American people that the economy is back on track a new report indicates that a majority of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck. In Obama’s post-recession recovery, nearly 62% of Americans do not have emergency savings to cover unexpected expenses. Faced with an emergency, Americans say they would raise the money by reducing spending elsewhere (26%), borrowing from family and/or friends (16%) or using credit cards (12%).
Additionally, homeowners and renters are finding it difficult to meet rising rents and mortgage payments. Over half of Americans have had to make at least one major sacrifice to cover the cost of their rent or mortgage over the last three years. Sacrifices that include getting a second job, deferring saving for retirement, cutting back on medical care, going further into debt, or choosing to move to a cheaper, but less safe neighborhood.
Oblivious to the circumstances of most Americans, President Obama speaking Wednesday in Detroit said, “As a country, we have every right to be proud of what we have got to show for that hard work,” Mr. Obama said. “America’s resurgence is real. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.” He later followed up by saying, “One of my new year’s resolutions is to make sure more Americans…feels like they’re coming back. And there is no doubt…that America is coming back.”
An immediate step the President can take to improve the economy and strengthen the middle-class is to sign legislation authorizing the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. Unfortunately, President Obama has already threatened to veto such legislation. Even President Obama’s State Department has concluded that “during construction, proposed Project spending would support approximately 42,100 jobs (direct, indirect, and induced), and approximately $2 billion in earnings throughout the United States.”
Unfortunately, the President is too ideologically driven and disconnected from the middle-class to adopt policies such as Keystone which would have an immediate positive impact on the economy. The House and Senate Republicans will send the Keystone legislation to the President, along with other measures to strengthen the middle-class and create jobs. It is now up to the President whether he can work with Congress to strengthen the American economy.