September 18th, 2007
01:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Americans offer a mixed review of U.S. economy

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A majority of Americans continue to believe that the U.S. economy is in good shape, but that figure has dropped significantly since the start of the year, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Poll released on Tuesday.

The new poll data was released on the same the Federal Reserve is expected to announce an interest rate cut to spur the economy. The poll shows that 54 percent of Americans believe the economy is in good shape, while 45 percent say it is not. That suggests only a slight change in the public's view of the economy since last month, but it does represent a 7-point drop since the spring and a 9-point drop since January.

The poll also suggests that Americans remain optimistic about the future of the economy with 62 percent saying that economic conditions will be good a year from now.

The poll, conducted between September 7-9, surveyed 1,017 Americans and carries a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Polls
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    I guess I am in the percentage who don't think the US economy is all that great right now. 5 years ago, I made twice what I am making now. I lost my job to outsourcing, and am starting over in a different field since then.

    I know I pay more than ever for gas and oil. And people don't understand how much the price of gas and oil affects your life. Everything you buy had to spend time on a boat, plane, or truck. And so many things are made from petrolium products.

    I know big executives get big packages, but the average guy loses his job to overseas competition. And numerous jobs that haven't been outsourced have been taken by foreign visa workers. Or illegal immigrant workers.

    We have a mortgage crisis. The price of homes in many areas are unaffordable.

    We all wonder if we're saving enough for retirement, and expect that Social Security will not be there when we retire, which for some of us is pretty soon.

    I'm glad the Fed cut the rate today. But that's a short term fix. We need a real plan to bring jobs back to America. We don't make a TV or a VCR or a video game here anymore. Everything has gone to India or China.

    September 18, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Steve, Phoenix, Arizona

    You hit it right on the head. Are we (Americans) saving enough. I think our view of the economy is based on our personal financial situations.

    I am a baby boomer. My parents grew up in the Great Depression. I have been working continuously since I was 14 years old (I am 45 now). I was always taught to save, and taught the value of a dollar. My wife and I live in a modest house, and we have 1 1/2 times our combined annual earnings in savings at all times, just in case.

    I know I am in the minority. Except for our mortgage, we have no debt. Look at TV ads: everything is debt consolidation, blah, blah, blah. Debt must be epidemic in our country.

    Until more Americans learn to do without the SUVs, overpriced houses and other goodies, the economy will always look bleak.

    Just my two cents worth.

    September 18, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. JC Topeka, KS

    Do I think the US economy is doing well, well gas is at record levels, natuarl gas is up there, heating oil is up, price of food is up, payrolls are stagnant and no growing. But there are lots of opportunities in the job market for college graduates as long as they intend on a carrer in the insurance industry, fast food, retail sales.

    There was a time in our economy when America was the industrial hub of the world. We manufactured everything. Go try and find a made in the USA label today, it you find one, I bet the label was made in China. During this time of industrial growth CEOs or company Presidents what ever you wish to call them, made an average of 10 times the lowest salary in they factory, so they were 10 times as important as the lowest paid worker, this sounds fair to me, but what do I know.

    Call a customer hotline, more than likely its a overseas call. Buy a piece of electronics, I can assure you it was not made in the USA even though it may have that little American flag on the box. Don't ask where the American flags on display are manufactured, or those uniforms worn by our military, but you won't find a made in the USA on one of them.

    When we speak of mobilizing the American industrial might today we refer to mobilizing burger production at McDonalds and getting the insurance salesmen, I mean financial account executives, out on the street drumming up more buissnes.

    State of the American economy, you figure it out.

    September 18, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Pat, Huntington, NY

    While superficially the economy may be ok, the reality is that Bush's defecits have literally mortgaged this country to foreign interests, like China, who own most of our treasuries, and can desimate our economy and completely devalue the dollar if they decide to sell them. They therefore hold us by the neck, literally, and that's disaster for national security, all thanks to the Bush adminstration and to be continued if another dirty rethuglican is elected.

    September 18, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. J Houston, TX

    Yes defecit spending was invented by George W. Bush...are you joking? The trillion dollar debt is the result of generations of work and foreign aid to places like Europe.

    The US economy is shifting out of manufacturing and it is a HORRIBLE change. The jobs aren't going to just China, they're all over Mexico. Programs like NAFTA decimated the US industrial sector and we have George Bush Sr and Bill Clinton to thank for the wonderful problems Mexico is causing us today. Illegal immigration stands on top of the economy holding down wages for the average American worker.

    Capital gains are being taxed less and less as the rich get richer. Companies are going under, outsourcing work to India and then REWARDING their CEOs with half a BILLION dollar retirement packages and multi-million dollar bonuses. RETIREMENT packages that are simply an escape route from paying REAL taxes on income.

    That aside. The US economy IS the world juggernaut. China exports all those products to the US? If the US economy tanks, consumerism tanks, and China's exports TANK. The economy is global and everyone knows if they stop exporting to the US they will lose BIGTIME. We need aggressive diplomacy to reduce TAXES on our foreign exports. Favorite nation status needs to be destroyed in favor of an EQUAL tarrif system that taxes our imports as much as our exports. This will, in turn, force a lower tax burden on the prices of our exports in foriegn economies and SAVE US MANUFACTURING. One huge decision could change life for the middle-class American that the whole world forgets.

    September 18, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    I believe we must get back to a strong manufacturing base. It's called "value-added" and everyone knows you make more money / profits when you add value. You add value when you make something.

    When I hear an executive at Mattel say that they can make a Barbie Doll in China for $0.35 and they sell it for $20.00 – that they could "never" do that in the US because it costs $7.00 to make the same doll.... I realize this is all about greed. It's the executives and board members that aren't happy with the return on the $7.00 investment. They want the same return on the $0.35 investment. That's greed folks, plain and simple. And, unfortunately, it's what happens when capitalism is left with no controls.

    Congress should get back to the tariff game and start right away. Start with the Barbie Doll. When the Chinese made dolls hit the port – the manufacturer or importer pays the difference to the American cost. In this case, the tariff is $6.65 per doll. You will see manufacturing spring up all over the nation if we would go back to the economic policies that helped make this country great in its first 200 years of existence.

    Free trade policies are responsible for this and I blame both parties. They are listening to corporations that pay for their campaigns. Hard working Americans made these corporations so successful and wealthy that they can afford to build plants where the cheaper labor is. This is the thanks they get.

    September 18, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Steve Miller, Dunbar, WV

    I have to agree with Bill W. In 2000, I had a good job, a vehicle, and was thinking of saving for a home. I know am unemployed, no vehicle, and have trouble paying rent.

    September 18, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Richman - NYC

    I'm making and saving more than I ever have. I'm my own boss now, I wasn't in 2000. However, I don't think Bush or anyy other politician has anything to do with what you make out of your situation (I did fine when Clinton wa spresident as well). If you do think that, that's fine, keep thinking it and keep going nowhere.

    September 18, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. livnlrg

    Is your glass half full or half empty?

    Try getting a college degree in Math or Science like your Mommy advised, it makes a big difference when this question is ask...

    September 18, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. James, Phoenix AZ

    "When I hear an executive at Mattel say that they can make a Barbie Doll in China for $0.35 and they sell it for $20.00 – that they could "never" do that in the US because it costs $7.00 to make the same doll…. I realize this is all about greed. It's the executives and board members that aren't happy with the return on the $7.00 investment"

    – – – –

    From the management perspective:

    To produce the barbie doll, Mattell must have plants (operating costs), labor issues (unions, strikes, etc), compliance with EPA, and a dozen other Federal regulations, managing payroll of all the employees, sick, vacation, workers comp, and then deal with a political environment ripe with anti- Corporate senitment. Then after doing all this, the chinese import "Babs" the Barbie knock-off for 1/3 the price at Walmart, Kmart, Target, and various large box stores. Mattel cuts prices to compete, loses market share, and ultimately closes their doors. Everyone out of a job, no tax revenues, and another American company gone.

    September 18, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. Tom Dedham, Mass

    I am one of those lucky ones that is doing better since Bush took office and so is my 401K. I also get up every morning, like I have done for the last 30 years.

    The President can only do so much to make the economy work and that goes for either party, it is mainly cyclical and lasts for varient amounts of time.

    True, I have been lucky, as the Clinton's genius NAFTA idea and the Democrats and Bushes LOVE for illegal immigrants that steal our jobs has not filtered to me yet.

    But it has to some of my friends and the next President needs to remedy both of those MISTAKES.

    Funny, I see people driving around in SUV's (most have multiple cars in the d-way), big screen TV's, IPODS, IPHONES, Computers are flying off the shelf, so someones doing ok.

    Even with his tax cuts that stopped the Clinton recession and made it the shortest in history, he can't win.

    Yep, war costs money and so does freedom and safety.

    How many billions did Katrina cost and lets face another FACT, the economy could have been DESTROYED after 9-11, but it showed strength.

    Could he have done more to veto a few bills or earmarks you bet, he should get taken to the woodshed for that.

    The housing problem is tough as you want to sympathize with people that are hurting and we should help them, but not FORGIVE their MISTAKE, but when I bought my house, I paid to have a lawyer go over it with a fine tooth comb, old saying applies here, if it looks to good to be true, it probably is.

    Two other realities, gas prices taken into context with inflation are lower than they were in the late 70's and early 80's.

    Funny how nobody EVER discusses the bastion of all that is liberal, Colleges, for the price gauging that these people do. Between enrollment, tuition, books and room and board, they are the real "silent ones" that are ruining college education for regular, middle class folk.

    I get it, Bush sucks, and I am fine with that.

    September 18, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  12. Thomas, St. Petersburg, FL

    Today's economy is in pretty good shape: low unemployement (about 5% nationally, under 4% in Florida) and low interest rates.

    The mortgage fiasco was caused (in part) by people who bought homes they cannot afford via mortgage loans that are adjustable or 'interest only'. Lenders also share the blame since they are the ones who approved these deceptive loan packages.

    However, I agree that the outsourcing of American jobs is a dilemma that harms the U.S. economy. In the past, companies had a sense of responsibility to the community in which it gained it's profits. Unfortunately, today's corporate culture is dominated by greed without giving any consideration to the ramifications on employees and the U.S. economy in general.

    The U.S. economy would benefit considerably by Neal Boortz's "Fair Tax", which is a consumption tax system that would abolish the IRS. U.S. workers would receive 100% of their paychecks, everyone in America would suddenly pay taxes via their retail purchases (even drug dealers and illegal immigrants; working "off the books" would be a thing of the past). Each household would receive a "rebate check" each month (and thus not pay taxes on everyday needs such as food). Corporations would be tripping over each other to relocate in America, thereby lowering the unemployment rate and increasing the number of favorable jobs in the U.S.

    September 19, 2007 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  13. laurinda, shokan,ny

    Cheer up fellow Americans! It's all over the news..The Feds Have Cut The Interest Rates.. Once the credit card companies hear about this, we'll be able to pay them off in ten years, instead of twenty. I figure if we can just hold on to our mortgages, jobs, be sure to keep your oil consumption low, if you have a bicycle..great..turn your heat off at night and stay under the covers, in about ten years we might be back to normal. Unless of course, there is another Bush out there that wants his turn to become president.

    September 19, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. demwit

    If you think its bad now, just wait until this pitiful 110th Congress' budget goes into effect next year. Just watch the recession hit.

    And God help us if a dem is elected to Pres with a dem Congress. I'd bet we would even make a depression in the economy if Hillary has her healthcare way..

    September 19, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Donald Gordon, Ontario,CA

    To Thomas of St. Petersburg, FL

    The idea that you talked about of a "consumption tax", where everyone pays tax on their retail purchases. I never heard of that until today, but it sound really intriguing. That sounds like it can be a really good way to make sure that everyone, whether your rich or poor, pays a fair amount of taxes. I want to find out more about it now.

    September 19, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    I also have not heard of the fair tax or consumption tax before. I would like to hear more.

    However, I find it hard to believe that any "consumption" tax will bring in any kind of fair amount in taxes, especially from the very wealthy. Som eof these people make way more on stock dividends, capital gains, and interest earnings annually than anyone could ever spend in a lifetime. If you do the math just on the annual dividends that a guy like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs gets on their company stock, and the tax they pay on it now – then figure what they'd have to spend (and on what?) for the government to get the same amount of revenue from them that they get now – well, I just don't think it will work.

    Consider also that when someone is making $1,000,000 a year and buys a new car, which I believe is a large purchase that would be heavily "penalized" under a "consumption tax", the amount of the purchase relative to income is very different from someone who is only making $50k a year, yet badly needs a car to get to work. So again, I think the vast majority of taxes would be shouldered by those who can least afford it.

    I'd like to hear more, but I'm very skeptical.

    September 20, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  17. Bill W, Coatesvlle, PA

    ...And for all the talk of "unaffordable housing", did you ever watch these TV shows where people buy and "flip" houses?

    When we look at different areas of the country, like in these shows and stuff, we see row homes like the ones that sell for about $75,000 here that are selling for $1.2 million in other areas. I am just floored by the prices of some of the homes I see, especially like anywhere in California.

    And when I think of a $1.2 million home, I certainly don't think of a 2 story, 3 bedroom row home – I don't care WHERE it is located!

    This begs the question to me – how can anyone afford to pay $1.2 million for a row home in a working class neighborhood? Even with 2 incomes. And how can anyone justify these kinds of homes selling at these prices? I know I could never buy one. I am so fortunate, I guess, to live where I do.

    I know we will never see the kinds of return on our houses that our grandparents got – and maybe some of our parents. We hear all the time about people who paid about $7,000 for a house in the 1950's and sold it for $250,000 when they retired. (About 35 times investment) For us to get the same return, we'd need to buy the house for $250,000 and sell it in 30 or 40 years for what – $8,750,000. That is just staggering when you think about it. And who can afford it?

    No wonder there is a housing crisis.

    September 20, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |