Americans hold negative view of economy, Congress

Americans continue to lose confidence in the economic picture
Whether it is the “new normal” –  as analysts are quick to characterize the current slowdown – more Americans are counting themselves among the self-employed. And while workers a decade ago went out on their own quite willingly, today’s self-employed consider their employment status as less of a choice and more of a rut.

Sebastian Mallaby of the Financial Times argues that part of the problem stems from the US approach to the changing face of the workplace.

“Faced with this cadre of hard-to-employ men, the US has had to recognise that  the old time limit on unemployment  insurance is harsh and unhelpful. Starting in 2009, the limit has been  extended; some workers have collected for as long as 99 weeks. Meanwhile the  number of Americans receiving disability payments has shot up from 5m to almost  9m since 2000. Such benefits have no time limits,” he writes.

How much economic concerns weigh on Americans is reflected in the latest Gallup poll, which finds 43 percent of respondents viewing the economy as “poor.” Not surprisingly the absence of any resolution to the dire employment environment is contributing to the record low approval ratings for Congress.


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