- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 11, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Despite the recent bailouts, President-elect Barack Obama’s economic team rollout and impending inauguration, the majority of Americans do not appear to be feeling positive about the country’s financial future. In some cases, it is one’s own financial well-being, for others it is their children’s financial future, that they are most worried about in the long run.

A January 6th Rasmussen poll reveals that 47 percent of American adults believe their children will not be better off than their parents. Twenty-seven percent took a more optimistic view, while 26 percent said they weren’t sure about what’s to come. The poll does not clarify what “aren’t sure” means. Essentially, based on the current economic slump, many Americans feel that the trend of offspring who fare better in the future than they have, will not continue.

The poll also noted that only 14 percent of workers say their companies are hiring, while 27 percent report layoffs are coming at their companies. Rasmussen says these are some of the bleakest figures they have seen for their job index.

But the constant doom-and-gloom messages of our economic woes could be clouding one’s thinking more than reality.

Another poll, released Dec. 2 by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, said that 73 percent of Americans are significantly more optimistic about their personal financial future than they are about the economic direction of the country. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents felt either very good or good about their situation. Factors which affected their opinion were having a home, secure employment and a strong family. However, when personal finances were factored in, 46 percent of the respondents were confident and 43 percent noted they were very concerned. And 73 percent of respondents said they felt either rather bad or very bad about the overall situation in the U.S. over the next 12 months.

Furthermore, the future of the Social Security system was considered a worry for the respondents, with 63 percent either strongly agreeing or agreeing with the statement “I am concerned about my Social Security.”

Essentially, the two pieces of public opinion research, the public survey and telephone poll show that Americans are not finding economic or financial reassurance from the government. Their sense of optimism has been affected by recent events in the financial world. And the individual American’s sense of security and hope for the future comes from their personal life and means, not what the government can offer.

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