According to Gallup, only 17 percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States, which means more than 80 percent are dissatisfied. (That’s similar to other polls, such as the latest by Wall Street Journal/NBC News, which shows only 18 percent saying the nation is headed in the right direction.)
That perplexes the folks at the Wall Street Journal, who cite rising real wages and median incomes. So, in their view, “For many voters there are very serious and grim issues in this election, but it isn’t really about pocketbooks anymore.”
And while I don’t want to reduce citizen dissatisfaction to their incomes (because, I agree, there are plenty of other “serious and grim issues in this election”), the writers at the nation’s premier business newspaper might want to consider what the folks at Sentier Research (pdf), the source of their household income data, observe:
The June 2016 median is not significantly different than [sic] the median of $57,147 in December 2007, the beginning month of the recession that occurred more than eight years ago. And the June 2016 median is now 1.1 percent lower than the median of $57,826 in January 2000, the beginning of this statistical series. These comparisons demonstrate that despite the gains in income in recent months, we are still at a level of median annual household income that is about the same as the level that existed at the beginning of the great recession more than eight years ago and lower than the level at the start of the last decade more than sixteen years ago.
Why does anyone think American voters should be satisfied with a “median annual household income that is about the same as the level that existed at the beginning of the great recession more than eight years ago and lower than the level at the start of the last decade more than sixteen years ago”?