Friday, April 27, 2007
Is economy becoming campaign issue?
For all the important and tough wrangling over Iraq, another issue has come creeping out of the woods: the economy.

The Commerce Department has issued a report saying the first quarter of the year showed the weakest economic growth in four years, led by the declining housing market. Couple that with the way gas prices continue to creep up, and this could have the makings of a political sleeper.

Remember, our most recent poll showed that only a slim majority of Americans think the economy is doing well anyway, and that poll was conducted before this news came out.

Obviously, some Democrats will lay the blame for the slowing economy at the door of the White House, and some Republicans will say the economy is still doing awfully well and point to numbers like the unemployment rate.

But what about you, the voters? How are you doing, financially? Amid all our concerns over Iraq, immmigration, and whatever else, do you think the economy could emerge as a dominant issue in this presidential race?

-- By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 8:20 PM ET
  14 Comments
Hi Tom,
I have been wondering about the economy for a while now. The price of gas is high, and as a result, I feel like everything is more expensive. The data that is used to gauge the economy can be made to look like we're doing fine, or not so fine. It all depends on who is doing the spinning. I won't even talk about the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, do I think the economy is an issue? Yes, I do.
Posted By Anonymous Pamina, Pittsford, NY : 8:47 PM ET
Only people who are bad at managing their own money would say that the economy is bad. Anyone with a brain knows that indicators of a strong economy are a rising stock market, economic growth, low unemployment and low inflation. Also consumer spending.

For the past eight years inflation is low, unemployment is very low. The economy is expanding at a rapid pace thanks to Pres. Bush, and both businesses and consumers are spending. Yes, gasoline has risen in price, and the real estate market is down, but has anyone noticed that many people have not curtailed their spending on expensive coffee, movie tickets, fast food, DVDs, vacations and other discretionary items? How is is that every week we hear about $50 million movie ticket sales. I'm in the travel industry, and I see flights full of happy consumers! Hotels are booked up, too. I think Americans are spoiled and I also think that people compare themselves to others who can easily afford expensive cars and "toys", and think that because THEY can't afford a new computer or new car every two years like their richer neighbors, there must be something wrong with the economy.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago, IL : 8:59 PM ET
The economy should be a major campaign issue. Prices keep going higher and higher but wages are staying the same. Personally, I want a president that will seek to help the financial situations of our country.
Posted By Anonymous Brittany Pendergraft Jonesville, VA : 9:00 PM ET
p.s.
I wrote this last fall on the 360 blog when we were electing a Congress; I wish people would glance at their paycheck now; if you don't like the amount of taxes taken out, just wait until the Democratic Congress gets their tax increase passed. And as for the tax cut, forget it. Democrats don't believe in returning the money to the people. They pretty much think we're not smart enough to manage our own money.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 9:04 PM ET
Not only will the economy be a major issue next year but so will the main causes of the economic collapse - worldwide peak oil + our failing resource war in the Middle East.
Posted By Anonymous Adam P. Las Vegas, NV : 9:35 PM ET
Hi Tom,
Good economies come and they go. But one thing that is certain like death and taxes...Whoever is reaching for the brass ring of a new White House, will say a Great Depression is upon us again. It never fails. I do know the 3.50 a gallon for regular gas I just shelled out, wasn't a big thrill. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 10:11 PM ET
Gas is high, electricity is high, food is getting pricier, and good jobs for the middle class are getting hard to find if you are in one of the professions that have been offshored so big companies can make bigger bucks.

If you are young and don't have children to support, changing your job field is not as difficult as it is when you are older, have a mortgage, plus children to support. There are jobs yes - but jobs that pay less than 1/3rd of what was being made in the job that trotted off overseas to someone who will do it for cents on the hour. Plus us older folks (40 and over) have to compete with college grads who can work for a lot less than we can.

I know people who are still looking or a job 5 years after their job went to India. Most have had to take something just to bring some money in that pays less than 20K a year.

So yes, I think the economy and jobs should be an issue. I'd like to think I can finish out my career doing what I do best and make enough money to not live in the poorhouse. Right now the prospects seem mighty bleak.
Posted By Anonymous Annie Kate, Birmingham AL : 11:33 PM ET
Give me trillions of dollars in credit and I could jump start an economy too. The American economy is built on top of a pile of debt. This kind of economy works for a while, but eventually, the massive debt comes due and when it does, the economy falls.

Unfortunately, this administration has set us on the road to ruin with it's carefree spending.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 12:57 AM ET
Dear Xtina,
It must be nice in dreamland. It must also be nice to be able to imply that poor people are lazy.
That way the republican party doesn't have to take responsibility for voting for measures that screwed the general public in the first place. I'm sure it's much easier for them to pass the buck onto democrats, because it's ALLLL the democrats fault... riiiight.

Let them eat cake... is that it?

I guess I shouldn't be suprised though. Seems par for the course these days.

The fact is, while we are all responsible for where we got in life, neither republicans absolutely nor democrats absolutely are to blame for economic issues. Them's just the brakes.

In truth it isn't the economy that people are getting frustrated with... more to the point it's attitudes like the one you expressed, that seem flippant and callous in the face of their distress, and the ratio of rich to impoverished. Then again who do the republicans have to look up to as a role model; George Bush. Birds of a feather I guess. They all seem like a bunch of sociopaths to me.

But hey, in the name of good ol George... I guess we should stop playing the blame game, and as a sign of good faith, I'm sure good ol George will be happy to pay for the reeducation of all the elderly people and young couples who don't know how to play the stock market, because they were too busy living paycheck to paycheck to attend that class; so, that everyone can be equal.

He does recall what equal means ... right? Or did Saddam Hussein somehow manage to hit him with an Alzheimers bomb like he must have to Alberto Gonzales?
Posted By Anonymous James Foley Kamiah, Idaho : 4:32 AM ET
Tom,

This is quite the timely question.

The other evening I was contacted by a young man from the Gallup Poll and I listed the economy directly after the war in Iraq as our nation's biggest challenge.

Even with unemployment down and people seemingly shopping like mad, purchasing new vehicles, etc.; I find finances my major challenge personally as well.

As a professional in the legal arena I always felt as though I made good money, but lately my paycheck tends to vanish at a geometric rate.

Frankly, I agree that each party will cast this issue on the other and nothing will be resolved. That tends to be the outcome with many important issues anymore. As a truly dominant issue, the candidates need to step up to the plate and deliver a true, workable solution. This is what we need and what hope for.

Will it happen? Well, that remains to be seen.
Posted By Anonymous Pati McMillan, Camp Hill. PA : 4:55 AM ET
Ok Tom,

Really the economy issue is like this in my opinion.

What is your personal economy? My personal economy is based on an environment of unlimited opportunities. It is very different from my parents economy. We live in a global world and you have to be able to react to that world and be successful.

If you live and think in a world of endless opportunities your personal economy will be filled with financial growth and abundance.

It is a little Pollyanna, I know but really I have to tell you it has worked for me and my income has continued to grow by 25% annually over the last 10 years.

I haven't done this taking no for an answer, using any excuses or whining in the workplace. I think I have just worked hard for it and constantly continued my formal and informal learning.

To the female bloggers and viewers, last week Anderson did a segment with Randi Kaye and another guest author who made recommendations to women.

I really had to disagree on some of the guest author made. I believe the one thing a woman can do better at is the art of negotiation. There are tons of books at the store about negotiation skills. Trust me it works at home, with the children and at the office. Remember, no one owes you anything. You owe it to yourself to learn how to negotiate. Become a life time learner and your personal economy will become bigger.
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 9:45 AM ET
Dear Tom,

Economy was always an issue. It may be that the reason we have this war is because George Bush never really had any plans to jump start the economy; so, he exploited the carnage on Sept. 11 to kill two birds with one stone.

I think that only in the past year or so he finally figured out that the presidency wasn't a reward for simply being a republican, but an actual job with actual duties.

I think that, for lack of any genuine plan to keep us out of recession, they latched onto any thing they could. In the meantime, they preyed on the prejudices and fears of the people, and created a plethora of red herrings to keep us all preoccupied in order to keep our minds off of the economy.

To clarify, I don't think they planned nine eleven, but it sure has come in handy to boost sympathy and the economy. Of course George Bush said spend, spend, spend. That way he could claim vitory in both. How Ironic.

We currently have an economy that only wealthy people can say is working and a wealthy few providing solutions, not for the increase in poverty and debt, but as novocaine for their own guilty consiences (for those who have one).
We have a war rife with scandals that aren't being linked to the administration, but that keep popping up among those in the lower tiers of said administration, and both transparency and accountablility are shoved under the rug.
We have a blaggard of a president who creates enemies, seemingly out of thin air [or at least exploits the ignorance of those who already maintaned such prejudices], and then lumps them together in a soundbite called the Axis of Evil [which incidentally was meant to make rabid normally calm and pious christians], and we seem to be well on our way to another cold war. Gee, Reagan would be proud [sarcasm].

That may be the explanation why a war with obviously foreseeable consequences, has gone on this long, and why the current administration feels it 'must' stay the course; to do otherwise would be to admit fault. Admit they sent our kids into a battle based on faulty information, thereby creating an atmosphere that any fool could tell a crime would be committed in, and presented themselves as the ones best qualified to prosecute that battle, and they just can't do that.

Think of the lawsuites. Think of the humiliation of admitting they were wrong. Perish the thought.
Posted By Anonymous James Foley Kamiah, Idaho : 8:00 PM ET
In 2000 the Internet/Tech bubble burst, wiping out billions in wealth.

In 2001 9/11 caused a short-term panic that again wiped out billions in wealth.

In 2002 Accounting scandals further eroded the savings of investors.

Through it all, only the real estate market -- rising asset prices that translated into increased home equity, kept the economy moving, as homeowners tapped into this windfall wealth.

And all this time both Government and individuals have borrowed as never before to finance their lifestyles -- in effect building a financial foundation on quicksand.

I fear that by 2008, a melt-down in real-estate, combined with a cyclical downturn in stocks (our current bull market is 4 years old) will translate into a malaise that may not have been seen in the US since the 1930's.

I hope I'm wrong, but the truth is, the fundamentals are all there for a day of reckoning. If it ISN'T the most important issue right now...it oughta be.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Scott, Mechanicsburg PA : 10:34 AM ET
It's interesting that some think the economy is doing so well. How about no raises in four years, property taxes doubling in as many, gas prices, let's not forget healthcare, you name it, the price goes up. The White House is more interested in supporting and encouraging a war that we can't win. Charity begins at home. It is way past the time that this government (We The People) start taking care of our own and stop sticking our noses in other country's business. How would we feel as a nation to have other countries tell us what to do or invade us? How many more innocents need to die? I support and respect the office of the President.We need and deserve better leadership.
Posted By Anonymous Nancy Lockwood, Mpls., MN : 3:10 PM ET
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