While Wall St continues to speak of recovery, Main St continues to fear a "double-dip" recession. Since the dismal stock market lows of March 2009, record fiscal stimulus, unprecedented money printing, and monolithic "Too Big to Fail" bailouts have produced an impressive 62% rebound on Wall St, though this is still about 25% below the 2007 all-time, nominal high. In the meantime, on Main St, official unemployment sits at 9.6%, official underemployment resides at 16.7%, 40 million Americans are on food stamps, nearly 3 million Americans have filed for bankruptcy over the last two years, and hundreds of small to mid-sized banks have failed.
Yet, despite the near Depression on Main St, Wall St trumpets confidence, recovery, and optimism. However, Main St doesn't appear to share these same sentiments, as revealed in a late June, nationwide survey conducted by StrategyOne Insight. Here were several of the more pertinent highlights:
92% believed the US was still in a recession
48% believed the US was in a deep recession
65% feared that a "double-dip" recession was likely
79% couldn't say for sure if the economy was improving
67% were living paycheck to paycheck
42% stated that they or their spouse had their wages or salary reduced
34% reported that they or their spouse had lost their job
44% said that if things got worse, their family could slip into bankruptcy
28% had to dip into their retirement savings to make ends meet
24% claimed that their personal finances would never fully recover
This sobering data reveals a glaring divide between the privileged class of Wall St and the largely neglected class of Main St. As Dr. Ron Paul pointed out, there's a reason that big bankers, big corporations, and big military love President Obama, just as they did President Bush. And there's a reason that Main St continues to sour on President Obama, just as it did on President Bush.
Washington DC serves Wall St, while Main St is left to pretty much pick up the tab. Until we voters begin to reconsider our choices at the polls, this trend will only become further entrenched.