Friday, January 24, 2014

Less than a fifth of registered US voters say most in Congress deserve re-election

Record Low Say Own Representative Deserves Re-Election:

"The enduring unpopularity of Congress appears to have seeped into the nation's 435 congressional districts, as a record-low percentage of registered voters, 46%, now say the U.S. representative in their own congressional district deserves re-election. Equally historic, the share of voters saying most members of Congress deserve re-election has fallen to 17%, a new nadir.

Trend: Americans' Views on Whether Their Member, Most Members of Congress Deserve Re-Election
"The 17% of voters who now say most of Congress deserves re-election is well below the roughly 40% threshold that has historically been associated with major electoral turnover. With this in mind, Congress could be in for a major shake-up. Judging by net seats lost in an election as a percentage of the overall number of seats, 2010, 1994, and 2006 register as the top three recent elections. All of these years had election-year averages of 41% or fewer voters saying most of Congress deserved re-election, with the Republican-wave election of 2010 registering the lowest, 30% -- still 13 percentage points higher than the current reading.
Trend: Do Most Members of Congress Deserve Re-Election? 1992-2012 averages, plus House seat turnover and new membership
"Consistent with abysmally low congressional approval ratings and widespreaddissatisfaction with the nation's system of government, the proportion of registered voters saying Congress deserves re-election has hit an all-time low of 17%. While Congress as an institution is no stranger to voter disenchantment, American voters are usually more charitable in their assessments of their own representatives in the national legislature. But even this has fallen to a new trough.
Typically, results like these have presaged significant turnover in Congress, such as in 1994, 2006, and 2010. So Congress could be headed for a major shake-up in its membership this fall.
However, unlike those three years, when one party controlled both houses of Congress, the beneficiary of the anti-incumbent sentiment is not clear in the current situation, in which one party controls the House and the other, the Senate. Partisans on both sides of the aisle are displeased with Congress. But with so few voters saying they are willing to re-elect their own representative, it suggests that many officeholders will be vulnerable, if not in the general election, then perhaps in the host of competitive primaries soon to take place."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

74% Believe U.S. Still in Recession -

74% Believe U.S. Still in Recession

"Seventy-four percent of Americans believe that the nation is still in
a recession, which may be a sign that the lower and middle classes are
still anxious about unemployment, the value of their homes and stagnant

In a new Fox News poll,
when asked “For you and your family, does it feel like the recession is
over, or does it feel like the country is still in a recession?”
only 22% said they believed the downturn had ended. The 74% is better
than the 86% from the poll in September 2010, but only barely, if the
“improvements” in gross domestic product and unemployment rates are
taken into account.

The results are troubling if people’s beliefs affect their behavior.
It has been assumed that as unemployment fells and home prices made a
modest recovery, Americans would become more likely to be aggressive
consumers. But recent data tell otherwise. Holiday sales were poor by
most measures. There is little sign that the median household income of
Americans has moved much above the $51,000 that the Census Bureau reported for 2012, and in real dollars this is down from a decade ago. A recent Pew study found that:

But starting in the mid- to late 1970s, the uppermost
tier’s income share began rising dramatically, while that of the bottom
90% started to fall. The top 1% took heavy hits from the dot-com crash
and the Great Recession but recovered fairly quickly: according to
Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at UC-Berkeley, preliminary
estimates for 2012 (which will be updated next month) have that group
receiving nearly 22.5% of all pretax income, while the bottom 90%’s
share is below 50% for the first time ever (49.6%, to be precise)."

Monday, January 20, 2014

Many Baby Boomers Reluctant to Retire

Many Baby Boomers Reluctant to Retire- Gallup

Concerns about money likely play a significant role in explaining why
so many baby boomers see themselves working longer. Even before the
2008-2009 recession, financial advisers were warning that some baby
boomers were carrying too much debt, saving too little, and relying too
heavily on Social Security to retire comfortably. And then came the
economic collapse -- a perfect storm of layoffs, pension and stock
losses, and plummeting home values -- which was particularly ill-timed
for boomers who might otherwise have been in financial shape to retire
on schedule with the start of their Social Security benefits.

Gallup finds that baby boomers who strongly agree that they currently
"have enough money to do everything [they] want to do" expect to retire
at age 66. Boomers who strongly disagree with this statement predict
they will retire significantly later, at age 73.

Baby Boomers Who Feel They "Have Enough Money to Do Everything They Want to Do" Plan to Retire Earlier, December 2013 results

24/7 Wall St. » Blog Archive Why The ’100 Best Companies’ To Work List Is Useless «

24/7 Wall St. » Why The ’100 Best Companies’ To Work List Is Useless «

"24/7 Wall St. spent six weeks looking at Great Place and its practices
both inside and outside the US. and found them to be lacking.

Unlike polls such as those done by Gallup, “Best Companies” is not
scientific, not by a long shot.  Companies interested in being on the
list must apply to the Institute, which despite its academic-sounding
name is a for-profit institution.  To be eligible, companies must meet a
list of criteria including having 1,000 or more U.S. employees and
having been in operation for seven years.  The 100 “Best” are only the best of the 311 that applied, one large national polling firm which does not compete with Great Place, told 24/7 Wall St.  In addition, Fortune tells the winners 24 hours before the list is published while the Institute informs the losers at the same time."

"Great Place does not disclose anywhere which publications actually make
money on these listings through advertising or a share in consulting
fees. All parties 24/7 interviewed said Fortune does not. The marketing
benefits for Fortune are many. Great Place in the US offers a Best
Companies Executive Strategies Network. The forum is only open to firms
that have been on one of the Fortune lists for the past
three years. Membership fees are $7,500 per year for one person. Member
companies include American Express (NYSE: AXP), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:
GS), and KMPG."

The World's 85 Richest Now Worth as Much as 3.5 Billion Poorest - Oxfam

The World's 85 Richest Now Worth as Much as 3.5 Billion Poorest - Oxfam

"The poorest half of the world’s population—that’s 3.5 billion people—control as much wealth as the richest 85 individuals.

On the eve of World Economic Forum, when the global elite gather in
Davos, Switzerland, to forecast international trends, Oxfam has released
a new report, “Working for the Few,” (PDF) documenting yawning global wealth disparities. Other findings:

•The world’s richest 1 percent control nearly 50 percent of global wealth.

•In 24 out of 26 countries studied, the richest 1 percent has increased their share of national wealth since 1980.

•Only three in 10 people live in countries where economic inequality has not increased over the past three decades.

•In the U.S., 95 percent of post-financial crash wealth generated (i.e.,
since 2009) went into the bank accounts of the richest 1 percent.

•Nine in 10 people in the United States control less wealth in real terms than they did before the financial crash."