John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


A Glimpse Into The Real Economy

Posted on August 5, 2015

"Chicago-00" by Andrew Horne - Flickr: Chicago. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

It’s always good to get home to see how things are going in the “Real World.”

Home for me is Chicago, and I always get a bracing dose of reality when I get home to see the family.

Illinois is an economic basket case caused directly by political malfeasance. It’s pretty easy to blame the Democrats, because they have been running the state for more than a decade and they continue to believe that increasing taxes to pay for more government spending is the only solution to cure the ills of an ailing economy.

Bruce Rauner, a Republican who recently took control of the Governor’s office, has been trying hard to right a sinking ship, but he has met bitter resistance from the Democratically-dominated State Assembly.

Illinois is a disater, and yet, it still has reason for some optimism. If the politicians could just get their act together, the underlying fundamentals could make for a nice come-back.

Political leadership is a funny thing.

It has long been a tradition when it comes to national political leadership that most people love their local representative, but hate the Congress in general.

In Illinois, they are too busy hating their local politicians to even pay attention to national leaders.

This is true for paid politicians and for unpaid school boards. It’s hard duty to make tough decisions, whether it is trying to decide how to scale back pension benefits or closing a newly constructed high school.

There is some evidence that the usual dynamic about politicians has migrated to views about the economy.

People feel optimistic about their personal finances, but feel pessimistic about where the country in general is going economically.

This according a new survey from USA Today/Wells Fargo:

“Six years after the Great Recession ended, only about a quarter of Americans have a positive view of the U.S. economy and its prospects, though significantly more feel good about their personal financial situation, according to a new USA TODAY/Wells Fargo survey. The findings underscore that although perceptions have improved along with the economy, the scars of the downturn have left Americans warier and less optimistic about the future...”

We’ve come a long way from two, three, four years ago, when people were completely shell-shocked,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

But he adds, “I do think people are still cautious and haven’t really bought into the idea that this economy is performing well. The dark shadow of the recession continues to hang over the collective psyche...”

Here is another nugget from this fascinating survey:

“Americans, however, are generally more upbeat about their communities. About half rate their local economies as good or very good and only 14% have a negative view. Twenty-eight percent expect local conditions to be better in a year, and just 13% are pessimistic. The results likely reflect a “local bias” but also indicate that respondents’ outlook on the national economy may be exaggerated by the often-skeptical views they draw from the media, Zandi says. Their opinions of their communities, meanwhile, are largely informed by local business activity.”

Ah, the media.

If we could only get the media under control, we could get somewhere on our national mood.

A media that pumps up Donald Trump and makes him a leading contender for the White House. A media that makes every racial confrontation evidence of a coming race war, despite the fact that there is overwhelming evidence at the local level that race relations are improving, not worsening.

A media that trivializes real issues and entices us with click-bait to boost their own revenues.

I would suggest you take a look at this fascinating survey of the “Real Economy” and a get better sense of what is really going on in the country. It might make you feel better about yourselves.

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