The percentage of Americans who say that they are “suffering” rose to 5.6% in a Gallup poll published on Monday. This number has been climbing steadily since last summer, and is currently higher than at any point during the 2008 recession or the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
Gallup’s quality of life index rates respondents as “thriving,” “struggling,” or “suffering” based on how they rank their present life situation and expected future situation. A score of less than four out of ten is seen as “suffering,” while seven or above is categorized as “thriving.”
While 59% of Americans said they were “thriving” last November, that number has since fallen to 51% as of this July. The drop is not as severe as the 46% recorded during the first wave of lockdowns and job losses in the spring of 2020, or the 46.4% seen during the stock market crash of 2008.
However, a “suffering” figure of 5.6% is the highest ever recorded by Gallup since it began measuring in 2008. It comes after a previous record of 4.8% was set in April, and has climbed upwards since 2.8% last July. The pre-2022 high of 4.7% was reached in December 2008, shortly after the Dow Jones suffered its largest single-day loss in history.
The apparent increase in suffering comes as poll after poll shows that Americans are pessimistic about the state of the US economy, and rate these economic concerns above all other issues.
The US inflation rate currently stands at 8.5%, slightly down from 9.1% in June. With prices of food, fuel, and consumer goods rising, the Biden administration has spent lavishly, with the president allocating more than $54 billion since February for military and economic aid to Ukraine and passing a lavish climate, healthcare, and tax reform bill earlier this month. While the bill is named the ‘Inflation Reduction Act’, the Congressional Budget Office has noted that it will saddle middle-class Americans with around $20 billion in additional taxes over the coming decade, whilst having a “negligible” impact on inflation.
President Biden has attempted to blame rising prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, repeatedly using the phrase “Putin’s price hike” in his speeches. However, just 11% of Americans believe that Putin is responsible for high gas prices, and Biden’s approval rating has continued to fall, reaching a new low of 38% in a Gallup poll in July.
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