More Obama Economy: Americans Are Afraid

A survey shows that Americans are responding to the Obama economy by putting off major life events because they are worried.

The New York Times headline is a verdict on the Obama economy: “Americans Are Delaying Major Life Events Because of Money Worries.”

About half of American adults have postponed a major life decision in the past year for financial reasons, mainly because they lack sufficient savings or are worried about the economy, or both, a new survey finds.

The survey, conducted for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, found that the proportion of people delaying big decisions like buying a home or getting married had risen to 51 percent, from 31 percent in a similar survey in 2007, before the start of the financial downturn.

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The change was striking, and the percentages more than doubled in some areas. Nearly a quarter said they had delayed higher education, up from 11 percent in 2007, and 18 percent said they had put off retiring, compared with 9 percent in the earlier survey. Twenty-two percent said they delayed buying a home in 2015, compared with 14 percent in 2007.

The change was also evident in life decisions that weren’t solely financial in nature: 13 percent said they had delayed having children, compared with 5 percent in 2007, and 12 percent said they had postponed marriage, up from 5 percent in 2007.

I should note that we have had some good news in the midst of the Obama economy. I wrote earlier that women are beginning to have babies again at rates that are improving. It seems that some women, particularly older women, are not willing to delay any longer. They want to have babies despite the financial risks.

But this study backs up my suspicion, that we can’t really assume the increasing birth rate means the economy is better for most people. Men and women will put off major life events because of financial fears. The fact that they eventually do those things does not mean the fears have gone away. It may just mean they were too afraid to wait longer.

Unlike many Republicans, I think George Bush (with his Federal Reserve Chairmen) bears much responsibility for the great recession. But Obama has made things much worse through increasing the debt load, imposing burdens like Obamacare, and continuing with the same kind of people at the Federal Reserve.

I can’t believe that a President with this kind of economic record is not far more unpopular. Can you imagine how the media would treat a Republican president in this kind of economy?