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The headlines scream bad news about the economy: Prices are high and rising; wages are not keeping up. Homes foreclose at a record pace. Gas prices are at record highs. While economists and politicians debate whether or not we’re technically in a recession, most Americans feel we’ve been in a recession for years. People know in their guts that something is wrong.
To show how the economy affects working families, The Campaign for America’s Future has designed an economic stress test. Assessing the condition of jobs, housing, health care, and household costs on a state-by-state basis over time, the CAF stress test illustrates the troubles families face and shows the way to solutions.
"The Stress Test" shows trouble across the board. It shows flat wages and rising costs. It shows more people without health insurance and the neglect of such established public responsibilities as state support for college education. It demonstrates overall economic mismanagement and it quantifies the general level of stress in this historically optimistic country.
To relieve this economic stress, this report shows, we need a new economic strategy. We need to stop using tax dollars to bail out Wall Street bankers and start using public money to benefit the struggling middle class. This means the creation of new, good jobs here at home and a strategy for retaining knowledge and technology in America. We need to expand public investment in infrastructure as well as human capital in order to ensure the safety and well-being of all Americans. This includes investment in roads, bridges, education and health care. These reforms are the foundation for a new economy in which all Americans benefit.
The elements of the new direction include:
Americans have a right to know how we can build a sustainable economy. Presidential candidates need to address the issues that are relevant to working Americans, refocusing national attention from the wants of Wall Street to the needs of Main Street. We can begin to relieve Americans’ economic stress by challenging candidates and elected officials to support and promote real solutions to real economic problems.
See the level of economic stress in your state.