It’s Getting Worse: More Americans Describe Their Finances as ‘Bad’ as Prices Continue to Soar

poll american finances
Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

With the midterms fast approaching, the Biden administration could use a win to help boost prospects for Democratic candidates across the country. But, unfortunately, the September inflation numbers didn’t bring the news they hoped for.

Add to the fact that the economy has been ranking as one of the top concerns of American voters, with many viewing their financial situation in a negative light, it’s no wonder Democratic strategists are starting to feel uneasy about the midterms. 

But even without the inflation, perhaps the most telling numbers come from a poll that shows Americans are not feeling good about their finances. And when voters aren’t happy with their own money, they tend to make their voices heard come election day.

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Bad Feelings

According to AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs research polls, there is an increase in Americans across the political spectrum that feel bad about their personal finances. Overall 46% used the term ‘bad’ to describe their household financial situation.

Almost half of all Americans. Not. Good.

That number is up 9% from March of this year. Conversely, only 54% would characterize their finances as ‘good,’ down from 63% earlier this year. 

If you think it’s just Republicans that feel lousy, think again. While their percentage went from 41% to 53% on bad feelings, Democrats rose from 28% to 36% feeling ‘bad’ about their household finances.

The numbers that I think will be part of what tips some of the scales at the ballot box next month are how Americans feel about the economy and how the President has handled the economy. Only 23% overall would describe the economy as ‘very good,’ ‘somewhat good,’ and ‘lean toward good.’ 

Regarding how the President has handled the economy, 63% disapprove of his performance. For those in D.C., it might be easy to claim that things aren’t so bad, but the reality is much different for those out in the real world looking to buy houses and groceries.

RELATED: Prices Continue To Rise With Food Costs Soaring, Inflation Data Shows

Kitchen Table Issues

Inflation for September clocks in at a whopping 8.2%. Digging deeper into the Consumer Price Index, we see increases of .4% compared to .1% in August. You might look at that number and say it’s pretty tiny. It is a big deal, however, once you look at individual increases in items. Particularly necessities. 

Below is a break out of increases and decreases across the three main areas of day-to-day survival for Americans from August to September:

  • Shelter up .7% from August
  • Food up .8% from August
  • Gas down 4.9% from August

So while gas prices have gone down from the prior month, the recent news from OPEC+ and the radio silence from the White House on any real solution has many expecting those prices to go back up at the pump. On a personal level, the cost we’ve noticed going up is at the grocery store. 

Below is a break out of increases across food items from last year:

  • Rice up 13.6% 
  • Cakes, cupcakes, and cookies up 16%
  • Pork up 6.7%

And below are other annual increase breakouts that affect regular Americans:

  • Rent up 7.2%
  • Airfares up 42.9%
  • Medical care up 6.5%

We Are Not Doing OK

Perhaps what blows my mind the most is the administration’s reaction to how they think the economy is doing. For example, it was just this last Tuesday that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNBC:

“From the perspective of the United States, I think the United States is doing very well.”

What is she even talking about? What perspective is she looking at?

I suppose she thinks American families should feel good that, compared to other countries, we are doing “better.” Is that her argument? Because that doesn’t make me feel any better week after week when I’m grocery shopping.

There isn’t any sign that prices and the economy will get any better. According to chief economist Bill Adams of Comerica Bank, grocery prices will still be high while there is war in Ukraine:

“There’s definitely still a Russia-Ukraine effect keeping food prices elevated.”

So what, if anything, can Americans look forward to? Not much, unfortunately.

RELATED: ‘Serious Stuff’: JPMorgan Chief Jamie Dimon Warns Inflation, QE, Could Bring Down Economy


Currently, mortgage rates are at nearly 7%, more than double from just two years ago. But, more than likely, the Federal Reserve will increase rates again, which means mortgages, loans, and credit card debt will get even more expensive for the everyday American.

The deliverer of terrible news himself, Fed Chair Jerome Powell, said:

“We have to get inflation behind us. I wish there was a painless way to do that. There isn’t.”

At least he doesn’t try to tip-toe around reality like the Biden administration. For example, in his interview with Jake Tapper of CNN, President Biden said of the economy:

“I don’t think there will be a recession. If it is, it will be a very slight recession. That is we’ll move down slightly. It is possible. Look, it’s possible I don’t anticipate it.”

How can you not have the utmost confidence in our fearless leader with a response like that? But, unfortunately for the President, not everyone agrees with him.

In fact, 72% of economists polled by the National Association for Business Economics said a recession would begin sometime in the middle of next year.

RELATED: Joe Biden Denies Recession Despite All The Evidence

The Reality

Some might try to push the notion that things aren’t so bad, that there is plenty to celebrate, such as the wage increase of 5.2%. However, when you look at the totality of the numbers, which you should do if you are going to analyze economics, that doesn’t provide much consolation.

So let me explain it slowly for those in the administration who slept through Economics 101. If inflation is 8.2% and wages only went up 5.2%, my income isn’t keeping up with the cost of things I need. I am poorer than I was. 

[totalpoll id=”260308″]

With the news that inflation only went down .3% over the last two months, the Dow plunged 500 points this morning. So don’t bother looking at your retirement accounts; I promise it’ll depress you.

President Biden told Mr. Tapper that he doesn’t think Republicans have anything to run on, stating:

“I don’t know what they’re for.”

I’d argue that Republicans merely have to run on Biden’s rampant stimulus spending and remind Americans that while they struggle to pay for groceries and rent, you opted to provide student loan forgiveness.

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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