For Most Americans, Happiness Isn't the Truth

Posted: May 06, 2014 3:16 PM
For Most Americans, Happiness Isn't the Truth

The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson wants Democrats to get happy about how things are going in the United States. "Democrats, if you want to win in the fall," Robinson writes, "take some advice from Pharrell Williams: 'Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.'"

And Robinson even thinks he has some actual data to back up his advice. "Despite Republican claims to the contrary, things are definitely looking up. Democrats ought to be clicking their heels and spreading the good news. ... Friday's announcement that unemployment fell to 6.3 percent was huge. The fact that the economy added 288,000 jobs in April -- despite continued bad weather early in the month in parts of the country -- suggests that the recovery has greater momentum than pessimists had feared. Economists were expecting decent numbers. These are great."

Except the numbers are not great. Yes, employers did report adding 288,000 jobs in April. But the number of Americans who reported having jobs actually FELL by 73,000.

How can the unemployment rate fall by .4 points if fewer Americans have jobs? Because the number of Americans in the labor force fell by 806,000. When your labor pool is shedding almost a million workers a month, that is not a strong economy.

Robinson also conveniently forgets that earlier in the week, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy grew just .1 percent in the first quarter. If anything the Obama economy appears to be stalling out, like it has many times before, not gaining steam.

And most Americans know this. That is why every poll published this year shows the vast majority of Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction.

However, looking at the most recent Pew poll, it is easy to see why Robinson is so clueless about the actual economic condition of the country.

According to Pew, 57 percent those with a college degree rate their own financial situation as "excellent" or "good." Things are even better among those who make more than $75,000 a year, 65 percent of whom say their financial situation is excellent/good.

But among those with less than a college degree, only 29 percent say their financial situation is excellent/good, while 70 percent say their financial situation is fair/poor.

Ideology also seems to be playing a role. Among liberal Democrats like Robinson, 51 percent are in excellent/good financial shape. But among moderate Democrats, 69 percent rate their financial situation as fair/poor.

So by all means Mr. Robinson, if you and your rich liberal friends are happy, sing away. Just don't be surprised when the vast majority of unhappy Americans vote the Democrats out of office this November.