The White House is trumpeting recent economic gains, such as a low unemployment rate of 3.9 percent and a booming stock market, and attributing them to policies like the president’s recent tax cuts.
But the optimistic data might not be relevant to many Americans.
A study conducted by United Way based on data from 2016 found that 40 percent of American households are under financial duress—even people officially defined as living above the poverty line. That means that close to half of American families are having trouble covering basic expenses like rent, transportation or child care.
Since a mere 50 percent of Americans have anything invested in the stock market, it’s not clear that stock market gains will help Americans who are struggling.
And despite the good news regarding job growth, the United Way study points out that 66 percent of Americans earned less than $20 an hour. In many parts of the country that is not enough to cover basic expenses.
Appearing on MSNBC this morning, Wes Moore, chief executive officer of the anti-poverty group Robin Hood foundation, pointed out that even people working full-time have to rely on homeless shelters in some parts of the country.
Health care costs can be another stressful financial burden. Recent data suggest that Medicaid expansion, which the Trump administration has pledged to curtail, has helped families gain more affordable health care.