During the first two years of the nation’s economic recovery, the mean net worth of households in the upper 7% of the wealth distribution rose by an estimated 28%, while the mean net worth of households in the lower 93% dropped by 4%, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released Census Bureau data.Our uneven Recovery
From 2009 to 2011, the mean wealth of the 8 million households in the more affluent group rose to an estimated $3,173,895 from an estimated $2,476,244, while the mean wealth of the 111 million households in the less affluent group fell to an estimated $133,817 from an estimated $139,896.
These wide variances were driven by the fact that the stock and bond market rallied during the 2009 to 2011 period while the housing market remained flat.
Affluent households typically have their assets concentrated in stocks and other financial holdings, while less affluent households typically have their wealth more heavily concentrated in the value of their home.
From the end of the recession in 2009 through 2011 (the last year for which Census Bureau wealth data are available), the 8 million households in the U.S. with a net worth above $836,033 saw their aggregate wealth rise by an estimated $5.6 trillion, while the 111 million households with a net worth at or below that level saw their aggregate wealth decline by an estimated $0.6 trillion.1
These findings are part of a broader examination of whether and how the structure of television news content—on cable, on broadcast network newscasts and on local television—has changed in the past few years. Pew Research studied the first five months of 2007 and 2012 for network and cable news, including both morning and evening network news and a mixture of midday and prime-time programming on cable. For local television, the comparative years are 2005 and 2012, for six stations in 2005 and eight in 2012.
Among the key findings:
Interview segments are now as prominent in daytime cable as they are in prime time. Coverage of live events and live reports dropped in daytime programming by about one-third—from 33% of the newshole in 2007 to 23% in 2012. And the airtime devoted to interviews rose from 39% to 51%, equaling the percentage of airtime they fill on cable at night, when partisan talk and debate drive the programming.
In 2007, CNN spent far less time airing interviews and far more time running edited packages than either Fox or MSNBC on prime time. But that had changed markedly by 2012. The percentage of CNN evening programming filled with interviews jumped from 30% in 2007 to 57% in 2012. At the same time, the airtime for edited packages plunged from 50% to 24%
A separate analysis of cable in late 2012 finds that, over all, commentary and opinion are far more prevalent on the air throughout the day (63% of the airtime) than straight news reporting (37%). CNN is the only channel to offer more reporting (54%) than opinion (46%), though by a small margin. By far the highest percentage of opinion and commentary is on MSNBC (85% to 15% reporting). Fox was in between at 55% commentary and 45% reporting.
The average story length on local television news decreased substantially over time. In a separate Pew Research Center analysis of local news content from 1998 to 2002, some 31% of the stories were more than a minute long and 42% were under 30 seconds. In 2012, only 20% of the local television stories exceeded a minute while 50% lasted less than 30 seconds.
The already considerable amount of time devoted to sports, weather and traffic on local newscasts rose even higher among the stations studied, from 32% 2005 to 40% in 2012. The biggest increase came in the airtime devoted to sports, to 12% from 7%. The traffic and weather components of the newscast increased by a smaller percentage (to 29% from 25%), but four in ten of the newscasts examined here led with a weather story.
One measure of the unchanging nature of the broadcast network news format, particularly in the evening, is the story length. The average evening news story package lasted 141 seconds in 2007 and 142 seconds in 2012. The average interview was nearly identical as well: 110 seconds in 2007 and 108 in 2012. And the time allotted to the average stand-up report decreased only slightly, from 91 seconds to 88 seconds, in that five-year interval.
About six-in-ten (62%) of Americans regard the Republicans as out of touch with the American people while 46% have that opinion of the Democrats.
But Republicans are more critical of their party than Democrats are of theirs on most issues, according to a survey conducted in February.
For example, 36% of Republicans say the GOP is out of touch with the American people. Just 23% of Democrats say their party is out of touch. And while 30% of Republicans say their party is not open to change, just 10% of Democrats make the same criticism of their party.
A majority of independents think both parties are out of touch. About two-thirds (65%) of independents regard the Republicans as out of touch with the public; 51% say that of the Democrats.
I will grant you that the results of this latest poll from the folks at the Pew Research Center ought to be scarifying to the Republicans in Congress.
Now just 22% of Americans, nearly a record low, consider themselves Republicans.
Read more: Pew Poll Republican Party - Pew Is Not Just The Name On A Poll - Esquire: esquire.com
* (For 27% Crazyfication Factor info, please see kfmonkey.blogspot.com )
Seriously, all humor aside, that’s pretty bizarre. Have we passed peak wingnut or just peak GOP wingnut?
One out of every 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic, according to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. If lapsed Catholics were a separate denomination, they would be the third-largest religious subgroup in the country.
That’s a lot of people.
But faith is a fraught and deeply personal thing for so many of us, and religious experience can’t always be neatly captured with labels or quantified through survey data.
So when Salon asked our lapsed Catholic readers if Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation might signal a new direction for the church — and what that might mean for their beliefs — the responses we received expressed a thoughtful, sometimes painful, engagement with ideas of faith, family and community
More parents are providing significant financial support for their adult children even as they cope with the needs of their own aging parents, according to a new survey of the middle-aged “sandwich generation.”
The twin financial and emotional burdens on the one in seven Americans who are squeezed between their children and their parents have mounted since the recession, the Pew Research Center said in a report released Wednesday. In 2005, 20 percent of all middle-aged parents were the primary source of financial support for a grown child. Now, 27 percent of parents fit that description.
The increase is striking since the share of middle-aged adults with children and living parents has remained stable.
For at least three decades, sociologists have noticed a trend of more parents paying much of the freight until their children are well into their 20s, but the faltering economy has caused those numbers to spike.
THIS week millions of “Chreasters” — Americans who attend church only on Christmas and Easter — will crowd into pews to sing carols and renew their vague relationship with the Christian God. This year, there may be fewer Chreasters than ever. A growing number of “nones” live in our midst: those who say they have no religious affiliation at all. An October Pew Research Center poll revealed that they now account for 20 percent of the population, up from 16 percent in 2008.
Avoiding church does not excuse Americans from marking the birth of Jesus, however. Most of us have no choice but to stay home from work or school — and if you complain about this glaring exception to the separation between church and state, you must be a scrooge with no heart for tradition. Christmas has been a federal holiday for 142 years.
Yet Christianity’s preferential place in our culture and civil law came under fire this year, and not simply because more Americans reject institutional religion. The Obama administration subtly worked to expand the scope of protected civil rights to include access to legal marriage and birth control. Catholic bishops and evangelical activists declared that Washington was running roughshod over religious liberty and abandoning the country’s founding values, while their opponents accused them of imposing one set of religious prejudices on an increasingly pluralistic population. The Christian consensus that long governed our public square is disintegrating. American secularism is at a crossroads.
The narrative on the right is this: Once upon a time, Americans honored the Lord, and he commissioned their nation to welcome all faiths while commanding them to uphold Christian values. But in recent decades, the Supreme Court ruled against prayer in public schools, and legalized abortion, while politicians declared “war on Christmas” and kowtowed to the “homosexual lobby.” Conservative activists insist that they protest these developments not to defend special privileges for Christianity, but to respect the founders’ desire for universal religious liberty — rooted, they say, in the Christian tradition.
A LITTLE-NOTICED finding from the 2012 exit polls is the rank ingratitude of America’s haute bourgeoisie. Although President Barack Obama pledged to raise taxes exclusively on family income exceeding $250,000, he lost the voting bloc that had the most to gain financially from that unreasonably high threshold: households earning between $100,000 and $250,000. Obama calls these folks “middle class,” but they aren’t. They’re “hautes.” The poorest among them earn more money than about 80 percent of their fellow Americans, while the richest earn more than about 98 percent.
The hautes may not dazzle you, dear reader, with their richesse (The New Republic’s demographic skews high). But when the Pew Research Center recently asked how much income a family of four would need to be wealthy, fully 39 percent of respondents said the haute salary range would do very nicely. These are, for the most part, college-educated workers, some of them doctors, lawyers, and other professionals. Most are in a position to consider sending their kids to private school or purchase a modest vacation home. They feel broke all the time, because just about everyone in the United States does, and in big cities like New York or Los Angeles, you seldom find them in the fancier neighborhoods. No one would mistake hautes for Masters of the Universe. But defining them as “middle class” does violence to any geometrically plausible conception of “middle.” If taxes on the rich need to go up in 2013—and they do—the hautes’ taxes ought to rise, too.
If the American economy were an automobile, you would say the transmission is failing. The engine works, but not all wheels are getting power. To put the matter less metaphorically: The economy no longer reliably and consistently transmits productivity gains to workers. The result is that many millions of Americans, in particular less-skilled men, are leaving the workforce, a phenomenon the country has never seen before on the present scale.
Well. That was a mouthful. It certainly bites off more than Washington’s polarized politicians can handle at the moment. In the next few months, they need to worry about the so-called fiscal cliff, the round of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that, if not averted, might start a recession. Plus a politically vexing debt-limit bill, which will need to be passed early in 2013. Plus a recovery that, for many Americans, feels more like a recession. (The median family income fell as much during the first two years of the recovery as it did during the two years of the recession itself, according to the Pew Research Center.) Plus a debt crisis and downturn in Europe. Isn’t that enough?
Sadly, no. The U.S. economy has weakened, and much needs fixing—beyond the fiscal cliff—if it’s to regain its strength. A reelected President Obama and a still-divided Congress face a lengthy To Do list for the economy. We’ve chosen eight entries: innovation, jobs, rising health care costs, entitlement programs, college-completion rates, infrastructure, housing, and retirement security. None of them will be easy to fix.
But first, let’s consider a nexus of troubling economic trends that seem to be driving and deepening many of the specific problems—and may prove to be the most intractable problem of all. If economic strength means anything, it is that the economy can make almost everyone better off, thereby strengthening the country’s social fabric as well as its balance sheet. Such an economy unites rather than divides us.
Today’s economy, by that standard, is struggling. Its ability to deliver rising living standards across the income spectrum is in decline, and perhaps also in question. “This is a fundamental problem,” says Robert J. Shapiro, the chairman of Sonecom, an economic consultancy in Washington. “This is America’s largest economic challenge. People can no longer depend on rising wages and salaries when the economy expands.”
As international efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear development program continue, a growing share of Americans say they want firm action to end the threat of the Tehran regime building a nuclear bomb, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
Fifty-six percent of respondents said they favor Washington taking a “firm stand” with Iran, while 41% said it is “more important to avoid military conflict,” the poll found. The share saying they advocate firm action has increased from 50% since January.
The poll, taken of 1,511 adults October 4-7, didn’t define “firm stand.”
The Obama administration has argued that a combined effort of international economic sanctions and diplomacy can persuade Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions, and says time remains before policymakers need to decide whether to launch airstrikes and/or other military action against Iranian nuclear facilities.
Western nations believe that Iran is developing the capacity to build nuclear weapons; Iran says its nuclear program is meant for civilian purposes only.
The poll also found some disillusionment with the popular revolts that rocked much of the Middle East last year in the “Arab Spring,” and a growing desire for Washington to support stable Middle Eastern governments, even if they are undemocratic. The results also pointed to a desire for the United States to scale back involvement in the turbulent region.