The US economy is flexing less muscle than expected, scoring below average on a new well-being index. This index, a brainchild of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, aims to measure the nation’s pulse beyond traditional economic indicators.
It’s a dashboard of 11 gauges, including health, wage growth, education, and civic participation, all the way down to the county level.
In 2021, the nation’s well-being scored a less-than-stellar 4.91 out of 10. This reflects a lack of economic opportunities and household financial resilience.
The index, which uses data from 2005 to 2021, doesn’t capture the recent surge in consumer prices or the impact of the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hikes to fight inflation. However, it does shed light on the growing disconnect between how Americans feel about the economy and indicators like the gross domestic product that show strong growth.
Katherine Cramer, co-chair of the academy’s Commission on Reimagining our Economy, said, “People see the economy as a burden. They don’t see it as a system that works for them, they see it as a set of challenges.”
The commission, co-chaired by former Columbia School of Journalism dean Nicholas Lemann and former CEO of Young & Rubicam, Ann Fudge, offered recommendations to address economic inequality. These include extending housing and education benefits to Black World War II veterans and their descendants, who were denied these under the 1944 GI Bill.
They also proposed letting states, tribes, or municipalities sponsor immigrants via community partnership visas to help ease labor shortages.
The report, titled “Advancing a People-First Economy,” highlights that immigrants contribute significantly to the economy, spending an estimated $1.3 trillion annually and contributing $492 billion in local, state, and federal taxes.
“US Economy Fails to Impress in New Well-Being Index”
The US economy is not making the grade, according to a new index from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. This fresh approach to measuring national well-being goes beyond traditional economic indicators, focusing on the real-life experiences of households. The US scored a lackluster 4.91 out of 10 in 2021, reflecting a lack of economic business opportunities and financial resilience among households.
The index, which uses data from 2005 to 2021, doesn’t account for the recent inflation surge or the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes. However, it does highlight the growing disconnect between Americans’ negative feelings about the economy and indicators like GDP that suggest strong growth.
“People see the economy as a burden,” said Katherine Cramer, co-chair of the academy’s Commission on Reimagining our Economy. “They don’t see it as a system that works for them, they see it as a set of challenges.”
The commission’s report offers recommendations to address economic inequality, including extending housing and education benefits to Black WWII veterans and their descendants, and allowing states, tribes, or municipalities to sponsor immigrants via community partnership visas.
The report, titled “Advancing a People-First Economy,” emphasizes the significant economic contributions of immigrants, who spend an estimated $1.3 trillion annually and contribute $492 billion in taxes.
This new index offers a sobering look at the state of the US economy, reminding us that GDP growth doesn’t always translate to improved well-being for everyday Americans.