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President Carter: Americans’ Prospects Today “Not as Good” As Thirty Years Ago

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President Carter said in an interview from a Habitat for Humanity construction site on Monday that Americans' prospects for the future are not as rosy as they were thirty years ago.  He pointed to increasing income disparity--which he noted is two times as great as it was during his administration--and a lack of affordable housing as two of the reasons Americans felt less assured about the future.

Respondents in a recentWashington Post/Miller Center poll echo President Carter's concerns on income disparity and a lack of affordable housing.  Fifty four percent of respondents said it was more difficult to find affordable housing than a few years ago, and 76% placed "some" or "a lot" of blame on the gap in pay between business executives and ordinary workers for making it harder to find a good paying job. 

Those polled expressed similar uncertainty about the future.  Only forty-five percent believe they will move up in social class in the next few years. Twenty-three percent believe they will stay the same and 26% predict that they will take a step backwards. 

Watch a clip of President Carter's famous "malaise" speech, where he warns Americans against an "erosion of confidence [that] is threatening to destroy the the social and political fabric of America."


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