Businesses are eagerly looking forward to second-quarter earnings, due out later this month. An analysis of Wall Street forecasts by Brown Brothers Harriman indicates that combined earnings will push the S&P 500 index up 13.6 percent over a year ago. All the while top executives at 200 big U.S. companies have seen their pay checks increase by 23 percent over what they were in 2009.
On the other hand, nearly every non-Dow related measure shows the nation is still in horrible shape two years after the official end of the recession. Since 2009, the following measures have seen either the worst or nearly the worst numbers since the government started tracking them following World War II:
- Employment growth
- Economic output
- Income growth
- Home prices
- Consumer expectations for financial well-being
The only discordant note the government has played on this tune is the inability to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, which is being held up over cuts in services for Main Street.
The only thing which may change this is if voter discontent grows so much that the pols have to take note. So far there is little sign of that. Where Europeans have taken to the street in protest over these issues, Americans have done little beyond a spasm of anger during the last elections. That brought in even more big business appeasers, and people from Florida to Wisconsin are now filled with some serious voters' regret.