Indicators like high oil prices and the slumping stock market have voters concerned.
rich clabaugh - staff
Washington; and battle creek, mich.
Within the space of a few weeks, economic worries have displaced the Iraq war as the top political issue in the United States, upending the carefully laid plans of presidential candidates and causing Congress and the White House to consider emergency measures intended to prevent – or moderate – a looming recession.
In one sense the rise of pocketbook issues reflects a glimmer of good news. Reduced violence in Baghdad has made Iraq seem a less pressing concern to many US voters.
But the apparent military success of increased US troop levels is only part of the story. Worrisome economic indicators, from spiking oil prices to the sinking stock market, are causing many American workers to fear for their prospects – reinforcing the political truism that in everything but boom times the economy trumps all.
The US as a whole may yet escape a recession. But important individual states – some with upcoming primaries – may already be mired in a slump.
"California, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin: they're in recession. [And] they account for 25 to 30 percent of the nation's GDP," said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Economy.com, at a Brookings Institution seminar last week.
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