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Politics Podcast: Why Inflation Is Sparking Economic Pessimism

Americans aren’t happy with the economy and it’s perhaps no wonder why when you look at the latest inflation numbers out this week. Prices have risen 8.5 percent since last March, and wages haven’t kept pace, rising 6 percent in the past year. Economists are debating whether there are silver linings in March’s inflation numbers, but regardless 8.5 percent inflation is the highest rate in four decades.

Americans have taken note. According to Gallup, 17 percent of Americans say the high cost of living is the most important issue facing the country – the most since 1985. In the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers, more households reported they expected worsening finances over the coming year than at any point in the history of the survey, which began in the 1940s. And only 30-35 percent of Americans approve of President Biden’s handling of the economy.

In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Galen Druke speaks with George Washington University economist Tara Sinclair about the Americans’ pessimistic assessment of the economy.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast is recorded Mondays and Thursdays. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

Galen Druke is FiveThirtyEight’s podcast producer and reporter.