A new president won't be residing in the White House after this week's 2014 midterm elections; however, a slew of local and federal offices will be determined as Americans cast their ballots. Thirty-six U.S. Senate seats will be up for election, whereas all 435 members of the House of Representatives will be on the ballot. Even local government races affect politics on a local, regional, state and national level, as every elected official helps strengthen the policies and progress of the president and the party that holds the House or Senate.
Midterms are often plagued by low voter turnout, but many don't consider how the outcome of midterm elections will impact the efficiency of Washington and the direction their states and the country go in terms of foreign policy, taxes, federal spending and public works -- not to mention, the outcome of the next presidential race, indirectly.
To connect the voting booth to consumers' finances, Gerri Willis of Fox Business Network shared with GOBankingRates five ways the midterms will affect government spending and various financial aspects of Americans' lives. As the host of "The Willis Report," she leads an hour-long primetime show that connects political and financial news to viewers' wallets.
Five years after the end of the worst recession since World War II, voters are still worried about the economy. An aging recovery has yet to provide a substantial lift to American workers and next Tuesday we'll find out just how deep the frustration goes. Following is a list of the top financial issues for Americans on election day.
One in four working age Americans are not working. One in four. Although the jobless rate, at 5.9 percent for September, appears to have recovered pretty dramatically, the "real" unemployment rate, called U6 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is still stratospheric at 11.8 percent. Worse, the proportion of Americans participating in the labor force is at a 40-year low of 62.7 percent.
2. Stagnant wages
Americans haven't had a raise in nine years. Over the past five years, median wages have actually declined to $54,045 today from $56,696 in January 2009.
3. Necessities become unaffordable
According to USA TODAY, the list of items that middle class Americans can no longer afford is getting longer and becoming dominated by necessities. That list includes vacations, new cars, debt reduction, but also medical and dental care, retirement savings and even emergency savings.
4. Government ineptitude
The burden of taxation gets worse, but the promises of a more active government that solves problems for the middle class have yet to be realized. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to help young people get health care coverage and maintain it, but with premiums rising 78 percent over similar policies available last year before www.health care.gov was operational, it's just not affordable. Likewise, government-backed loans to underwrite college education have become a millstone for GenXers and even boomers who struggle to pay that debt off.
Interest rates might be low but a run-up in housing prices led by private investment has left first-time homebuyers largely on the sidelines. Increasingly, Americans, even ones with professional jobs, are describing themselves as lower-middle class. Slim opportunities and poor prospects are the defining characteristics of the current economy.
This article originally appeared on Go Banking Rates.
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