‘I feel used and betrayed’: readers affected by the recession on who they’ll vote for

Eight years after the economic collapse, are Americans better off? As the election nears, readers share their experiences and how it will affect their vote

Eight years ago, the US economy went to hell. Lehman Brothers bank collapsed, the first of many. As a financial crisis swept the globe, unemployment soared, house prices and stock markets collapsed. Today, stock markets are at record highs, house prices have bounced back, the unemployment rate is 5%, half its peak during the recession. And yet …

Earlier this month we told the stories of five people who lived through the recession, many of whom said the recovery feels hollow. Below readers who responded to the story share their experiences and how it will impact their vote.

Craig from Jacksonville, Florida

Are you better off today than you were in 2008? I am about the same. In 2008 I was just two years out from finishing my undergraduate degree. I had the option to graduate early but when things began to turn dark, every intelligent person I knew told me to hold off. I remained in school for another year thinking I could wait it out. Boy, was I wrong. I ended up going to graduate school hoping to wait out the storm again. Turns out, that didnt help much either. After graduating as a highly skilled student, finding full-time employment was about as easy as finding affordable living in Manhattan.

Since then, I worked just about everywhere. I have done consultant research, bussed tables, worked in an emergency room and even spent a year working at a Florida beach bar all while applying for applicable jobs in my field that came with benefits. I finally have a job, but the amount of debt I have acquired and the amount of job insecurity I still feel has me on edge about as bad as 2008.

Who will you vote for? I am absolutely terrified of what is to come November 8. I am still a Florida registered voter so maybe my vote counts (if it does not end up on a beach somewhere). I plan to close my eyes and vote for Clinton. My biggest fear is that an economic bubble worse than 2008 is coming and that I will go back to bussing tables and serving drinks again.

Lori from Denver, Colorado

Are you better off today than you were in 2008? I am better off than I was in 2008. In 2008, I just started working after an awful divorce. My ex-husband was a homebuilder and laid off in the crash and there went my maintenance and child support. Today, Im an executive assistant for a CEO. Im better off because my first job after being a stay-at-home mom for 13 years paid $50,000 and I was thrilled. In 2016, Im now at $75,000 so Ive taken some job risks but its paid off.

But everything else my cost of living seems to have absolutely skyrocketed. I literally live paycheck to paycheck. I have two kids in college and I pay their auto, health insurance and cellphones. Its crazy and Im a tad frightened for the world theyll enter soon. Not sure theyll ever be able to buy a home, at least here in Colorado.

Who will you be voting for? I literally despise the Clintons so I cant vote for HRC. I always wanted to vote for the first woman, too. Theyre too sleazy for me. Trump scares the shit out of me. I was leaning toward him in the beginning because I do think a business person might bring a fresh perspective but, Jesus, not now.

I think Ill write in Bernies name. I dont know what else to do.

A supporter of Bernie Sanders carries a placard during a rally outside the Democratic national convention in July. Photograph: Dominick Reuter/Reuters

Kurt Johnson from Woodstock, Georgia

Are you better off today than you were in 2008? I am better off than I was in 2008. The economy was in a total nosedive. Obama wasted no time approving large measures to stop the bleeding. I work in real estate investing. Real estate where I live has returned to 2007 prices and as a result, we have enjoyed a good ride of appreciation of homes we have bought over the last eight years.

Who will you be voting for? I cant vote for the current Republican candidate under any circumstances. He is not fit to be a CEO, much less a president. I would be fine with things staying as they are so Hillary doesnt concern me that much. The Senate and House will keep her from making any changes for better or worse so I can stomach another four years until a respectable Republican runs in 2020.

Willard from San Jose, California

Are you better off today than you were in 2008? I am better off than I was in 2008.
The economy is in far better condition. Housing has recovered.

Who will you be voting for? The economy will play a role with how Ill vote. Both parties make big promises which I dont expect to be fulfilled. But at least Trump does discuss trade, jobs and manufacturing. If Congress agreed with a fraction of his bluster it might improve the economy.
But Ill NOT be voting for HRC because she is corrosive, divisive and corrupt to the core. On account of her, and with the current administrations help our trust in the Department of Justice has been destroyed.
Ill be voting Trump.

Donald Trump in Greensboro, North Carolina, last week. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Eric from Framingham, Massachusetts

Are you better off today than you were in 2008? I am worse off than I was in 2008. I have not had a steady income since I left teaching in 2012. I lost my home to Wells Fargo and now live with a friend. I dont have health insurance.

I have a masters degree in education, a BA, speak three languages, and I am a veteran with combat experience, yet dont have a full-time job or meaningful part-time work. I dont make more than $15,000 a year. Its unlikely that at 53 I will ever work full-time again. So what, another 20-plus years of this meaningless existence?
When people do that horrible thank you for your service [thing], I want to scream and tell them that serving my country as a soldier and my community as a teacher were the worst mistakes of my life. I should have gone into business, gone for my self and not the greater good, and been selfish and greedy instead.
Left behind, no. Forgotten.

Who will you be voting for? Not voting, dont care.

Leslie from Wilmington, North Carolina

Are you better off today than you were in 2008? I am worse off than I was in 2008.

Why? I had to close the company. I went from earning $70,000 a year to now working two jobs, one full time for $37,000 a year and one part time (evenings and weekends) to bring my salary to $41,000. My health insurance costs have skyrocketed. Food is more expensive. I have a home that I cannot sell as I am still underwater. I had to use all my savings to help pay for my daughters education so she is not lumbered with loans when she graduates.

Who will you be voting for? I hate them both. I do feel that if Clinton is elected it will be the same, no change in the housing market, no change in income, no change in healthcare costs just more of the same. It is appalling and tragic that we have two awful people to choose from. It just shows the level of corruption and dysfunction in this country.

Jacob Lutz from Portland, Oregon

Are you better off today than you were in 2008? I am about the same.

Why? In 2008, I was a student and a cashier at Kmart. I was transitioning from foster care to adulthood while balancing a part-time job with my first and last attempt at higher education. I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of college and surviving on $6.75 an hour but managed to survive thanks to my home states support system for foster children and lack of financial burden.

Today, I am a motorcycle technician and make around $30,000 a year and owe $20,000 in student loans. I also pay $200 a month for health insurance and bills on top of barely supporting myself. The stress is still the same but Ive gotten better at handling it. Lowering my hopes and expectations significantly has helped too.

Who will you be voting for? I had more faith in Bernie than Hillary regarding the economy but since hes not an option, Im with her. I still believe Hillary knows how to listen to what people are wanting and has the clout in Washington to get more done.

Hillary Clinton greets the crowd after speaking at a fundraiser in San Francisco earlier this month. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Peter Berry from Seattle, Washington

Are you better off today than you were in 2008? I am worse off than I was in 2008. I no longer have a good, well-paying job and benefits. I was forced by circumstances to use up a good portion of my retirement savings to relocate and survive. I also used a lot of my savings to pay off my sons college law school loans as he has been unable to find even an entry-level job in the law profession.

I had a successful, lifelong, professional career that disappeared overnight, and was unable to find comparable work because of my age and the terrible state of the economy.

I think my efforts to navigate my way through the economic downturn likely mirror those of so many others. It isnt just the loss of decent paying jobs that has been an issue. Its also the erosion of savings meant for retirement. Also the enormous debts that have been run up for financial bailouts and the cheap money used to inflate the stock market will have to be faced eventually.
I believe the entire political establishment has been complicit in what has happened. I worked on Obamas first election campaign and contributed quite a bit of my own money believing the hope and change message. I felt optimistic that it was a possibility. Now I just feel used and betrayed.

Who will you be voting for? I will be voting for Jill Stein because she represents the only real choice that exists. The Democrats and Republicans are the same in virtually every meaningful respect and do not represent the interests of the average person at all. The definition of a wasted vote is voting for either of them.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/22/guardian-readers-economy-recession-election


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