Not everyone in US is enjoying post-recession prosperity

In very general terms, most would agree that our economy is generating jobs and improving the lives of Americans, from sea to shining sea. And why not? A lowering unemployment rate and peppy stock market together would seem to suggest that.

The truth, however, is much more complicated if the results of a new survey from the nonprofit research organization Urban Institute are to be believed.

According to a review released this week based on a survey of almost 7,600 adults, some four American families in 10 experienced problems meeting basic needs in the past 12 months.

An Associated Press story on the matter identified food, health care, housing or utilities among the areas where bills were either not paid or not paid on time.

The AP story quoted the survey’s authors, who ruefully observed: “Economic growth and low unemployment alone do not ensure everyone can meet their basic needs.”

Food insecurity — a bureaucratic term for not having enough to eat — was the most common challenge: More than 23 percent of households struggled to feed their family at some point during the year. That was followed by problems paying a family medical bill, reported by about 18 percent. A similar percentage didn’t seek care for a medical need because of the cost, the AP reported.

Additionally, about 13 percent of families missed a utility bill payment at some point during the year. And 10 percent of families either didn’t pay the full amount of their rent or mortgage, or they paid it late.

While the easy political play here is to blame the current administration or ruling party, the hard truth is presidents and Congresses from both sides of the aisle have dirty hands in this — going back decades. The problem isn’t new.

The answer as it always is, is leadership and compromise, a willingness to rise above the malignant partisanship that is wrecking the country, inch by inch.

We can’t help but wonder what it’s going to take to get lawmakers’ attention.