By Shaun Moore

Despite the fact that President Bush can’t seem to run away from the war in Iraq, in recent weeks he’s tried to divert the media’s attention to the economy. Well, that might not be a good idea either.

This morning, the Commerce Department issued a report stating the economy grew more slowly in the third quarter than at any other time since 2003. This came on the heels of a new housing report issued yesterday, citing that, nationwide, home values dropped 9.7%. The silver-lining to this decline is that new buyers are emerging from all of this. But will they continue to look if the value of the homes they’re selling continues to decline.

During his touting of economic success, Bush and other GOP leaders have repeatedly pointed to the impressive run the stock market has been on recently. Unfortunately, this holds little merit with everyday working Americans. These are people that have two and three children. These are people that sometimes work two jobs to pay for rising health care costs and rising tuition for their children.

To the average American, the single greatest way to measure economic security is to look at the value of their home. Is it going up? And how much? In the pecking order of what determines financial security, most middle class Americans have Wall Street near the bottom.

Aside from home value, what affects most Americans directly is the cost of health care, the cost of gasoline, the cost of education, and where their wages sit in relation to these expenses. The price of health care continues to increase. The price of gas, although down recently, has breached the $3 a gallon mark in the past year, and student loan interest rates have nearly tripled in the last two years.

Meanwhile, Americans are seeing stagnant growth in median income across the nation and a widening gap between corporate earnings and employee salaries that hasn’t been seen since 1947.

These are the issues that affect the majority of American pocketbooks, not the bloated numbers on Wall Street “fueled” by outrageous profits by oil companies.

Shaun Moore blogs at The Daily Spectator.

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