Post Reports

‘A constant state of drowning’: 40% of Americans say they struggle to pay bills

Heather Long on the not-so-booming economy. Mike DeBonis explains the Democratic rifts in the House. And as far as Europe’s “flight shame” movement goes, Hannah Sampson says it has no chance in the United States.
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Post Reports is the premier daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Every weekday afternoon.

In this episode

A not-so-booming economy
The current economic expansion is the longest in American history. Stock market indexes like the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average are at record highs. But while headlines are declaring an upswing in the economy, about 40 percent of Americans say they still struggle to pay their bills. 

Economics correspondent Heather Long says that the expansion is getting weaker over time, and its benefits are unevenly distributed. In discussions with 30 Americans unable to pay all of their bills, Long says, “a clear pattern emerged: Most were able to eke by until they faced an unexpected crisis such as a job loss, cancer, car trouble or storm damage.” 

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A rift in the House 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is at odds with four Democratic women in the House, signaling a growing divide in the party. 

In a closed-door meeting, Pelosi said the public tensions jeopardize the majority rule in the House. And though she did not explicitly name her fellow members, Post congressional reporter Mike DeBonis says it’s clear her comments were directed toward a group known as “the Squad”: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.). 

“But the persistent singling out,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Post, “… it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful . . . the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”

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Eco-friendly travel 
A growing movement in Europe is urging travelers to consider their carbon footprint when they fly. It’s called “flygskam,” or “flight shame” says By The Way reporter Hannah Sampson. France, for example, plans to start an “eco-tax” on airline travel that would help fund eco-friendly transport. 

While “flight shame” is making its way through Europe, Sampson says, there is little chance that it will take hold in the United States, and offers tips for jetsetters who want to minimize their carbon footprint. 

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the premier daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Every weekday afternoon.