Fretting Over Inflation, Distrusting CEOs, Etc.

Ben Bernanke isn’t the only one worried about rising prices. In a Rasmussen Reports poll, 36 percent of adults said they’re “very worried” about inflation during the next year or so, with another 36 percent “somewhat worried.” You might think the worriers would support the Federal Reserve’s decisions to raise interest rates as a way of tamping down inflation. But that’s not the way lots of people see the matter. Instead, 47 percent said they think higher interest rates will make inflation worse. Investors were more likely than non-investors to reject this unconventional view. “Higher-income Americans are also more likely to believe that higher interest rates help control inflation. Lower-income Americans overwhelmingly disagree.” One wonders if this correlates with a propensity for carrying unpaid balances on credit cards, which are sensitive to rises in interest rates.

If you owned a steakhouse, you’d want to think twice before giving your advertising account to Colle+McVoy. The Minneapolis-based agency might extol the specialty of the house by comparing it to a motorcycle boot. However, the reverse comparison serves well in the ad here for Red Wing motorcycle boots. All that’s missing is a tie-in with A1 Sauce.

Here’s unflattering news for CEOs: A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll asked adults who they’d “trust more to tell the truth”—a CEO of a U.S. corporation or a member of the U.S. Congress. Numerous surveys have established that Americans regard members of Congress as the dregs of humanity, so the mere fact that a pollster saw fit to ask this question speaks ill of CEOs. Worse still is that respondents were more likely to attribute truthfulness to congressmen (as 25 percent did) than to CEOs (17 percent, with 2 percent saying “both” and 50 percent “neither”).

Talk of the great red state/blue state cultural divide has drawn fresh attention to the importance of religion in American life. Even so, significant elements of religious practice fly under the media radar. One such is the “house church” phenomenon. While the majority of practicing Christians go to a conventional church, a survey by The Barna Group finds increasing numbers getting their weekly religion in someone’s home. Nine percent of those polled said they attend a house church during a typical week, up from 1 percent a decade ago. One in five said they attend a house church at least once a month. (The figures don’t include gatherings that are associated with a conventional church.) “Among those who attend a church of some type, 74 percent attend only a conventional church while just 5 percent attend only a house church.” About one-fifth attend both sorts.

Which is true: (a) A majority of Americans say their take-home pay has stayed the same or fallen during the past year, or (b) a majority of Americans say their take-home pay has stayed the same or increased during the past year. In fact, both are true, though Gallup, whose poll came up with the findings, chose to spotlight the former in its write-up of the data. That emphasis was perfectly reasonable, as it contrasted with the poll’s finding that respondents have also seen the prices rise for many necessities. Still, one is reminded that the same data can be presented in diametrically opposed ways. In the poll, 38 percent of respondents said their take-home pay had increased, 40 percent said it had stayed the same and 22 percent said it had decreased. So, one could fairly declare that 78 percent of Americans said their pay stayed the same or increased—or that 62 percent said their pay stayed the same or decreased. Or one might stress that nearly twice as many said their pay increased as said it decreased. There was less ambiguity when respondents were asked about the amount of money they are able to put into savings each month. Just 19 percent said it increased during the past year, while 46 percent said it decreased and 35 percent said it stayed the same.