Issues

Bono: ‘The American Taxpayer Is Really Hurting at the Moment’

U2 frontman Bono had a dire assessment of the American economy during an appearance on Morning Joe Tuesday, saying "the American taxpayer is really hurting at the moment."

Bono is co-founder of the ONE campaign, an anti-poverty organization, and he has done recent work on the refugee crisis affecting Europe and the Middle East. He appeared on MSNBC to preview his testimony before a Senate subcommittee on violent extremism and the role of foreign assistance, The Hill reports. He will "discuss the connection between immediate humanitarian response and long-term development efforts."

Host Joe Scarborough said the refugee crisis hitting Europe was unparalleled since World War II. The U.S. responded to post-war economic strife in Europe with billions in aid through the Marshall Plan, Scarborough noted, and Bono's testimony appeared to be calling for similar thinking now.

"Yeah, I'm a great fan of America, the America of big ideas," Bono said. "America itself is a big idea, and I think you are more American when you show that strength and smartness … The smart money is on doing something extraordinary now. I think business as usual, we know how that's going to work out, and it's not going to be good. We need some big thinking, and of course it's easy for me to say that.

"I know the American taxpayer is really hurting at the moment and the same in Europe, but I think between Europe and America there is a consensus building that, you know, the corruption that's killing as many kids as disease can be dealt with by structuring these concessional loans on the conditions that these countries that we give them to reform."

Bono's assessment appears to be correct. Economists estimate negligible growth at best in the first quarter of 2016, and it could even have been negative. Wages remain flat, and despite the constant words of positivity coming from the White House about private-sector job growth, Bloomberg reports, the economy is not as healthy as President Obama would have people think:

The backdrop is an economy showing signs that it’s hit a soft patch. Consumers, who’ve been keeping growth afloat, reined in spending at the start of 2016, with auto sales last month slumping to the lowest level in a year. Weakening demand abroad and a relatively strong dollar are causing the trade deficit to grow and companies have cut output to trim bloated inventories.