Saturday, May 26, 2007

Trickling Only Upward

If you're in your 30's, your Dad was better off in his day than you are now:

A generation ago, American men in their thirties had median annual incomes of about $40,000 compared with men of the same age who now make about $35,000 a year, adjusted for inflation. That’s a 12.5 percent drop between 1974 and 2004, according to the report from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project.


U.S. inflation-adjusted household incomes rose only 9 percent from 1974 to 2004 — a severe slowdown when compared with the 32 percent increase from 1964 to 1994.

Going back to 1820, per capita gross domestic product in the United States has grown an average of 52 percent for each 30-year generation, according to the report. But since 1973, median family income has grown only 0.6 percent per year, a rate that produces just a 17 percent increase over a generation.

"Thus, unless the rate of economic growth increases, the next generation will experience an improvement in its standard of living that is only one-third as large as the historical average for earlier generations," the report said.

Of course, not everybody is sucking wind:

The men who run American companies don’t have too much to complain about. CEO pay increased to 262 times the average worker’s pay in 2005 from 35 times in 1978, according to the report’s analysis of Congressional Budget Office statistics.

I don't think the Repubs and corporate whore Dems in the DLC understand just how much anger and fear there is out there on the economic issues.

People are working longer to make less, it takes two incomes to do what one used to, Americans are carrying historical levels of debt, the top 1% gets richer and richer while everybody else is lagging behind (or accumulating more debt to live like the Jones).

The boys running the WSJ editorial page may be happy with the way things are going as are Larry Kudlow and the investor class.

But a lot of other people are very, very unhappy about the direction of the country and it's not just the war causing this.

When 72% say they are unhappy with the direction of the country in the latest NY Times/CBS News poll, you know there's some deep-seated unrest out there about a lot of things.

This seems to be the story across the 'wealthy' nations. Big Picture politics ignores the growing fears at its peril.
Despite rosy economic pronouncements Howard is still struggling to win the people.
You've been hitting on this for as long as I've been reading you, cartledge, so you've been out ahead of this. The problem as I see it is this - the political elite and the media elite are all part of the same clique and they reinforce each other's views. They all think things are going swimmingly (and of course they are...for them), so therefore things must be great for everybody. I remember hearing befuddled reporters trying to explain Bush's bad economic poll numbers the past few years while the Dow was soaring. They couldn't get it through their thick skulls that for most people, how the Dow is doing is meaningless. Most people make most of their money from work, not investments. Add in job insecurity, globalism, disappearing pensions, higher gas prices, higher food prices, higher housing costs, higher college costs, and you've got some good reasons for people to be a little concerned about the future.
Well, when I was a kid, the daddies went to work and the mommies stayed home for the most part. Over my lifetime, I've watched that option become less and less viable.

Now I'm not saying that both parents shouldn't work if they want to, just that it would be better if they didn't do so out of necessity.
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