Americans Are Poorer… But Otherwise The Economy Is Doing Great!

It’s a shame – at least for those getting poorer. For those getting richer – it only makes sense.

Here are some changes over a one-year period only (2003-2004) just published by the U.S. Census Bureau:

    “Real median earnings of men age 15 and older who worked full-time, year-round declined 2.3 percent between 2003 and 2004, to $40,798. Women with similar work experience saw their earnings decline by 1.0 percent, to $31,223.”

“There were 37.0 million people in poverty (12.7 percent) in 2004, up from 35.9 million (12.5 percent) in 2003.”That makes 1.1 million more people in poverty.

    “There were 7.9 million families in poverty in 2004, up from 7.6 million in 2003.”

That makes 300,000 more families in poverty.

Update (August 31, 2005):

From today’s article in New York Times…

    “‘It looks like the gains from the recovery haven’t really filtered down,’ said Phillip L. Swagel, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group in Washington. ‘The gains have gone to owners of capital and not to workers.'”

And also…

    “Since 1967, incomes have failed to rise for four straight years on two other occasions: starting in the late 1970’s and in the early 1990’s. The Census Bureau does not report household income for years before 1967, but other data show that incomes were generally rising in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.”

So, we have a total of three documented periods of such “stabilization” of incomes – one under peace maker Jimmy Carter and two under the House of Bush Warrior Clan.

Update (September 1, 2005):

From today’s editorial in New York Times…

    “And additional census data obtained by the Economic Policy Institute show that only the top 5 percent of households experienced real income gains in 2004. Incomes for the other 95 percent of households were flat or falling.
Income inequality is an economic and social ill, but the administration and the Congressional majority don’t seem to recognize that. When Congress returns from its monthlong summer vacation next week, two of the leadership’s top priorities include renewing the push to repeal the estate tax, which affects only the wealthiest of families, and extending the tax cuts for investment income, which flow largely to the richest Americans. At the other end of the spectrum, lawmakers have stubbornly refused to raise the minimum wage: $5.15 an hour since 1997. They will also be taking up proposals for deep budget cuts in programs that ameliorate income inequality, like Medicaid, food stamps and federal student loans.

They should be ashamed of themselves.”I wonder… in what country do the editors of New York Times live. Don’t they know that America is all about “winners and losers”, “competition, competition, competition…”, “it’s a jungle out there”, and “the winner takes all”. And finally, since “God is in control”, obviously “winners” have “Him” on their side – try argue this point with an American.

And a bit more from today’s Reuter’s story about Katrina:

    “With household debt now up 60 percent in just five years, rising short-term interest rates will already be crimping wallets. Consumer mortgage interest payments alone were up 14 percent in the last year…
Consumer spending on gas, fuel oil and natural gas accounts for just 2.4 percent of the income of the richest fifth of households but 11.2 percent of the poorest fifth, said David Kelly, Senior Economic Advisor at Putnam Investments. ‘Sadly, it is the poorest Americans in the regions and areas that have seen the weakest recovery from the recession of 2001 who are being hurt most by higher oil prices,’ he said.”