Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Postcards from the Bush boom
Sorry, wingnuts, you may think the economy is going gangbusters, but you're alone in that belief. Most Americans feel that things are going downhill. Consumer confidence is way, way down in August. And with good reason. According to the latest Census data, between 2000 and 2005:

The number of uninsured Americans increased significantly, climbing to 46.6 million in 2005, up 6.8 million since 2000. Compared to 2000, median income is 2.7 percent lower in real terms, and 5.4 million more are living in poverty.

The small improvement in median income between 2004 and 2005 was insufficient to erase the over $1,800 loss in median income experienced from 2000-2004. Full-time, year round workers also lost ground with median income for men falling by $774 and for women falling by $427.

The Census report confirms that the recovery from the last recession has been weak, echoing other data showing slower than expected growth in employment, output and business investment.
There's more:
In 2005, 46.6 million people were without health insurance coverage, up from 45.3 million people in 2004.

– The percentage of people without health insurance coverage increased from 15.6 percent in 2004 to 15.9 percent in 2005.

– For full-time, year round workers, the median earnings of men declined 1.8 percent to $41,386, and the median earnings of women declined 1.3 percent to $31,858.

– In 2005, 37.0 million people were in poverty, not statistically different from 2004.
The statistics were particularly distressing for men, who lost earning power in 2005, while women managed to close the earnings gap somewhat, by not falling as far or as fast as the men.

MisBlog has charts like this one, which shows the number of people living in poverty in America today:


Monster of Love puts it in context:

According to just-released census data, corporate profits are at their highest level relative to GDP than at any time since the 60s!!!

As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as “the golden era of profitability.” (Link.)

A golden age indeed. And RedState and Powerline are so far, silent on these numbers, which is especially surprising for RedState, since they normally love to jump in topics disparaging of the Bush boom... Ah, never mind, my quest for a Bush hack has hit paydirt. Note to salty, productivity, corporate profits ... up ... poverty ...up ... real wages and incomes, including for white men... not so much. hackneyed talking points can't change that. More on the D-R parsing, from today's NYT:
The nation’s median household income rose slightly faster than inflation last year for the first time in six years, the Census Bureau reported yesterday.

The rise, however, had little to do with bigger paychecks — in fact, both men and women earned less in 2005 than 2004. Rather, census officials said, more family members were taking jobs to make ends meet, and some people made more money from investments and other sources beyond wages.

The glimmer of improvement came after years in which the economy slogged through the bursting of the 1990’s stock market boom, a brief economic downturn, the aftershocks from the 2001 terrorist attacks, a series of corporate scandals and growing evidence of a deepening divide between rich and poor.

While the economy has been strong by most statistical measures for the past several years, its benefits have not translated into improvements in the standard of living for many people. In New York, the proportion of city residents living below the poverty level has not changed in the last five years. (Related Article)

Nationally, the small uptick in median household income reported yesterday, 1.1 percent, was not enough to offset a longer-term drop in median household income — the annual income at which half of the country’s households make more and half make less.

That figure fell 5.9 percent between the 2000 census and 2005, to $46,242 from $49,133, according to an analysis of the data conducted for The New York Times by the sociology department of Queens College. The difference was so sharp, in part, because the 2000 census measured 1999 income, which was at the height of the dot-com bubble.

Still, census officials were upbeat at a news conference while announcing the new data, also pointing out that the number and percentage of those living below the poverty line held steady in 2005 after four consecutive annual increases.

Brookings' Ron Haskins was on the radio show this morning, and he has what will be a familiar take on this whole poverty thing: two ways to combat it are meaningful work and marriage. Unfortunately, the former is particularly undervalued in America today.

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posted by JReid @ 7:53 AM  
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