Thursday, September 10, 2009

Backing Up for 10 Years

In case you are an exception it is now confirmed that you are worse off today than you were 10 years ago. I surely know that is true for me as I see it in a shrunken 401K, depleted savings and a missing paycheck. It was just a few weeks ago when the White House released its horrible mid-season budget review that showed a huge and growing deficit and which prompted conservatives to proudly announce the death of Obama's presidency and foghorn the failure of his progressive agenda is. Now that the Census Bureau's annual report on income, poverty, and health insurance is out it might be fair that the progressive agenda just got a kick in the butt.

In the recession last year, the nation's poverty rate climbed to 13.2 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2007, according to an annual report released Thursday by the Census Bureau.

This was the first significant increase in poverty since 2004. It also portends larger increases this year, as unemployment numbers have risen far more than in 2008, economists said. According to the census data, 39.8 million residents lived below the poverty line in 2008.

The data shows 46.3 million Americans went without health insurance last year. Just as important, median family incomes fell to $50,300. David Leonhardt put this in context:

The typical American household made less money last year than the typical household made a full decade ago.

To me, that's the big news from the Census Bureau's annual report on income, poverty and health insurance, which was released this morning. Median household fell to $50,303 last year, from $52,163 in 2007. In 1998, median income was $51,295. All these numbers are adjusted for inflation.

In the four decades that the Census Bureau has been tracking household income, there has never before been a full decade in which median income failed to rise. (The previous record was seven years, ending in 1985.) Other Census data suggest that it also never happened between the late 1940s and the late 1960s. So it doesn't seem to have happened since at least the 1930s.

In short all these different measures of a sliding middle and lower class reinforces what everybody already knows...The the conservative stewardship of the economy and the reign of Bush the Second sucked.

Note also that this is the data on 2008 and while they are dog awful the numbers from 2009 are going to be even worse...more painful than even these. The current recession "officially" started in 2007 but the real economic collapse didn't really go off the cliff until late last year and while it may have reached bottom finally in the third quarter, unemployment is going to get worse and the consumer economic engine will have to follow along.

You don't even want to think about the same report next year.

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