Skip to main content

Today in inequality reading: Americans are getting poorer

WASHINGTON — In a grim sign of the enduring nature of the economic slump, household income declined more in the two years after the recession ended than it did during the recession itself, new research has found.

Between June 2009, when the recession officially ended, and June 2011, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 6.7 percent, to $49,909, according to a study by two former Census Bureau officials. During the recession — from December 2007 to June 2009 — household income fell 3.2 percent.

The finding helps explain why Americans’ attitudes toward the economy, the country’s direction and its political leaders have continued to sour even as the economy has been growing. Unhappiness and anger have come to dominate the political scene, including the early stages of the 2012 presidential campaign.

It's this kind of dynamic that helps create the "Occupy Wall Street" movement.


namefromthepast said…
What is of immeasurably more consequence is the continued erosion of the value of that income.

The dollar index fell from an 92 to around a 75 vs basket due to our inability to deal with our debt, QE, among other things.

This is a 23% decline in indexed purchasing power over article's referenced timeframe. BTW-gold a longstanding inflationery hedge and dollar value hedge increased by 40% over this timeframe.

When(if)the economy recovers the amount of wealth stolen by government for their big business allies from savings accounts, pensions, social security, etc, will become clear.

Therefore the occupy wall street simpletons are encouraged by the liberal left-wing because it deflects attention from a complex issue inherent in the good cop/bad cop ploy used by the big gov't/big biz alliance.

Referencing the amount of dollars to reflect "richer or poorer" appears to be a complete waste of energy until you realize the NYT's purpose isn't to inform but rather to incite.
Notorious Ph.D. said…
This may be the first time I find myself in at least partial agreement with namefromthepast: even if numerical incomes increase or remain stable, it's important to keep an eye on the value of that income, in relation to the price of housing, groceries, higher education, etc. Some of that is due to international financial markets and nervousness about mounting U.S. debts and ability to pay said debts, others with increasing cost of goods and services in general (something that, in and of itself, is quite complex).

Where I disagree is in the critique of the Occupy movement. I think there are a lot of things to critique here, certainly. But "they're not addressing the real complexity" is not one of them. Can you imagine how big that sign would have to be? Or, to put it less frivolously: the movement is trying to address the most obvious signs of simple-cause malfeasance. More strictly regulating the financial behavior of large corporations is going for low-hanging fruit, and it makes sense to go for that first, because it's easiest to remedy. The underlying systemic problems also need to be addressed, but short of tearing the whole system down and starting over again, there's no way to do it all at once.
namefromthepast said…
My contention is that large corporations want to be more strictly regulated and there are more than enough liberals and some Republicans eager to please.

When a business becomes so enormous it also becomes a huge and easy target for smaller more agile companies to come in and chip away at market share.

Smaller companies in most areas are more efficient and responsive to consumer needs and big business is well aware of it.

With too many fronts to defend in a truly market driven environment big business can call on government to impose strict, costly regulations to restrict a small startup company from entering the market.

In terms of regulating financial institutions the most fair penalty for any business is one of natural consequences.

When taxpayers regulate then bailout businesses for engaging in bad business it just encourages more bad business more bailouts and more misdirected anger and frustration which leads to more regulation.

Popular posts from this blog


I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…