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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Economic News...5 straight years... 

Hmmm, median income is down for the fifth straight year. Wonder what that correlates with?

Check out the bleak (at least for the average--median--American, that is) economic data at:

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2006/09/02/another_year_another_wage_loss/

The Census Bureau reported that median incomes for working-age families were down again, for the fifth straight year [Every year since the coup d'etat]. Real median income for households under age 65 is down by 5.4 percent since 2000, even though the economy has grown every year. All of that gain has gone to upper-bracket people and corporate profits.

The Pew Research Center released an extensive survey on public attitudes about the economy. Pew reported, ``The public thinks that workers were better off a generation ago on every key dimension of worker life -- be it wages, benefits, retirement plans, on-the-job stress, the loyalty they are shown by employers." And, statistically, the public is right.

The Globe recently reported that chief executives of nonprofit hospitals now routinely make more than $1 million. University presidents are not far behind.

The Economic Policy Institute has released its annual, encyclopedic report, ``The State of Working America." Among its findings: The economy's productivity increased by a remarkable 33.5 percent between 1995 and 2005, but real wages have declined since 2000. Employer-provided health coverage declined from 69 percent in 1979 to 56 percent in 2004. The top 1 percent's share of interest, dividends, and capital gains has risen from 37.8 percent in 1979 to 57.5 percent in 2003.

You read this right--the top 1% is making over half of the extra income...why aren't folks revolting in the streets? Not sure, but we do know the folks are REVOLTING in power.

Politically, it's evident what is occurring. Those in a position to capture astronomical incomes are awarding themselves an ever-larger share of the national economic pie. Meanwhile, ordinary incomes, job security, health security, and retirement security are eroding.

The political mystery is why everyone else is not kicking up a fuss. After all, as the Pew report suggests, it's not as if people are unaware of what's happening. Here's a clue to some of the puzzle: Polls show that people do want more reliable wages, pensions, and health insurance. But too many people have given up on the idea that the political process can be used to restore the American dream.

If the political process cannot restore the American dream, then what will? It's starting to look more like pitchforks and ropes.

-Vulf

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