Monday, May 08, 2006

The "Great" Economy? The American People Don't Think So

The "good" economic news that Republicans are hoping will rescue their sorry, lying, Bush-loving, con artist asses is an illusion. Most Americans aren't buying it--and with good reason. They aren't experiencing it. Some key quotes:
Americans are more than twice as likely to give pollsters a negative assessment of the economy as a positive one — 64% disapprove of Bush's handling of the economy. It's strange. The macroeconomic numbers are decidedly robust, but the public remains determinedly glum. If you dig a bit deeper than the base growth statistics, though, the picture clarifies considerably. Our economy has grown so starkly unequal that the statistician's view now says surprisingly little about the average American's experience. Last quarter may have seen 4.8% growth, but hidden in those numbers was a depressing factoid: Wages had only grown 0.7% — slower than housing, health or gasoline costs. That's been the story of the last few years, a rising tide that lifts only yachts. (Emphasis added)
From 1990 to 1991, 13% of households saw their income decline by $20,000 or more in real terms. In 2003-04, it was 16.6%. And the difference didn't come in steep falls for the rich; rather, the top income quintile saw a reduction in negative income mobility. As for good ol' upward mobility, the median household was no more likely to move up the economic ladder during the 2003-04 expansion than it was during the 1990-91 recession. Think about that for a second — the average household's income was just as likely to increase during the last severe recession as the latest expansion. For most, the good times now are little better than the bad.
Meanwhile, health costs have increased almost 75% since 2000. And, according to a just-released study by the Commonwealth Fund, lack of insurance has become a decidedly working-class problem, with nearly 70% of the 49 million uninsured hailing from a family with at least one full-time worker.
Right wing hate radio and the Ministry of Propaganda, aka The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, keep trying to shove the lie of the "great Bush economy" down our throats. But most people are getting the short end of the stick, and they're calling the Republican happy talk exactly what it is: bullshit.

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