America's Core Problem
A Post With No News But Lots of Stuff You Didn't Know
How many years will it take us to get back to the median wage of 2000? Many.
Sometimes I like to do posts that have nothing to do with the news but just share information and facts that people talking about politics and policy ought to know but probably don't. So let's talk about median household income.
What is it, or was it in 2010? Anybody have a guess? It was $49,445. (Here's a historical list.) That is lower than it was 10 years before by around $4,000; largely unchanged from 20 years before, at just $1,100 more; and heck, not all that different from 40 years before, when it was around $43,400 (these are inflation-adjusted dollars).
Broken down by president, Clinton oversaw the biggest gain ($6,745). Then Reagan ($4,340). After that it's pretty bleak:
Nixon, plus $541
Carter, plus $135
Ford, minus $448
Bush Jr., minus $1,066
Obama, minus $1,154
Bush Sr., minus $2,430
It pains me to put Obama down there below the man who actually wrecked the economy he had to inherit, but there you are. I do have little doubt, though, that if he is reelected, he'll at least work his way into the plus column, unless the congressional Republicans force a new recession on us just to make Obama look bad, which one would be naive to put past them.
This is the American problem in a nutshell. The wage picture is even a little bleaker--wages are stagnant since the early 1970s (wages and income, of course, aren't quite the same thing). Then you match these numbers against the wealth accumulated by those at the top and you have a society where things have gone very wrong indeed.
And it's remarkable how much ground was lost under Dubya. Both Bushes, as the above number shows, but Dubya even more so because he governed over America's lost decade. How long is it going to take us to get back to 2000's median of $53,164? I fear it'll be years. He and his crew really did wreck this country in a remarkable range of ways.