Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Recovery? Who? Where?

The economic recovery and the onset of good times reported on the financial pages have passed much of America by in the night. Median income for those under 65 fell, the poverty rate rose, and more people by number and percent are without health insurance today than at the beginning of this "recovery" in 2001. These are the findings of a white paper released Friday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
  • Median income for those under 65 fell again in 2005 and is now $2,000 lower in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars than in 2001. That's a 3.7 percent cut.

  • The poverty rate is higher today (12.6 percent) than in 2001 (11.7 percent).

  • Health Insurance coverage is lower. The number and percentage of people without health insurance was much higher at the start of 2006 than in 2001.
These findings corroborate the feelings of a good majority of Americans. The economy they see is not doing as well as the economy the Bush machine describes in its well-orchestrated media pushes. Even the official unemployment rate is suspect, as we posted (see unemployment with a stable participation rate post).

So who is recovering?

A second CBPP white paper released Thursday has a positive ID on that.
  • In the first half of 2006 the piece of the pie going to corporate profits was bigger than at any time since 1950, having grown under Bush at twice the average rate of other recoveries.

  • The share going to wages and salaries was at its lowest level on record (77 years).

  • Hourly private nonsupervisory wage earners (four out of five of us) made less now than when the "recovery" began in 2001 in real (inflation-adjusted) terms. This came in spite of productivity numbers growing faster than in all but one of the previous recoveries. This blows up the official line that productivity gets translated directly into wage gains.
This is not really a recovery. It is an accounting gimmick, as we borrow growth from the future via massive federal deficits (see the "Net GDP" post ) and enormous and growing private debt (see borrowing chart post).

The economy is not stronger, but much weaker.

Prediction Tuesday says any more of this kind of "recovery" and we'll all be dead. For our scare story on what happens if we borrow too much see scare story post. And for our early warning about when a recovery is not a recovery, see "A Jobless Recovery is not a Recovery," Parts 1, 2, and 3.

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