Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Red Queen Race

From CNN Money on some new Census data with some minimal commentary interspersed....

Household income crept higher and the poverty rate edged lower last year, the government said Tuesday,[GOOD!] while the number of Americans without health insurance rose by 2.2 million to 47 million people.[BAD:(]....

Median household income rose 0.7 percent to $48,200, adjusted for inflation, the Census Bureau reported. But more people had to be at work in each household to get there.

That's because median earnings for individuals working full-time year-round actually fell for the third consecutive year. [BAD! VERY BAD] For men, earnings slipped 1.1 percent to a median of $42,300, while for women, earnings sank 1.2 percent to a median of $32,500.

I am late getting to the food fight over the Census reporting on median income over five compared to the 2000/2001 peak, but this is basically why I believe most people are not too happy or optimistic about the US economy. Productivity is going up, official unemployment stats are at a pretty good level, and there are absolutley no gains from these two things that should be pressuring wages upward to distribute to the vast majority of the population.

People are working either longer and/or more effeciently, and they are getting paid less. At the same time, the rewards are concentrating ever more narrowly at the top of the income ladder. Something just is not right with the structure of the US economy.

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