Monday, August 28, 2006

Strong Economy

Howie tells me we have a strong economy. He heard it on O'Reilly's show or something. Limbaugh. Hannity. Somewhere. Anyway, that's what he tells me.

"Look at the stock market," he says. "Look at corporate profits." "Economic growth," he says, without defining what that means. "And your next comment will be," he said to me last September, "where are the new jobs? Well, History has shown that the jobs often come within 6 months of the turnaround."

Well I won't point out that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly a quarter of a million more unemployed in July than in June, and 7,591,000 unemployed in 2005 (way over the Clinton years, when unemployment continually decreased).

What I will point out is this from the NY Times:

With the economy beginning to slow, the current expansion has a chance to become the first sustained period of economic growth since World War II that fails to offer a prolonged increase in real wages for most workers.

...The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity — the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation’s living standards — has risen steadily over the same period.

...As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as “the golden era of profitability.”

...At the very top of the income spectrum, many workers have continued to receive raises that outpace inflation, and the gains have been large enough to keep average income and consumer spending rising.

This is not a strong, healthy economy.

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