First, a couple of reports stating what should have been obvious for a while now to those who have been paying any attention at all:
From the NYTimes, For Many, a Boom That Wasn't.
The bigger problem is that the now-finished boom was, for most Americans, nothing of the sort. In 2000, at the end of the previous economic expansion, the median American family made about $61,000, according to the Census Bureau’s inflation-adjusted numbers. In 2007, in what looks to have been the final year of the most recent expansion, the median family, amazingly, seems to have made less — about $60,500.
This has never happened before, at least not for as long as the government has been keeping records. In every other expansion since World War II, the buying power of most American families grew while the economy did. You can think of this as the most basic test of an economy’s health: does it produce ever-rising living standards for its citizens?
A similar message from this article in CNN Money.
Unlike what happened during the economic boom of the 1990s, lower- and middle-class families did not share in the prosperity of recent years, the report found. In fact, the United States has had its longest jobless recovery and slowest rate of payroll growth during this decade........
........The income gap between the rich and the rest of the population is widening. In 22 states, the top fifth of families made more than seven times what the poorest fifth took home, according to the report. In the late 1980s, only one state - Louisiana - had such a spread. Meanwhile, in more than two-thirds of the country, the wealthiest saw their income grow more than twice as fast as the middle-class over the past two decades.
Apparently, gas prices could peak at around $4 per gallon this summer (I was way off....I guessed it will not stabilize till it hits $5). And I know, some people will come at me with "Well, in many other countries people pay upwards of $7 per gallon, you know...." True, but in all those countries, public transportation is a realistic and often efficient alternative. In most places in the USA, you don't have a choice but to drive.
If you're looking for a great collection of euphemisms for "You're fucked!", look no further than this article entitled "Fed members worried about deep recession"
Some beauties excerpted here:
....."prolonged and severe” economic downturn....
....."Signals from the economy continue to come in on the weak side"....and...
(my favorite from this article)....."evidence that an adverse feedback loop was under way"....
And, for what it is worth:
In the beginning of 2000, you needed 1.0131 US Dollar to buy one Euro; as of March 1, 2008, you need 1.5520 USD to buy one Euro.
In the beginning of 2000, you needed 1.4486 Canadian Dollars to buy one USD; as of March 1, 2008, you only need 1.0029 Canadian Dollars to buy one USD.
The British Pound is at a 26-year high compared to the USD; you can now get more than two USD for every pound sterling.
Good thing the fiscally responsible GOP has been in power for much of the recent times, huh? Can you imagine how bad it would be if the godless tax and spend liberals had control of economic policy-making? That is probably the reasoning by which fully half of the middle-class families referred to in the earlier links will vote republican come this fall.
And in closing, this Doonesbury, from a couple of days ago, is worth reading.....I'm kinda surprised Trudeau has not been shipped off to Gitmo or at least been subjected to another audit or something recently. Print this post