Robert Reich has an interesting post up on Political Wire today that should be required reading. He doesn't cite sources, which irritates me, but the gist of his statement is that despite the overall economic growth the Bush administration is touting this week, median household income has in fact dropped by a thousand dollars over the last five years. Median household income is a more telling statistic than the overall size of the economy, since, as Reich points out, this economy's growth has remained concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of people, almost entirely those at the top of the food chain. That the rest of us weren't really seeing any income growth doesn't surprise me, but that the median household income has actually dropped is news to me and something the Bush administration would be keen not to let out.
Since Reich didn't bother to tell us where he got his numbers, I looked online for something, and found this article by EPI, which indicates that between 2000 and 2004, median household income of non-elderly households actually dropped by over $2,500. That's damned ugly I don't mind saying. The article also shows that real incomes have dropped for every income group except those in the top 5%; this reflects what Reich wrote in his article.
These are very unpleasant numbers. The Democrats would do well to make them public, but I caution that they would do much better--anyone would do better--to come up with a way to turn the situation around. Anybody can sit here and complain about this, as I'm demonstrating right now. I would suggest, though, that the people who would take power in Congress after this election should start now by offering a real solution to income stagnation.
I'm offering fair odds on whether that will actually happen or not; five to one nobody says an intelligent word about it all campaign season.