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Boom times! crowed George W as he hailed the latest economic report from the Census Bureau. “More of our citizen are doing better in this economy, with continued rising incomes,” he exulted.
But Bush – never an in-depth kind of guy – apparently didn’t probe beneath the happy-face surface numbers of the Census report. Those show that the median household income rose 0.7 percent last year. Before you order a new Maserati, however, you might want to peek at some sober realities beneath Bush’s boom-time fantasies. First, a 0.7 percent income rise for mid-level American families means they’re barely one step ahead of hard-charging inflation. Second, “median income” means that half of Americans are doing worse than that.
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Third, while Bush pats himself on the back, note that last year’s median household income still was $1,000 less than the year before George took office. Not progress. Fourth, the modest rise in household incomes was not because of people getting bigger paychecks, but because more of the family members had to get jobs to help make ends meet. The median incomes of working-age households (those younger than 65) were two percent lower last year than when the Bushites took power.
Here’s the statistics that Bush & Company really don’t want you to see: the only households whose incomes have actually increased while Bush has been in office are those in the wealthiest five percent of families – and especially those fortunate few in the wealthiest one-tenth of one percent.
Meanwhile, the numbers of people without health-care coverage rose by more than two million last year. Now, 47 million Americans are without coverage, including nearly 9 million children. Yet, Bush is opposing an expansion of health coverage for children.
Rather than hailing the new data, an honest president would hang his head in shame.
“A Sobering Census Report,” The New York Times, August 29, 2007
“Census Presents A Mixed View Of the Economy,” The New York Times, August 29, 2007
“Poverty rate falls for the first time this decade,” Austin American Statesman, August 29, 2007