Terrific post for the economically innocent such as myself over at The Moderate Voice blog today. It's a simple report on economic tendencies with two remarkable items. The first is the less politically charged one, which is the unravelling of the so-called "Great Compression". This Great Compression is when America transformed through WWII from a land of haves and havenots into a land of the middle class, the world which most of us grew up in. Since the mid to late 80s, about the time I was in high school, wealth has divided again. It's hard to know exactly why this has happened, but I would hazard that it's part of the change in economic focus from manufacturing to service more than anything else. It is also the dismantling of many LBJ social programs, but I don't know if that's important or not.
The more politically controversial fact is that the recent Bush administration has the dubious distinction of being the only two-term President to preside over a decline in income since WWII as well. And, and this is the important part, it is not because of the recession that started in 2007. Even when the economy was growing overall from 2000 to 2007, the average income was falling. The bottom just fell out even more then.
What to do about it is of course a very good question, and I cannot answer it. But it's the right question to be asking.