Similar Pictures (OR Visual Confirmation of Suckiness)

October 22, 2008

As I indicated in my last post, there seems to be a whole bunch of stuff going on. I’m just too busy to actually relay or think about much of it…  Instead, I’ll give you some graphs to admire.

Why these graphs? Well, I think most of them convey facts and tidbits worth knowing…  and because I was struck by how similar they look.

Lacking a thread to tie them together, I’ll go In chronological order:

First, Matt references a graph from Kevin Drum, and then goes on to make a point that I made to Dave last week: “Wages for average people are, on some level, the real fundamentals of the economy. And simply put, they haven’t been growing.” This is something I’ve written about before. Anyway, here’s a picture:

Matt follows that up with an eerily similar graph from Hilzoy:

Does it strike anyone as odd that both graphs have the same general shape, and cover the same general timeframe? No, I didn’t figure it would…

Then, from the Wonk Room at ThinkProgress, comes this comparative graph:

So, the light blue line is analogous to the time frame in the first two graphs. Not only did the median wage decrease in that time (which is, oddly enough, coincident with Bush Administration), but there was also a lower percentage of the working age population with jobs. Take a glance at the first graph again. GDP growth is through the roof, but not only was the median worker not seeing any of it, there were fewer workers as a percentage of population.

Now, someone tell me why Sen. McCain (and his apparently blindly loyal followers) think “spreading the weath” is a bad thing? We’ve seen 8 years of not spreading the wealth, and if these graphs are to be believed, just about all of us are getting screwed.

Strong? Part 2 (OR More Data)

September 15, 2008

From the Wall Street Journal:

Workers with professional degrees, such as doctors and lawyers, were the only educational group to see their inflation-adjusted earnings increase over the most recent economic expansion, adding to the concern that the economy has benefited higher-earning Americans at the expense of others.

Given this, the Republicans are berating Democrats in Congress for not wanting to “give Americans access to American oil,” presumably to ease their financial burdens. A burden which happens to be more severe because they’re making, effectively, less money than they were before President Bush was elected. And, how much diffence will this make?

The idiocy of this is nicely summarized by Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI): (via digby)

WHITEHOUSE: Gentlemen, we’re in the middle of a near total mortgage system meltdown in this country. We have a health care system that burns 16 percent of our GDP, in which the Medicare liability alone has been estimated at $34 trillion. We’re burning $10 billion a month in Iraq.

This administration has run up $7.7 trillion in national debt, by our calculation. And there is worsening evidence every day of global warming, with worsening environmental and national security and economic ramifications. In light of those conditions, do any of you seriously contend that drilling for more oil is the number one issue facing the American people today?

(Long silent pause during which nobody answers.)

WHITEHOUSE: No, it doesn’t seem so

Bad News (OR Sure to be lost in the shuffle)

August 26, 2008

A couple reports have come out in the last couple days that summarize what President Bush has wrought during his administration.

The kind folks at ThinkProgress’ Wonk Room are kind enough to summarize for us:

First, executive pay vs. worker pay:

In fact, “the more that corporations shell out for executive pay, the more they pocket in profit at the expense of average taxpayers.”

There are a couple disturbing charts, too. Go take a look.

Next, income inequality under President Bush:

Taking the new census numbers into account, most Americans lost money during the Bush expansion:

    Median household incomes down: 0.6% lower in 2007 than in 2000

    Men’s earnings down: 0.38% less in 2007 than in 1999- Women’s earnings can’t keep up: continued upward swing but were unable to “overcome other drags on household income”

    More Americans in poverty: 5.7 million more people lived in poverty in 2007 than did in 2000

The Center for Policy and Budget Priorities notes, “never before on record has poverty been higher and median income for working-age households lower at the end of a multi-year economic expansion than at the beginning. The new data add to the mounting evidence that the gains from the 2001-2007 expansion were concentrated among high-income Americans.”

This is also accompanied by some disturbing graphs.

Robert Reich summarizes thusly:

Compared to median income in 2000 — which, like 2007, was the final year of a cycle of economic growth — it’s now clear that this is the first time Americans have become poorer, in real terms, at the end of an expansion than they were at the start.

This will, no doubt, be lost amidst the convention madness of the next couple weeks but it should provide plenty of ammo for Democrats in the next few months.

Conservative Failure (OR Is it just Bush?)

May 29, 2008

Via Andrew Sullivan comes this disturbing story, by Paul Beston, claiming that, despite the current administration’s failures, conservatism is alive and kicking. (Fortunately, there are some who disagree.)

Beston notices that Sen. Obama has tried to distance himself from the “liberal” label:

“A lot of these old labels don’t apply anymore,” Obama told the New York Times recently, referring to political terms like “conservative” and “liberal.”

(As an aside, as a liberal, I’m amused by this because Sen. Obama is somewhat too centrist for my taste).

He then claims that this can’t be because of a Republican smear campaign because liberalism “defamed” itself:

Americans learned over several decades what liberalism, at least modern liberalism, was all about. Contrary to some claims that conservatives, in a sinister plot, defamed the word, liberalism did a pretty good job defaming itself: from the anything-goes ethos of the 1960s to radical war protestors, from tax-and-spend government and welfare policies to lax criminal justice, pacifism abroad, and a wide-ranging contempt for the institutions and values of American life, liberals took what had been the dominant political current in American politics and made it into a pejorative term.

Now, I wasn’t around in the 60s or 70s…  and I didn’t pay attention to politics in the 80s, but this seems grossly misleading. Is protesting a war that we now measure our mistakes against “radical”? Isn’t “tax-and-spend” one of those defamatory phrases that was attached to “liberal” to disparage it? Is “lax criminal justice” when were weren’t imprisoning 10% of our population utilizing racist minimum sentencing laws? And I don’t even know what “wide-ranging contempt for the institutions and values of American life” means…

So, really…  was it so bad?

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