The unemployment rate in 1998 was only slightly lower than the unemployment rate today. But for working Americans, everything else was different. Wages were rising, yet inflation was low, so the purchasing power of workers’ take-home pay was steadily improving. So, too, were job benefits, including the availability of health insurance. And homeownership was rising steadily.
It was, in other words, a time when Americans felt they were sharing in the country’s prosperity.
Today, by contrast, wage gains for most workers are being swallowed by inflation. In fact, the reality for lower- and middle-income workers may be worse than the official statistics say, because the prices of necessities like food, transportation and medical care are rising considerably faster than the Consumer Price Index as a whole. One striking statistic: the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner was 11 percent higher this year than last year.
Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans receiving health insurance from their employers, which began to decline in 2001, is continuing its downward trend. And homeownership, after rising for several years on a tide of subprime mortgages — well, you know how that’s going.
Not that the brainwashed Bushies will listen...
Basically, this guy can't make his house payments, and the bank forecloses on the house. But the IRS comes and charges the now ex-homeowner a huge bill because supposedly the debt that was wiped out was a gift.
With Nevada now leading the nation in percentage of home foreclosures, I'm waiting for more of this type of thing to pop up.
The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity %u2014 the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation%u2019s living standards %u2014 has risen steadily over the same period.