August 24, 2012

Incomes continue to decline as 'Lost Decade' looks more real

Median household incomes, when adjusted for inflation, have declined 5.2 percent during the past three years. That's worse than during the Great Recession itself.

It's more solid evidence that, like Japan, we may well be facing a "lost decade" of stagnation. With Obama's work to deal with the detritus of the housing bubble generally tepid, when not opposed by the GOP, this part of the economy is going to continue to struggle for some time.

Think about all that this involves. It includes carpenters, plumbers, electricians, cement companies, residential contractors, realtors and more.

I say halfway, but only halfway, in jest that maybe we need a national version of 1970s Cleveland, where officially "tolerated" arson fires in residential areas were seen as an "acceptable" way to open doors for gentrification and redevelopment.

More seriously yet, a "new CCC," besides repairing our national parks, could become a giant, oversized Habitat for Humanity-type organization, repairing a number of foreclosed-upon houses. Or heck, maybe we can get Jimmy Carter to get Habitat for Humanity directly involved.

And you over-65 tea partiers? Get on your knees and thank FDR for Social Security. By age group, you're the only demographic not to have your income decline.

Meanwhile, this has arguably been a "recovery of the rich." Why? In part, Ben Bernanke's quantitative easing. Once the GOP reads this story, it may stop opposing him, and instead begging for Round 3.

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