Thursday, September 13, 2012

Obama's Recovery Is Worse Than Bush's Recession

Income inequality grows under Obama. The rich get richer, the middle class gets poorer. Not even the New York Times is willing to cover it up anymore.
Income for the top fifth of American households rose by 1.6 percent last year, driven by even larger increases for the top 5 percent of households, said David Johnson, the Census Bureau official who presented the findings. All households in the middle of the scale saw declines, while those at the very bottom stagnated. 

“You’re really struck by the unevenness of the recovery,” said Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard. “The top end took a whack in the recession, but they’ve gotten back on their feet. Everyone else is still down for the count.” 

The numbers helped drive an overall decline in income for the typical American family. Median household income after inflation fell to $50,054, a level that was 8 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the recession took hold. 

That drop poses a political challenge for President Obama as he presents himself as a champion of the middle class and defends his economic stewardship in a tightly fought presidential race. The Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is likely to seize on the decline as evidence of the president’s failure to fix an ailing economy. Mr. Obama, for his part, has emphasized the potentially damaging effects of Republican policies on the middle class. 

Obama administration officials said Wednesday that more recent data on job growth, unemployment and wages indicated that median income, adjusted for inflation, was growing this year. They pointed to the rise in income inequality as proof that their policy priorities are even more urgent. Rebecca M. Blank, the acting United States commerce secretary, said in a statement that the rise “underscores the fact we must enact policies that help rebuild our economy not from the top down, but from the middle out.” 

It is an argument that conservatives, who contend that income inequality is not inherently harmful, largely reject. 

“Over the long run, the disappearing middle class has moved up, not down,” said Douglas J. Besharov, a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland. “Too much redistribution will kill the goose that laid the golden egg.”

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