Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Prarie Weather directs us to Doug Henwood channeled through the Gadflyer:

Prairie Weather: The hitch is, we're not all in this together : Intelligent commentary on the "booming" economy from Jonathan Weiler and Doug Henwood about...

...Why the current "boom" feels so un-boomy. First, as Henwood has noted previously, this recovery is the second weakest since World War II. In other words, even just considering GDP growth, the current rates are comparatively quite unimpressive. Second, Henwood points out that median household income fell every year between 1999 and 2004.

Henwood writes, "this is the first time since the census bureau began publishing figures for household income in 1967 that there have been five negative signs in a row." (there were four in a row each in the early 80s and early 90s). Third, income inequality in the United States in 2004, as measured by GINI coefficients, was higher in 2004 than it had been at anytime since the early 1940s.

Many people like to think of inequality as left-wing harping when leftists can't think of anything else to complain about. But, inequality is directly germane to Joshua's article: if the economic gains of a particular period are significantly skewed to benefit a relative few (i.e - there's growing inequality) - why is it a mystery why most people don't feel that they've benefitted from the supposed boom?

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