Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Lost Decade

The past decade was a complete bust economically.
For most of the past 70 years, the U.S. economy has grown at a steady clip, generating perpetually higher incomes and wealth for American households. But since 2000, the story is starkly different.

The past decade has been the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to rethink the underpinnings of the nation's growth.

It has been, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. A decade that began in a moment of triumphalism - there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past - has included two of them, bookends for a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable.

There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well.

Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 - and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The decade was the first of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.

And people are seriously considering putting Republicans back in office? What is wrong in America is the corrosive effect of corporate money in the political system. The people have become secondary to the companies that fund the elections. how can they get away with this? The American people are not curious enough to investigate the causes of their decades long slide. Until the average American understands the political system and does even the simplest of research, we will be ruled by the 15 second soundbite and the false news stories of Fox News.

We can not hope for a resurgence of the middle class until we band together and fight for what is right. Unfortunately by the time they wake up it may be too late. We will be nothing more than a former empire drowning in debt and headed for irrelevancy.