How ya doin'?
by Virginia Rutter, PhD
Framingham State College
In his closing remarks during the final presidential debate of 1980, Ronald Reagan famously asked the American people: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"
The CEPR report reprises the question for us today. And, besides having higher blood pressure and a lot of irritatsia, CEPR tells us, on 23 out of 25 economic indicators, we are doing worse.
Among the indicators is employment for women—which is down. So is employment for men. But check this out:
Inflation rate—up from 3.3 to 5.4 percent.
Unemployment rate—up from 4.0 to 6.1 percent.
Uninsured—we got millions more now.
Poverty—we got millions more now.
Personal savings—that we've got a lot less of now.
Even the good news isn't really good news: Family income is better now than before, by a whopping 262 dollars after 8 years. That's not the irritating part. Here's the irritating part. Under Bush, our productivity is the other indicator that is up. Our productivity grew by 22 percent in the past 8 years. In 2000, our productivity was up just 16%. That's good! (Our "fundamentals"—the workers—per McCain.) So, we have become more productive! We're doing great! But wait, where are the profits? Where are all the advantages? Not with us. Check out "real wage growth": under real wage growth wages were up in 2000 8.2 percent. In 2008, wages were up 1.8 percent. Feh. Feh. Feh.
Do take a look at this report. It is carefully constructed (lots of great citations to the data at the end) and above any of the particulars, you get the point. How ya doin'? Not so great.