There's a Catch: Jobs:More here (the economy), and here (on jobs).
In the real world, which is the world of families trying to pay their mortgages and get their children off to college, the economy remains troubled. While the analysts and commentators of the comfortable class are assuring us that the president's tax cuts and the billions being spent on Iraq have been good for the gross domestic product, the workaday folks are locked in a less sanguine reality.
It's a reality in which:
The administration can spin its "recovery" any way it wants. But working families can't pay their bills with data about the gross domestic product. They need the income from steady employment. And when it comes to employment, the Bush administration has compiled the worst record since the Great Depression.
- The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by three million in the past two years.
- The median household income has fallen for the past two years.
- The number of dual-income families, particularly those with children under 18, has declined sharply.
Jared Bernstein, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, has taken a look at the hours being worked by families, rather than individuals. It's a calculation that gets to the heart of a family's standard of living.
The declines he found were "of a magnitude that's historically been commensurate with double-digit unemployment rates," he said. It was not just that there were fewer family members working. The ones who were employed were working fewer hours.
Meanwhile, these are some of the things working (and jobless) Americans continue to face:
- Sharply increasing local taxes, including property taxes.
- Steep annual increases in health care costs.
- Soaring tuition costs at public and private universities.