American Middle Class Income Becomes Decoupled From Economic Growth

Mark Thoma of Economist’s View (h/t David Dayen of FDL), citing Lane Kenworthy, remarks on the rapidly increasing decoupling of middle-class income growth from economic growth. The charts, particularly the one provided by Thoma, show that income growth tracked economic growth in America, from about 1947 until… please note… approximately 1980, when Saint Ronald was inaugurated. From that point forward, middle-income individuals have not partaken of the nation’s economic growth as they did previously, almost no matter what measure of income you use… e.g., median family income or average household income.

Many of us can look at our own earnings for those periods and see the difference. Until about 1980, my financial condition improved slowly but steadily. Starting in 1980, my income leveled off, and of course eventually my assets, already flat for 1980-1990, began to decline in about 2000.

I believe this is not the consequence of the operation of any sort of grand natural law of economics: it is the result of conscious decisions by people in power to make the rich richer at the expense of everyone else. And they have succeeded more than most of us ever expected.

Welcome to the era of Republican and New-Democratic economics. Enjoy your increasingly cramped lifestyle. Please keep the line moving; the powers-that-be have a lot of people to screw…

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