Not Adding Up
One of the more disagreeable discrepancies of American life in the 21st century is the world according to Washington’s economic bureaus and the world as it actually is. In short, things don’t add up. What’s more, the propaganda is so far off the mark, it is downright insulting.
Coming down from the mountain with the latest data tablet… [PT]
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports an unemployment rate of just 3.7 percent. The BLS also reports price inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), of 1.8 percent. Yet big city streets are lined with tents and panhandlers grumble “that’s all” when you spare them a dollar.
In addition, good people of sound mind and honest intentions are racking up debt like never before. Mortgage debt recently topped $9.4 trillion. If you didn’t know, this eclipses the 2008 high of $9.3 trillion that was notched at the precise moment the credit market melted down.
Total American household debt, which includes mortgages and student loans, is about $14 trillion – roughly $1 trillion higher than in 2008. Credit card debt, which is over $1 trillion, is also above the 2008 peak. To be clear, these debt levels are not signs of economic strength; rather, they are signs of impending disaster. Moreover, they’re signs that American workers have been given a raw deal.
US CPI, “core” CPI and total consumer credit outstanding.
How is it that the economy has been growing for a full decade straight, but the average worker has seen no meaningful increase in his income? Have workers really been sprinting in place this entire time? How did they end up in this ridiculous situation?
US mortgage debt outstanding and real household wages (real hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory employees) [PT]
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