The economy is great…

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…unless, you know, you’re not in the top 10% of income earners.

Republicans have been harping about the Dow, and how the economy is chugging along and everything is great. It speaks of that great disconnect, where our leaders likely have no idea about the price of a gallon of milk.

Of course, I’ve blogged about income inequality here before, but Kevin had this great chart and article (originally from McClatchy) showing why most Americans aren’t happy with the economy’s performance:

Middle-Class Squeeze

The U.S. economy is indeed strong. Although growth is slowing, it’s essentially been steady since mid-2001. September’s unemployment rate was a low 4.6 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached record highs last week.

But through September, the growth in hourly wages was flat or negative for 27 of the previous 29 months, according to Labor Department data. Wages for blue-collar and nonmanagerial workers – 80 percent of the work force – are growing at a 3.9 percent annual rate, the Labor Department reported in September.


Workers are barely keeping up. Health care, wages and energy prices are consumers’ top three economic concerns, according to a Gallup poll in September.

“That has to do with things like stagnant wages, fears of jobs being outsourced, income security. These are on people’s minds, particularly in lower- and middle-income areas,” said Dennis Jacobe, chief economist in Charlotte, N.C., for Gallup.

“I think it’s quite clear to people that their paychecks are being squeezed when they try to meet their family budgets,” said Jared Bernstein, the chief economist for the liberal Economic Policy Institute in Washington. “There’s a disconnect between overall economic performance and paychecks of working families.”

And there you have it. If the stock market keeps rising, and the economy is doing so well, why aren’t working families seeing the benefits? Where is all that money going?

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