Right Of The Star

Monday, September 13, 2004

Economic Realities

Want to know the truth about the economy? Wonder why instead of discussing percentages like we always have in the past - such as unemployment rate, poverty rate, uninsured rate?

Well, that is because comparing apples to apples these rates are better or the same as they were in 1996 when praise was being heaped on Clinton for his handling of the economy!

Frontpage points this out in the War Blog Section:


The media crowed about what a great job Clinton was doing as he ran for reelection, just as they are bemoaning the horrible state of the economy now that Bush is running. Bob Rayner takes a comparitive look at 1996 and our most recent numbers:
  • Unemployment rate is at 5.4% -- the same as it was in 1996.
  • Typical worker's hourly wage, adjusted for inflation, is worth 9 percent more than it was eight years ago.
  • Americans living in poverty was 12.5% in 2003, compared to 13.7% in 1996. That percentage should decrease this year, thanks to the 1.44 million jobs created since Jan. 1.
  • Children living in poverty was 17.6% in 2003, compared to 20.5% in 1996.
  • Americans lacking health insurance was15.6% in 2003 and in 1996. The difference is that number should decrease with the growing number of jobs in 2004.
  • Median household income (i.e., the middle of the middle class) was 4.5% higher in 2003 than it was in 1996, after adjusting for rising prices. 2004 should be even better due to growing employment and the expanding economy.
  • Home ownership was 65% in 1996, compared to 69% today.
  • Stock prices, as measured by the Dow Jones industrial average, are about 80 percent higher than they were eight years ago, even though consumer price inflation has advanced less than 20 percent over that period.

Bob sums it up nicely:

Today, the percentage of Americans who are uninsured or unemployed is identical to 1996, even though we're less than three years removed from the end of the last recession and in'96 we were better than five years into an economic recovery.

Compared with 1996, more Americans own homes now, their paychecks have greater buying power, and fewer live in poverty. Middle-class income is higher, the stock market is up, and interest rates are lower


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