The next time you look around and wonder why your wages seem so stuck, consider this from White House economic adviser Alan Krueger’s talk about income inequality yesterday:
“If in the first decade of the 2000s the income of the median household had grown at the same rate as it did in the 1990s, middle class households would have an extra $8,900 a year to spend on their mortgages, rent, cars, food, and clothing, or to add to their savings.”
We’re living in an era when wages have tended to fall. Even if the growth of the Clinton years had slowed by half, we’d still be missing an average of $4,000 or so a year. That’s your student loan getting paid off more slowly. That’s summer camp for your kids. That’s a vacation. That’s a renovation. That’s real money that real Americans really don’t have. Incomes for Americans in the top 1 percent, meanwhile, have been growing merrily.
Talking Points Memo, which made this chart and more from the Krueger talk, warns against speaking of this matter in anything but quiet rooms. Otherwise, Mitt Romney might think you’re jealous.