Everyday Americans Now Earning Less Than a Decade Ago

NDN has long pointed out that median household income dropped by roughly a thousand dollars during the Bush era, creating a middle class that was weakened even prior to the great recession. Now, Census Bureau data tells us that household income has again dropped, meaning that everyday Americans have taken a loss over the last decade. From the New York Times:

In another sign of both the recession and the long-term stagnation of middle-class wages, median family incomes in 2008 fell to $50,300, compared with $52,200 the year before. This wiped out the income gains of the previous three years, the report said.

Adjusted for inflation, in fact, median family incomes were lower in 2008 than a decade earlier.

"This is the largest decline in the first year of a recession we've seen since the Census Bureau started collecting data after World War II," said Lawrence Katz, an economist at Harvard University, referring to household incomes. "We've seen a lost decade for the typical American family."

Coupled with rising costs, specifically in health care (I'm sure you've heard about this recently), energy, and pensions, dropping incomes mean that the economic wellbeing of everyday Americans is significantly worse than a decade ago. Add in all the wealth destroyed by the systemic financial meltdown and the collapse of the housing market, and we're talking about an economically crippled American middle class.