Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Income Fell For Most Americans In First Five Years Under Bush

From the New York Times courtesy of AlterNet:

Americans earned a smaller average income in 2005 than in 2000, the fifth consecutive year that they had to make ends meet with less money than at the peak of the last economic expansion, new government data shows.


The growth in total incomes was concentrated among those making more than $1 million. The number of such taxpayers grew by more than 26 percent, to 303,817 in 2005, from 239,685 in 2000.

These individuals, who constitute less than a quarter of 1 percent of all taxpayers, reaped almost 47 percent of the total income gains in 2005, compared with 2000.

People with incomes of more than a million dollars also received 62 percent of the savings from the reduced tax rates on long-term capital gains and dividends that President Bush signed into law in 2003, according to a separate analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice, a group that points out policies that it says favor the rich.


Nearly half of Americans reported incomes of less than $30,000, and two-thirds make less than $50,000.

Click here for the rest.

A fairly obvious conclusion to make here is that Republican policies hurt most Americans. Indeed, the GOP has been successfully bullshitting voters for a long time. The notion that tax cuts are always good is bullshit. The notion that growing the economy is all we need to do to help most people's pocketbooks is also bullshit.

To be sure, some tax cuts are indeed good, and growing the economy, in and of itself, is also good. However, Republican tax cuts are usually about paying off wealthy campaign donors; they're not really for you and me, and don't forget that when we cut spending to pay for those tax cuts (hey, that's a novel idea!), it almost always hurts that two thirds of the country making under $50k, and usually never hurts that million-dollar salary club. And even though economic growth is generally something we need, the aforementioned million-dollar club has apparently perfected the art of pocketing the bounty of such growth; that is, growth, by itself, can no longer be used to gauge the economic health of the nation.

We've really got to develop a new vocabulary for talking about all this stuff--"tax cuts" and "growth" just don't do it anymore.