When running for President, Barack Obama decried the decline of American household income, which certainly dropped during the 2007-2009 Great Recession. Since the recovery began in June 2009 — a recovery for which Obama has repeatedly claimed credit — that trend has gotten worse, not better. A new report shows that the percentage of decline in household income during the so-called recovery actually doubled that of the recession:
Income for American families declined more in the years following the economic recession than it did during the official recession itself, a new study shows.
During the recession, which economists say lasted from Dec. 2007 to June 2009, the median annual household income fell by 3.2 percent, from $55,309 to $53,518, according to a report authored by two former U.S. Census Bureau officials. But in the post-recession period from June 2009 to June 2011, the figure fell by 6.7 percent, from $53,518 in June 2009 to $49,909 in June 2011. …
The study found that during the post-recessionary period, families with just a male or female head with no spouse present saw a 7.3 percent decline in income compared to the 4.5 percent drop for married-couple households. Income for households with a head under the age of 25 fell by 9.5 percent, significantly more than the 5.5 percent decline for households with a head who is 45 to 54 years old.
Why would incomes fall during a period of recovery, at least as defined by GDP growth? Clearly, the soft jobs market puts workers at a disadvantage in terms of competitive compensation. Raises have been rare, and downsizing would normally target the higher-salaried workers in organizations. Those looking for work have to compete with an average of five other applicants for every position, which means businesses can hire at lower salaries — when they hire at all.
Has an American recovery ever been worse on income than the preceding recession? This and chronically high unemployment explain why large majorities in poll after poll believe the US remains in recession, not recovery, as well as why Obama’s numbers on economic leadership continue to fall. Obama finally got around to admitting recently what almost everyone else has concluded, which is that people are not better off than they were before his election, and this data proves it.
Maybe that’s why Obama “walks alone” these days, as the New York Post’s Michael Goodwin puts it:
The gist is this: President Obama has become a lone wolf, a stranger to his own government. He talks mostly, and sometimes only, to friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett and to David Axelrod, his political strategist.
Everybody else, including members of his Cabinet, have little face time with him except for brief meetings that serve as photo ops. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner both have complained, according to people who have talked to them, that they are shut out of important decisions.
The president’s workdays are said to end early, often at 4 p.m. He usually has dinner in the family residence with his wife and daughters, then retreats to a private office. One person said he takes a stack of briefing books. Others aren’t sure what he does.
If the reports are accurate, and I believe they are, they paint a picture of an isolated man trapped in a collapsing presidency.
He’s not the only one trapped, either.