How do you recover from a recovery? Just how bust the nation’s “recovery” has been is painfully documented in the latest news, just two months before the election. The Census Bureau validated what middle-class Americans know all too well from their week to week, month to month struggle to make ends meet. The typical family is back to where it was in 1995. The analysis of annual data collected by the bureau indicates that median income in 2011 had fallen to $50,054, the fourth straight year of decline in well-being, and that’s adjusted for inflation. In political terms, the Obama administration can truthfully say that the erosion had begun before the president took office, while Mitt Romney can point out that the administration spent four years of fumbling and quite failed to stop the rot.
At the same time we were clobbered by the Census numbers, the latest unemployment report landed with a dull thud: The advance figure for unemployment claims for the week ending September 8 was 382,000, up from the previous week’s revised figure of 367,000. The four-week moving average was 375,000, up 3,250 from the prior week’s average of 371,750.