Interesting take from TMQ this week on the political front. Here is his take:
Entire Nation Parties Like It’s 1999: The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that median household income, adjusted for inflation, has declined to the level of the year 1999. After unemployment, this decline in household income is the second-most disturbing aspect of the stalled American economy.
Campaigning in 2008 for the Democratic presidential nomination, in industrial states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, Hillary Clinton constantly used the line, “We need to return to the prosperity of the 1990s.” At the time Clinton said this, Pennsylvania and Ohio were, judged by median household income, better off than in the 1990s. But many voters believe life was better in the past than in the present, so Clinton’s appeal to nostalgia helped her attract support. Well — now we’ve returned to the prosperity of the 1990s.
This just feels like it is saying something about our perception of history. I think most of us understood what Mrs. Clinton meant. The late 1990s seemed affluent to us, even though we continued to improve, the feeling went away. Who would have thought during the early days of the slowing economy that we were really still much better off than we had been. Now we have returned to the level of the 1990s after years of decline, but it feels so different this time. Surely part of that is the feeling of going back down to this value, and not knowing where the bottom of this decline will be. The perception that our increase was actually just holding steady has also contributed.