2000s Lost Decade for American Families
January 3, 2010
(ChattahBox)—The Washington Post reported on Saturday, of the economic and societal catastrophe that was the so-called decade of the aughts, as Americans suffered from the breakdown of a housing and investment bubble economy, the likes of which has not been seen in at least 40 years. The high debt load carried by consumers and businesses and the risky behavior exhibited by corporate America, all contributed to a severe economic bust leading to long-term economic stagnation. American workers were hit with job losses, income reduction, home foreclosures and a significant shrinking in overall net worth. The decade of the zeros is the first decade of falling median incomes, since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.
American workers have steadily lost ground in the past decade, as the traditional American dream of doing better than previous generations has crumbled. Are we better off now then we were in previous decades? The answer is an unqualified no, based on a wide range of data.
According to the Washington Post, the 2000s were the worst economic period in recent memory, with zero job growth, shrinking incomes and dim future prospects for many American workers:
“There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well.
Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 — and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.
And the net worth of American households — the value of their houses, retirement funds and other assets minus debts — has also declined when adjusted for inflation, compared with sharp gains in every previous decade since data were initially collected in the 1950s.”
Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight attributes the problem decade to a mismanagement of our macroeconomy that failed to invest in long-term job growth and instead focused on risky investments:
“The big bad thing that happened was that, in the U.S. and parts of Europe, we let housing bubbles get out of control. That came back to haunt us big-time,” said Behravesh.
Meanwhile, as pointed out by Think Progress, Wall Street executives gave themselves an estimated $200 billion in record bonuses in 2009, and they will largely avoid paying taxes on the majority of the billion dollar payouts.
See the Washington Post for more.