Tuesday, September 2

Change Alphie Can Understand

"The fundamentals of our economy are strong." John McCain, last week

· The economy has lost jobs each of the last seven months, and over the past seven and a half years job growth has been weaker than in any economic expansion on record. In July, the economy lost another 51,000 jobs, bringing the total jobs lost this year to 463,000. Over the past seven and a half years under President Bush, job growth has been weaker than in any economic expansion on record. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008]

· Families have lost an entire decade worth of raises, as real weekly earnings fell below their August 1998 level. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this month that weekly wages adjusted for inflation were $272.85 in July 2008. That is below the $273.54 level of real weekly wages in August, 1998. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008].

· Working-age households have lost more than $2,000 under President Bush. The Census Department reported this week that real incomes for working families fell from $58,555 in 2000 to $56,545 in 2007 – a decline of $2010. This is the first economic expansion on record where household incomes have fallen in real terms. [U.S. Census, 2008]

. Inflation reached a 17-year high. This month we learned that prices jumped 5.6 percent in July over a year earlier. That is the largest year-over-year increase in inflation since January 1991, when the economy was in recession. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008].

· Housing prices have fallen a record 15.9 percent over the past year. Last week the respected S&P/Case-Shiller index showed that housing prices in 20 major metropolitan areas fell 15.9 percent over the past year, the largest one year drop on record. More than 2.5 million homeowners are expected to face foreclosure this year – an average of 7,000 per day.