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Economic News, Data and Analysis

Stiglitz ain’t happy – perhaps shrill?

Nobel Prize winner Joe Stiglitz blames it on Bush…

TomPaine.com – Four Years Of Failure
But these statistics mask a glaring fact: The average American family is worse off than it was three and half years ago. Median real income has fallen by more than $1,500 in real terms, with American families being squeezed as wages lag behind inflation and key household expenses soar. In short, all that growth benefited only those at the top of the income distribution — the same group that had done so well over the previous 30 years and that benefited most from Bush’s tax cut.
For example, some 45 million Americans today have no health insurance, up by 5.2 million from 2000. Families lucky enough to have health insurance face annual premiums that have nearly doubled, to $7,500. American families also face increasing job insecurity. This is the first time since the early 1930s that there has been a net loss of jobs over the span of an entire presidential administration.
Bush supporters rightly ask: is Bush really to blame for this? Wasn’t the recession already beginning when he took office?
The resounding answer is that Bush is to blame. Every president inherits a legacy. The economy was entering a downturn when Bush took office, but Clinton also left a huge budget surplus — 2 percent of GDP — a pot of money with which to finance a robust recovery. But Bush squandered that surplus, converting it into a deficit of 5 percent of GDP through tax cuts for the rich.

[FYI – Here’s the letter from the 10 Economics Nobel Prize Winners that Stiglitz referred to at the end of the article.]

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