Monday, December 28, 2009

Paul Krugman's "Big Zero"

Paul Krugman has decided we should call the last decade the Big Zero. In assessing the last ten years, Krugman wields numbers like blunt instruments.
It was a decade of zero economic gains for the average family:
Actually, even at the height of the alleged “Bush boom,” in 2007, median household income adjusted for inflation was lower than it had been in 1999. And you know what happened next.
The decade brought zero gains for homeowners, and less than zero for those who bought towards the end of the boom.
It was a decade of zero gains for shareholders, even though Wall Street has gotten just about all it could ask in terms of deregulation.
And after millions of jobs were created in the 1990s, the last decade fell flat:
It was a decade with basically zero job creation. O.K., the headline employment number for December 2009 will be slightly higher than that for December 1999, but only slightly. And private-sector employment has actually declined — the first decade on record in which that happened.
As for the saying that a rising tide lifts all boats, the biggest economic indicators that rose in the last decade were energy prices, health care costs and the federal deficit.


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