January 23, 2007

The Economy

Across the board, indicators show slowing economic growth and declining housing prices.

  • Economic growth fell to 2 percent in the third quarter of last year, following 2.6 percent growth in the second quarter and a surprisingly strong first quarter growth of 5.6 percent.
  • The economy has underperformed relative to other expansions "with respect to both overall economic growth and growth in fixed non-residential investment."
  • Last year, wages "made up a record low share of national income. In the third quarter, wages and salaries made up 51.4 percent of national income, the smallest share since the U.S. government began to collect this data in 1947.
  • 2006 was also the year the housing bubble popped. Nationwide, home prices are down between 4 percent and 5 percent from their levels at the same point in 2005, adjusted for inflation.
  • President Bush has paid only lip service to the problem of reducing the federal budget deficit and record trade deficits.
  • Earlier this month, Bush practiced a bit of "me-tooism" as he promised to submit a plan to "balance the federal budget by 2012," despite the fact that he has "never proposed a balanced budget since it went into deficit, never vetoed a spending bill when Republicans controlled Congress, and offered little sustained objection to earmarks until the issue gained political traction last year."
  • Bush has done little to address record trade deficits. "By the third quarter of 2006, the difference between imports and exports had grown again to over six percent of Gross Domestic product, a feat only accomplished once since the Great Depression (in the fourth quarter of 2005)."
  • 37 million Americans are living in poverty.
  • The percentage of Americans in poverty rose from 11.3 percent in 2000 to 12.6 percent in 2005.
  • The current economic recovery is reinforcing income inequality. A recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study found "a greater share of this capital income goes to the richest households than at any time since the CBO began tracking such trends."
  • "Families earning more than $1 million a year saw their federal tax rates drop more sharply than any group in the country as a result of President Bush's tax cuts."
  • The tax cuts, which Bush wants to make permanent, "offered the biggest benefits by far to people at the very top — especially the top 1 percent of income earners."
This information was brought to you with help from The Center for American Progress.

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