Business publications tend to do the best job at cutting through some of the fog.
The best way to judge the strength of the economy is not the price of U.S. stocks or the general growth of the economy, but the growth in wages.
If wages are going up, then most people are better off because they have more money to raise their quality of life.
If not, then they don't.
And in 2005, wages were basically flat.
This Business Week article by Michael Mandel lays it out well.
And what I take away from this is that we should quit taxing wages so highly and start taxing wealth and pollution more.
The payroll tax (13.6%) on income less than $90 grand that is paid by working people should not be a lower rate than the capital gains tax (10%) that is paid by wealthy people.
That's backwards. Because higher wages generate more wealth.
The Republican Party (especially in D.C.) is designed around the principle of not taxing wealth. The Democratic Party is not, and that's the best reason to vote for Democrats -- especially those willing to talk about wealth.
Here's a good part of the article:
WHY FOLKS ARE SOUR. Most people, however, have been lucky to keep up with inflation. Look at a new set of wage numbers buried deep in the Web site of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These data report fourth-quarter median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers for different occupations (median means that half earn more, and half earn less).
The first thing that jumps out is that both the 3.2% yearly wage gain for managers and the 2.4% gain for professionals fell short of the 3.5% increase in the consumer price index. That goes a long way to explain why people are so sour about the economy. Strong growth and low unemployment don't mean much if your buying power is declining.
Also not keeping pace with inflation were those who work in service occupations (a broad category that includes police and firefighters, cooks, janitors, home health aids, hairdressers, and child-care workers), production occupations, and maintenance and repair occupations.