Maybe the old adage should be changed to: “a rising tide swamps most boats.” That’s the topic of Paul Krugman’s NY Timescolumn today, in which he characterizes income trends from 2004 (the most recent year for which data is available).
The column is behind the pay-wall, but I’ll include a few choice excerpts here:
The U.S. economy grew 4.2 percent, a very good number.
the purchasing power of the typical family actually fell. Meanwhile, poverty increased, as did the number of Americans without health insurance.
What the heck?
…even if you exclude capital gains from a rising stock market, in 2004 the real income of the richest 1 percent of Americans surged by almost 12.5 percent. Meanwhile, the average real income of the bottom 99 percent of the population rose only 1.5 percent.
Even people at the 95th percentile of the income distribution… gained only modestly.
Good thing I’m well-educated, right?
But census data show that the real earnings of the typical college graduate actually fell in 2004.