Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Bush Legacy: Pocketbook Version

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The above is from Floyd Norris article in the NY Times looking at 2008 US tax returns:
The report, based on a survey of tax returns for 2008, states that Americans reported $8.4 trillion in total income, down 4.6 percent from the previous year. After considering inflation, the real decline was 8.4 percent, the sharpest decline in total American income since at least 1990.

That decline was largely caused by falls in investment income and sharp drops in capital gains. Despite the recession, total wage and salary income in the United States rose by 1.9 percent in 2008, the I.R.S. said. But after adjusting for inflation, that became a decline of 1.9 percent. The real decline in wage and salary incomes was also the largest since 1990, which was as far back as the I.R.S. report covered.

For some Americans, that decline was partly offset by the availability of unemployment insurance benefits. The number of tax returns reporting such benefits was 9.5 million, up 25 percent from the year before, and the total of reported unemployment benefits was $43.7 billion, up 48 percent.

Most of those benefits were reported on tax returns showing total income of less than $40,000 a year, and 90 percent of it was reported on returns that showed total income under $100,000.
Think about that last bit... That means that 10% of those collecting unemployment insurance were people earning $100,000 and up. That's the upper 15% of the population getting hit by Bush's Great Recession. Those aren't the kind of people you expect to see at the unemployment office applying for benefits! I bet they go to bed each night saying a prayer for Bush and his "deregulate, deregulate, deregulate" political philosophy.

For more statistics on US income.

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