Bernanke’s Bust: Median Household Income Is Lower Today Than in 2009

Median household income is a good test of a household’s economic well-being. Half of households earn more. Half earn less.

With mean average income, the incomes of the rich skew the figure upward. Not with median income.

After four years of the Federal Reserve’s tripling of the monetary base, Americans are worse off today.

What’s that? Worse than in the supposed bottom of the recession? Yes. This report tells the story. Household income is down 4.4%.

Based on new estimates derived from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS), real median annual household income, while recovering somewhat from the low-point reached in August 2011, has fallen by 4.4 percent since the “economic recovery” began in June 2009. Adding this post-recession decline to the 1.8-percent drop that occurred during the recession leaves median annual household income now 6.1 percent below the December 2007 level.

Sentier Research supplied these figures. Here is the company’s assessment. “Based on our data, almost every group is worse off now than it was four years ago, with the exception of households with householders 65 to 74 years old.”

This means we were far better off in 2007, before the recession began. What are the numbers?

After adjusting for changes in consumer prices, median annual household income declined during the officially-defined recession from $55,480 in December 2007 to $54,478 in June 2009. During the “economic recovery”, as the unemployment rate and the duration of unemployment remained high, median annual household income continued its decline, reaching a low point of $50,722 in August 2011. As of June 2013 median household income had recovered somewhat to $52,098 (seasonally adjusted estimates).

It gets worse. It turns out that Greenspan failed, too. We are worse off than in 2000.

Compared to January 2000, the beginning point for our monthly statistical series, median annual household income is now lower by 7.2 percent. (All income amounts in this report are before-tax money income and are presented in terms of June 2013 dollars).

You knew you were not doing better. Obama has told you otherwise. So has the Federal Reserve.

They lie. They never factor in purchasing power — what the Federal Reserve has done to the dollar.

Next month, a new movie will hit the theaters, Money for Nothing. Go see it.

Continue Reading on