If the Economy's So Much Better, Why Are Stores Giving Away Stuff Practically for Free?
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Where, after all, will even the most skilled autoworker earn comparable pay and benefits to those that were lost? Nowhere. From 2000 to 2007, households with working-age adults made no income gains at all, according to an analysis by Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute. It's the first time on record that there was an economic expansion that didn't revive incomes. This contributed mightily to the credit crisis -- as incomes stagnated, more and more people turned to riskier and riskier borrowing to fill the gap between what they earned and what they wanted to buy.
It's true there was an unacceptable cultural expectation that you can live beyond your means. But even in the era of 25-cent specials and two-for-one restaurant deals, families need a means to live. Only when we have that again can you believe anyone who says our economic nightmare is over.
(c) 2009, Washington Post Writers Group
(See attached file: cocc0727.txt)
Marie Cocco is a prize-winning syndicated columnist on political and cultural topics for The Washington Post Writers Group. She is a frequent commentator on national TV and radio shows.