It’s Monday, the official end of a long weekend that followed a previous long weekend, and for some state workers, the culmination of a two-week furlough. The sun has disappeared behind the clouds, which are releasing a smattering of rain.
I wish I had something to perk you up. Instead, I just have this report from The Washington Post. If you’re feeling like you’ve been frettin’ and sweatin’, but not getting anywhere (to borrow lyrics from The Clash), you’re right:
The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation's growth.
Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 -- and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.
And the net worth of American households -- the value of their houses, retirement funds and other assets minus debts -- has also declined when adjusted for inflation, compared with sharp gains in every previous decade since data were initially collected in the 1950s.
But don’t worry. We’ve turned the corner, doncha know? Heck, everything is going to be OK:
The financial crisis is, for all practical purposes, over, and forecasters are now generally expecting the job market to turn around early in 2010 and begin creating jobs. The task ahead for the next generation of economists is to figure out how, in a decade that began with such economic promise, things went so wrong.