Like a lot of folks, it feels to me that the U.S. went pretty far off the tracks over the last ten years. Some of those trends were new, but a lot of them have been building for some time. What I hope to accomplish is better understand where we've been lately, and where we're going. And by posting some facts and my thoughts about them here, perhaps some of you can also add to our understanding.
Look for three categories of posts:
- The Naughtful Naughties: What Went Wrong
- The Naughtful Naughties: What Went Right
- The Naughtful Naughties: What I Flat-Out Don't Understand
I don't have a big pile of data for today's post, but I do have a homework assignment for all of you. It's the little bit of web surfing that started me down this path.
I was thinking about the stagnation of income over the past decade, and feeling pretty fortunate that I made a better salary now than I did ten years ago. Then I went to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Inflation Calculator. It uses the Consumer Price Index to calculate what a current dollar would have been worth in past years. Not surprisingly, I found that the vast majority of my income increase over the last ten years had been eaten up by inflation. I'd always been aware of that at some level, but it was a bit of a kick in the pants to see it in black and white.
So that's your homework assignment, if you care to take it. Go to the Inflation Calculator, enter your 2000 income, and see what it would have been in 2009. Or try the reverse, enter your 2009 income and see what it would have been in 2000. How do you feel about it?
I feel stagnant. And I don't feel good about it.