Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Charlie in Wonderland - What can be said about an economy that has created at least 8.2 million jobs since 2003, has reduced the U.S. poverty rate for the first time this decade and has seen real median household income increase for two years in a row?

If you are Charlie Rangel, you bemoan the fact that "[t]oo many Americans find themselves still stuck in the deep hole dug by economic policies favoring the wealthy." This sort of commentary from the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee bespeaks a disdain for George W. Bush that exceeds Rangel's esteem for the truth. Mr. Rangel's comments notwithstanding, newly released Census Bureau statistics on poverty seem to suggest that the so-called "jobless recovery" has not only improved things for the wealthy, but has also improved the lot of most Americans.

To be sure, these data confirm that Mr. Bush's economic policies have reversed the effects of a recession that began prior to his inauguration. But beyond the obvious economic improvements, these and other data have the collateral benefit of reinforcing several conservative themes. First, as it pertains to families in poverty, married couples had the lowest poverty rate (4.9 percent), with a
28.3 percent poverty rate for "female-householder, no-husband-present" families and a 13.2 percent poverty rate for male householders with no wife present. Much to the chagrin of the Left, marriage still matters.

the effect of education on earnings remains indisputable. According to the 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) of the Current Population Survey, out of 10 million wage earners ages 25 and older making more than $100,000, more than 7.6 million of them had a bachelors degree or above. This is in contrast to ACES data showing that only 2 million people with 4-year degrees or more were below 100 percent of poverty (yearly earnings at or below $16,242 for a family of three with two children.) Education clearly makes a difference.

as discussed abundantly elsewhere, the end results of liberal governance are decreased upward mobility and greater inequality. According to the 2006 American Community Survey (ACS), of the 15 states where there was a increase in real median household incomes, the majority of them were areas that President Bush carried in 2004: namely, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Utah. What will come as a complete shock to liberals is the fact that, according to ACES data, "women's earnings were closer to men's in more states in the South [Florida and North Carolina] and the West [Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas] than in the Northeast and the Midwest."

The not so good news is that the gains in income and reductions in poverty were offset by a nominal increase in the number of persons without health insurance, from 15.3 percent to 15.8 percent. Interestingly enough, the rates of uninsured among native-born, naturalized citizens and non-citizens are 13.2 percent, 16.4 percent and 45.0 percent respectively for 2006. (Accordingly, the greatest percentage increase in the uninsured between 2005 and 2006 was among non-citizens, with an increase of nearly 2 percentage points, representing approximately 835,000 people.) Distortions from the L.A. Times aside, a significant portion of those 47 million who are uninsured are non-citizens, something on the order of 10.2 million people.

In the end, I am reminded of an old joke about how Democrats would respond if it were found out that George W. Bush could walk on water. Given his thoughts on this mostly positive data, I suspect Mr. Rangel would complain that President Bush could not swim.

No comments: