Since nobody can comment on posts, a few more posts to read couldn't hurt in the meantime. And Matt said a couple of pretty egregious things today.
First up: "The United States in 2011 was a richer country than the United States in 1999 but people felt much better about the U.S. economy when GDP and incomes had been growing for years than they did during a period of stagnation and collapse."
WTF?! Matt, my boy, "people felt much better about the U.S. economy" when they were earning more money. The U.S. in 2011 may be a richer country than the U.S. in 1999, but that doesn't mean a rat's ass if the difference, and then some, has been pocketed by some subset of the richest 1%.
From Table A-2 of Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010:
Median household income, 2010: $49,445
Median household income, 1999: $53,252*
And that is why people felt richer in 1999. They were richer in 1999.
One thing that keeps coming back to me is this: people were almost as rich in 1973 as they are now. Let's add one more line:
Median household income, 1973: $46,109*
You know, when liberating the free market makes "the United States" richer, it doesn't do a damned bit of good for most of us unless some of that extra richness finds its way into our pockets. But when the median household in 2010 is only 7% richer than the median household in 1973, despite the fact that we're clearly way, WAY richer as a nation, that means our economy has failed in a very essential way. It's succeeded admirably for the top 0.1% who actually run the country, but it's sure failed the rest of us.
*In 2010 dollars.
I had a 'next up,' but it looks like I'd better get back to work. Maybe I'll have some time after the kid goes to bed tonight.