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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

Topic: inequality

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January 20, 2015 at 10:10 AM

Obama, inequality and taxes

Whatever President Obama proposes in tonight’s State of the Union address will go nowhere in the Republican-controlled Congress. But he will attempt to use the bully pulpit to acknowledge and, to some degree, propose a way out of the worst inequality since the Gilded Age. Two years of free community college can’t hurt. Falling educational attainment…

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Comments | Topics: inequality, State of the Union speech

September 18, 2014 at 10:24 AM

State’s income stagnant in 2013, poverty rises

First the good news: Washington’s median household income remains above the national average. The bad: It barely moved from 2012 to 2013. This information comes from a Census Bureau data dump today that also showed Seattle with the largest rent increase among major cities. That fits because Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue saw its median household income rise…

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Comments | More in Pacific Northwest economy | Topics: Household income, inequality, poverty

September 17, 2013 at 11:13 AM

For most Americans, no recovery in ’12

The Census Bureau reported today that median household income was essentially stagnant last year,  at $51,017. Adjusted for inflation, that leaves income 8.3 percent lower than where it stood in 2007 before the recession. The poverty rate was 15 percent, with 46.5 million of our fellow citizens living at or below the official poverty line. That’s 2.5 percentage points higher than in 2007 and close to a post-War on Poverty record. Of this, 43 percent were in “deep poverty,” with half below the poverty line. In 2000, the rate of poverty was 11.3 percent. In the late 1950s, before LBJ’s War on Poverty began, the rate was above 22 percent.

The Gini ratio, which measures income inequality was basically unchanged at 0.477. Still, it is at a record high. In the late 1960s, it stood around 0.39. As was reported recently, the top 1 percent made up all their losses from the downturn and have accumulated a record share of national income.

Breaking down the numbers reveals a grim picture of not just stagnation, but in many cases a retrograde move. The typical American family makes less than it did in 1989.

 

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Comments | More in Income/living standards, Inequality, Poverty | Topics: Income, inequality, poverty