Here’s a report of the reality on the ground:
The recession has slashed families’ earnings, increased poverty and left more people without health insurance, according to the Census Bureau’s annual snapshot of living standards, offering sharp evidence of how much the falling economy has touched Americans of every income and race.
The report released Thursday showed median household income, adjusted for inflation, fell 3.6% last year to $50,303, the steepest year-over-year drop since at least 1967. The poverty rate, at 13.2%, was the highest since 1997, while about 700,000 more people were living without health insurance in 2008 than the year before, although the share of the population living without health insurance was about the same.
“There’s a lot of pain for the average family,” said Bruce Meyer, an economist at the University of Chicago. “It’s pretty striking how fast and how far the incomes of the typical family have fallen. The decline is bigger than anything we’ve seen in the past, and things are almost certainly going to get worse.”