Friday, January 13, 2006


Economics 101...

Last week, Sue issued this perky little press release touting how well the economy was doing, simply because the national unemployment rate had dropped to 4.9%. Though Sue applauded the 8,700 new jobs created in New York in November, she ignored these statistics, which showed that both the state's unemployment rate and the number of unemployed people were up. The numbers in the Hudson Valley -- the region Sue claims to represent -- were equally grim.

But as anyone who's taken economics 101 knows, unemployment numbers aren't a particularly good measure of the economy, despite the fact that politicians like to tout them when they're good. Instead, let's look at something a bit closer to home: the November heating bill for one of our take19 members. Though the amount of gas this member used to heat their home was essentially the same in November 2004 as in November 2005, their gas bill was a shocking 74.4% higher. That's not a typo. Although this take19er has a job, their family's salary hasn't gone up 75% over the past year. Still think the unemployment rate is a good measure of the economy?

What is Sue doing about this assault on the personal economy of her constituents? Those middle-class families who are facing sharply higher heating bills? Nothing. Nadia. Zilch. But we suppose it could be worse. We could be poor, in which case we'd really be up a creek since Sue voted to freeze the federal Heating Assistance program that helps seniors and low-income people heat their homes.

Isn't it time for our elected Representative to do more than spout happy-talk about the economy?

Keep up the great work with this blog!

It's a great idea, and one that I've adopted for the 24th district, with your inspiration.

Unemployment may be dropping a little. (It is still not nearly as low as when Bush took office - 4% nationwide), but there is less money in people's pockets in spite of this. Real per capita personal income has been dropping or steady for about a year. (This is the income people have after taxes to spend adjusted for inflation and the increase in population.)

Further, in the second and third quarter of '05 net savings of individuals went negative. That is people borrowed more than they received in income from all sources. This has not happened since 1947 - the first year these statistics were kept quarterly.

This is from the census bureau

"The poverty rate in 2004 (12.7 percent) was 9.7 percentage points lower than in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available (Figure 3). From the most recent trough in 2000 both the number and rate have risen for four consecutive years, from 31.6 million and 11.3 percent in 2000, to 37.0 million and 12.7 percent in 2004 respectively. "

There is other data around that shows real wages for hourly workers have been dropping and the gap between rich a poor rising.

Bill D'Avanzo
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