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Politicians vs. Paychecks

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President Bush marked Labor Day with a speech touting his Administration’s success in reviving the American economy. He said we should make tax cuts permanent because that would leave more spending money in our pockets.

The Democrats aren’t buying it:

Democrats contend the middle class is not enjoying the benefits of recent U.S. economic gains. They say sluggish median earnings show paychecks have failed to keep pace with inflation, and they note rising health care and energy costs.

Who do we believe? I say let’s take a look at our paychecks. The Detroit Free Press published a 50 state chart (pdf) yesterday showing the change in personal income by state according to the Census Bureau. The average median household income dropped 6% nationally from 1999 to 2005. But for Coloradans, it dropped 8.4%.

We’re also in the midst of a big housing slump that is affecting both homeowners and homebuilders.

U.S. homebuilders and residential specialty trade employers cut 21,200 jobs in May, June and July, usually the peak building months, according to the most recent preliminary numbers from the Labor Department. The statistics, adjusted for seasonal variations, also showed a significant job loss in March.

As for where our dollars are going, gas prices may be falling, but $3.09 a gallon was the lowest price I saw today in Glenwood Springs, driving back from the mountains.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe the politicians. I think our checkbooks and credit card statements are far better arbiters of the truth, and if yours are anything like mine these days, there’s been no improvement.

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