Misery index high, funny index low
I was watching this Bill Moyers fellow today, about this damned country's diminishing middle class...let me start over...this country isn't damned. It's not damned because there are no more electable Bushes:
Working Americans, and that's most people, are experiencing the "big squeeze." In fact, they're trying to survive one of the most profound social and economic changes in our history. The middle class is disappearing, facing a decline in standards of living. So you'd hope that the Democrats in Denver next week and the Republicans in St. Paul the following week would confront this crisis head on and not just serenade struggling families with a chorus of sympathetic but meaningless sound bites.
As wages stagnate, prices are soaring. Economists call this pain the "misery index." It's a combination of the unemployment and inflation rates, and it's what politicians have in mind when they ask, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Well, the misery index is the highest it's been since George Bush's father became president, seventeen years ago.
At the end of Moyers' report, he quotes former IMF chief economist Ken Rogoff who said at a recent conference in Singapore, "The U.S. is not out of the woods. I think the financial crisis is at the halfway point, perhaps. I would even go further to say 'the worst is to come.'"
Yikes. I really laughed hard at this article a few years back, from the Onion, entitled: "National Museum Of The Middle Class Opens In Schaumburg, IL." Somehow it's not as funny anymore.