Letter: Average American in worse shape today
To the Editor:
In his letter last week, local Republican Jim Schroeder told us that President Bush's tax reform put "an average of $2,000 more in everybody's annual pay envelope."
Excitedly, I started looking in my pay envelope.
White House economists like averages. For example, we have a list of three people and their annual incomes: Tom makes $10,000, Dick makes $30,000 and Mary makes $50,000. Their average income is $30,000. If we add Bill Gates and his annual income of $4 billion in with Tom, Dick and Mary, their average annual income is now $1 billion.
The U.S. Census Bureau prefers using the statistical median for income comparisons. The median provides a more accurate representation of the trend and isn't over- or understated by extreme low or high numbers.
In the Tom, Dick and Mary group, the median income is $30,000. When Bill Gates joins the group, the median income becomes $40,000. It's more realistic to say that every Tom, Dick, Mary and Bill makes around $40,000 a year than to say their average income is $1 billion.
In 2000, according to the Senate Joint Economic Committee, the median U.S. income was $49,192. By 2006, the median income dropped by $1,169 (-2.4 percent) to $48,023. Bush's "average $2,000" isn't in the median pay envelope.
In 2000, gas averaged $1.48 per gallon and my weekly bill for 15 gallons of gas was $22.20. Today, with gas at $2.99 per gallon, 15 gallons costs me $44.85. With the $1,117 increase in my annual gas bill, I wish Bush's "average $2,000" was in my pay envelope.
Under President Bill Clinton, the number of people living in poverty dropped 17 percent from 38 million people in 1992 to 31.5 million in 2000. Since Bush took office, the number of people living in poverty increased 15 percent to 36.4 million. If they have pay envelopes, Bush's "average $2,000" isn't in them.
Bill Gates is #1 on Forbes magazine's 2007 richest people list. Between 2006 to 2007, his net worth increased by $4 billion to $56 billion. At last, we've located one of the pay envelopes getting Bush's "average $2,000."
For those thinking you are better off under the Bush's economic policies, I suggest you spend your "average $2,000" on a fantasy vacation to an out-of-touch destination like the White House.
James P. Nelson