A Decade Of Flat Median Income Is Terrible

Here’s a chart that I would characterize as illustrating the fact that the median American household has just experienced a horrifying lost decade of stagnant incomes from which there’s no clear sign of relief:

Nick Schulz from AEI, interestingly, sees it as a chart about how “Contrary to much received wisdom, the poor and middle class are significantly better off today.”

Now in Schulz’s defense, he wants us to look at the whole 30 year period. This is, I think, much more of a mixed bag than the one chart suggests. We’ve seen household income grow even as wages fall, because there are more total hours worked per household (largely because of higher women’s workforce participation). I actually do agree that many people overstate the “30 years of stagnation” argument, but the evidence for at least 10 years of ridiculously poor economic performance is hard to ignore.