What’s so striking about this chart from CBPP is that not only is the current recession bad, but we never even regained the heights of the previous economic peak:
This is basically without precedent in U.S. history. And it’s worth noting that even though the general ups and downs of the economy are largely a global phenomenon, this specific issue isn’t. The UK is now mired in a recession and Labour will almost certainly lose the next election. But during the expansion, inequality declined in Britain and Labour took a huge chunk out of child poverty. Both countries floated up and then down on the strength of a finance bubble, but Britain put its boom years to good use. In the U.S., even the boom was not very favorable to most people.