New JEC Analysis: American Families Are Spending Twice As Much On Household Basics Than 8 Years ago, But Incomes Are Stagnant

September 16, 2008


From 2000-2007 Food, Gas, and Health Care Bills Rose, While Incomes Fell

Schumer, Maloney, Emanuel Slam Bush Economic Record As Another Gov’t Report Shows High Prices for Consumers

Washington, D.C. – Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), along with Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, JEC Vice Chair, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, released a new JEC analysis showing that families are spending twice as much on household expenses than they did in 2000, even though incomes were stagnant.   The lawmakers released this new JEC analysis as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the new Consumer Price Index (CPI) for August, which showed that despite the small decline in prices from the previous month, prices are up 7.4% over the past two years. 

Sen.  Schumer said, “Under the Bush administration over the last seven years, families’ pockets have been picked at the grocery store, the gas pump, and each time they make their home energy, health care, and mortgage payments.  The Bush administration has presided over an unprecedented middle class economic squeeze -- household living expenses have more than doubled, while incomes have actually shrunk.  The consumer price index released today reminds us of this stark reality for middle class families – we’re doing worse under the Bush administration than we were doing under the Clinton administration.”

Rep. Maloney stated, “Families are being squeezed in a vise grip of stagnant wages and rising prices for basic necessities. With inflation hovering at highs not seen in decades, buying groceries, filling the gas tank, and paying health care premiums are making it tough for families to make ends meet. The drain on family budgets is more evidence of the failure of the past eight years and the need for a new direction on economic policy. Americans can’t afford not to change course on the economy.”

Rep. Emanuel said, "The Bush Administration has given middle class families smaller paychecks and bigger bills. While gas, health care, food and energy prices have skyrocketed, median household income has decreased since George Bush took office.  Middle class families are struggling to get by and get ahead. Republicans shouldn't continue to stand in the way of a plan to get our economy back on track.”


The Joint Economic Committee analysis also found that:
• The increase in cost-of-living expenses for the average American household between 2000 and 2007 is more than double the increase during the first 7 years under President Clinton.  In addition to the dramatic increases in food and gasoline expenses, health care spending was about $3,400 higher in 2007 than it was in 2000 – more than twice the $1,500 increase between 1992 and 1999.  American households recently have been feeling the pain at the pump and the pinch at the grocery store checkout, but the average household has also seen many of their other living expenses rise dramatically since President Bush took office.
 Incomes have not kept pace with the recent rise in basic living expenses.  From 1992 to 1999, real incomes for the average household rose by over 20 percent - an average of 2.8 percent growth per year.  In contrast, the average household was making half a percent LESS in 2006 (the most recent year for which household income is available) than they were in 2000.  The 2000s economic recovery was the first since World War II where the typical household saw net income losses.  In other words, the typical household has not recouped their income losses from the last recession as they face the current economic downturn.  Real household incomes were $324 lower in 2007 than they were in 2000 (the last year for which we have data), according to new Census figures.

The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.
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Joint Economic Committee