Friday, March 30, 2012

What Year Is It In Economic Times?

In the recent article Lost Economic Time, The Economist argues that the economic clock went back several years in terms of the economy for several developed countries.

While few would argue with the economic back-tracking of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, many would be reluctant to admit that the US economy has gone substantially backward. Yet The Economist data show that US is third worst.

This prodded me to do some basic analysis of my economic situation relative to the cost of living. I was further surprised to realize that this was also true for me!

I thought I was doing quite well in my professional and professorial career, but a reduction in my university salary, a drop in consulting (I wonder why nobody hires me to do work for the rail...) and the ever advancing Consumer Price Index or CPI have taken their toll. Indeed my CPI adjusted income average for the last three years took me back to ... 2001.

Time to redouble our efforts and claw ourselves out of our economic 9-11.

Notes: (1) The income trend in the graph is based on my federal tax adjusted gross income or AGI at the bottom of the first page of my annual tax return. (2) The CPI trend is from the annual average tabulated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (3) Both trends are normalized to start at 100 in 1994.