Last year’s median income data is great; last 15 years, not so much


The median income of an American household increased 5.2 percent in 2015, the largest single-year increase since 1967. The poverty rate also fell, and the portion of Americans without health insurance fell to about 10 percent. That’s good news, especially during a recovery whose benefits have disproportionately gone to the very rich and large corporations. The bad news is in the graph above. You will notice that median incomes have risen after the each of the seven recessions of the last 50 years except for two: the last two. Although the historical trend has been for incomes to exceed or at least return to their pre-recession levels during each recovery, the median income is still lower than it was in 2007 or, for that matter, 1998.

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The year 2015 in review

"Make the word 'orbit' look like it's orbiting."

“Make the word ‘orbit’ look like it’s orbiting.”

Christmas is nigh upon us, and Combat! blog has pretty much succumbed to torpor in its ancestral home. It was 45 and rainy most of the day in Des Moines yesterday, which is unseasonal, but we also got snow, a little hail, 20 mile-an-hour winds, more rain, and finally a hard freeze. You can tell I’ve been in Iowa, because I’m writing about the weather. The only thing more interesting than the weather in Iowa is what happened to me the other day, per this week’s column in the Missoula Independent:

I won’t bore you with the science, but I made a Vine dancing to “Power of Love” in the mirror and then accidentally took a Snapchat of myself watching that Vine, and now I am in the distant future. Everything has changed. Dogs are represented in Congress, almost exclusively, and watches with biometric monitoring systems tell us when to eat. They pretty much tell us everything: where to work, when to get back to work, whom to seize. We never should have invented superintelligent watches.

Thus begins our review of 2015. It was an exciting year in Montana politics, both at the state level and closer to home. From the GOP splitting apart to Mayor Engen enacting Moby-Dick with the water company as the whale to a book about rape called “Missoula,” we had a fine time. My personal year was marked by injury, illness, and death, but all that’s over now. I’ve got it from a reliable source that a savior is coming tomorrow, and nothing bad will ever happen again. So suck up those cookies, ’cause tomorrow you’re off the hook. Merry Christmas, you guys! Happy holidays to everyone.