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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Incomes Fall, Hunger Worsens as Bush Says 'We're Doing Fine'

Published on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 by
by Abid Aslam
WASHINGTON - The average American family has taken a financial tumble and millions in the country go hungry despite President George W. Bush's sunny assessment of the U.S. economy, say federal data and economists.
Stagnant wages and skyrocketing healthcare, education and housing costs, plus greater job instability has pushed America's families right to the limit, and they're borrowing on high-cost credit just to make ends meet.
Tamara Draut, director, economic opportunity program, Demos
Bush talked up the nation's wealth last week during a speech in Milwaukee. ''We're doing fine,'' he said and described the economy as ''strong and gaining steam.''
Economic growth had clocked a respectable 3.5 percent, unemployment had been held down to 4.7 percent with more than four million new jobs created in the past 30 months, and after-tax income had risen eight percent since 2001, he said.
Within days, however, the Federal Reserve reported that average incomes after adjusting for inflation actually had fallen between 2001 and 2004.
At the same time, the number of Americans who need emergency food aid to survive had swollen to more than 25 million even before hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck, the nation's largest network of food banks said in a separate report.


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