September 18, 2017. Kelley Kidd. My hometown newspaper, the Statesboro Herald, reported last weekend that the income of the median family in this country is actually higher than it was in 1999! The paper reported that in 2016 for the first time in this millennium that family has a bit more money to spend than it would have eighteen years ago. That median is the family in the middle of the half that is most prosperous and the half that is least prosperous, midway between the richest and the poorest, the family that has kept up with half its peers while falling behind the other half.
This new tidbit of information is reported to have come from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and it is based on examining the incomes of 70, 000 American families, which you may be sure were drawn from the most reliable choosing for the purpose of answering the question of how the average American family has fared for the intervening period between the dawning of this century and now.
This latest figure would signal the end of a seventeen year recession if the yardstick for measuring family income were the same as that measuring Gross National Income. Think what that means for the life we have been living. We have been in what earlier generations would have called a very bad time indeed. Two presidents have served two full terms, a toddler born at the beginning has finished his last year of high school. A recession for the average family has lasted nearly twice as long as the great depression of the 30s. Maybe it is time to take a fresh look back to try to understand what has happened to the American premise and promise that things are always getting better and better here in the U.S.A. So that is exactly what I will try to do.