Isn’t it obvious that those at the top of the wealth-power pyramid don’t want us to know how much ground we’ve lost while they’ve gorged on immense gains?
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, an era of stagflation, the Misery Index was the unemployment rate plus inflation, both of which were running hot.
Now those numbers are at 50-year lows: both the unemployment rate and inflation are about as low as they can go, reaching levels not seen since the mid-1960s. (See chart below)
By these measures, the U.S. economy’s Misery Index has never been lower and hence prosperity has never been higher or more widespread.
But this simply isn’t true: the top 5% are indeed doing better than ever but the bottom 80% are losing ground and the middle 15% are only appearing to do well because asset bubbles have temporarily created illusory wealth.
I propose a 21st century Misery Index: Labor’s Share of the Economy and Real-World Inflation. Headlines about labor shortages and rising wages are popping up, suggesting the long-awaited boost in labor’s share of the economy’s growth is finally starting.