Monday, November 27, 2006

Times are tough all over?

Japundit: Money, money, everywhere, but poverty on the rise. . .
Japan has officially entered its longest period postwar economic growth ever, and economic experts are quibbling over what to name it. Suggestions include “Escape from deflation” (datsu-defure), “Candlelight,” “Koizumi,” and even “New Bubble.”

Many people who are living here swear they have not felt any of the benefits that normally are generated by economic expansion, there are quite a few stories appearing in the news these days indicating that there is still quite a supply of “funny money” floating around for those willing to grab it or lucky enough to stumble across it.
Despite all this, a noted economics professor claims that the relative poverty rate and income disparities in Japan are growing at alarming rates. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development seems to agree.

International Herald Tribune: Roh loses support as South Koreans struggle via DPRK Studies
SEOUL: Bruised by South Korea's cutthroat politics, bewildered by voters' rapidly changing concerns and battered mercilessly in the polls, President Roh Moo Hyun is limping toward the last year of his term.

But it is not Roh's engagement of North Korea, or even its recent nuclear test, that has saddled him with a current approval rating of 11 percent.

"The main reason we have lost support is that we were not able to perform well on issues of livelihood," said Chun Jung Bae, a senior lawmaker in the governing Uri Party who is a close ally of Roh.

"The overall economy is not bad - the growth rate is over 4 percent - but the life of the average person is very difficult,"

........With South Korea experiencing solid growth and record stock prices, Roh initially dismissed descriptions of a slumping economy as opposition bombast, experts said. He failed to see that growth was not trickling down to the average voter, who became increasingly frustrated with rising household debts, high education costs and unaffordable real estate prices.

The Big Picture:Its Still the Economy, Stupid
So while the media drones on about whether the GOP will suffer from Iraq in tomorrow's elections, or prosper from the "strong" economy, you can be sure they know not what they say. While those of us in the top percentiles are doing very nicely indeed, the rest of the country is scraping by.

The economy, despite good overall data and record high corporate profitability, does not exactly imbue to the incumbent's advantage. ......

• Over 2000-05, workers with four-year college degrees saw their inflation adjusted wages fall 3.1%

• Only two groups, who together make up just 3.4 percent of the workforce, saw inflation-adjusted wages rise: workers with doctoral degrees or specialty degrees, such as medicine or law, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.........

Those numbers are precisely why the Middle Class rates the economy only fair to poor, despite the data showing overall (but diminishing) strength.

All these economies are seeing similar issues, economic growth is occurring, but very unevenly, with the benefits going to a small portion of the population.

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