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U.S. Incomes Decline for Third Consecutive Year During Biden Administration

by Venus Sanders

Your paycheck seems to have lost its magic over the years. It's not your imagination. According to fresh data from the US Census Bureau, the inflation surges in 2022 have outpaced the average pay raises for US workers.

Image Credit: Kevin Dietsch / Staff / Getty Images

This marks the third consecutive year, during President Joe Biden's tenure, that Americans have experienced a decline in their standard of living. In 2022, inflation-adjusted median household income dropped to $74,580, representing a 2.3% decrease from the 2021 average of $76,330.

This economic downturn has had profound effects on the daily lives of many New Yorkers. As they grapple with rising living costs, individuals are adapting by going out less, opting for cheaper groceries, and even seeking support from family members to meet rent obligations. Some have even contemplated moving to Canada in an attempt to escape the financial hardships associated with what has been termed "Bidenomics."

Many individuals attribute part of the nation's financial woes to President Biden's focus on international matters, such as the situation in Ukraine, which they believe diverts attention from domestic economic issues.

According to Tselane Stevens, "I don't think Biden's paying a lot of attention to the economy. He's paying more attention to what's happening internationally than what's going on right here in New York. He's paying a lot of attention to Ukraine — that's where all the money's going."

The decline in American incomes began in 2020, when households enjoyed an average income of $76,660. Since then, this figure has plummeted by a staggering 4.7%, reaching its lowest point in 2022. These statistics paint a grim picture of how President Biden's economic policies have struggled to alleviate the financial pressures caused by the pandemic, leading to persistent inflation and sluggish wage growth.

Even individuals with higher incomes are not immune to the challenges posed by rising living costs. Indraja V., a 32-year-old professional who relocated from Tampa, Florida, to Manhattan, provides insight into her experience. Despite a significant $20,000 increase in her base pay after taking a job at a major tech consulting firm in New York, she still feels financially strained in the city due to the impact of inflation. After accounting for taxes and rent, Indraja finds it challenging to cover expenses such as student loan debt from her MBA, gym memberships, and visits to her family in India.

One notable aspect of the inflation crisis is its effect on everyday items, including groceries. Indraja recalls being shocked by the exorbitant prices while shopping in New York, with a slice of watermelon priced at an astonishing $11.74. Other New Yorkers have shared similar experiences, highlighting the significant impact of rising food costs on their budgets.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that inflation continues to outpace economists' expectations, with a 3.7% increase in August compared to the previous year. Petra Hanson, a 55-year-old resident of Dumbo and former fashion designer, has been using her savings to make ends meet over the past three years. She laments the skyrocketing prices of groceries and how businesses seem to exploit inflation to justify price hikes, further straining consumers' wallets.

The high cost of living in New York extends beyond food and rent. Lark Clark, a 75-year-old Midwood resident, highlights the increased prices for entertainment. She notes that ticket prices for events like a jazz club performance have surged over the past three years. This financial burden, combined with other rising costs, contributes to the challenging economic climate in the city.

Despite these struggles, some individuals express doubt that President Biden's economic policies will provide meaningful relief. Recess Hyde, for example, believes that the President's focus has been elsewhere, stating, "The President's asleep. He's not a strong leader." These sentiments reflect the broader concerns about the ongoing economic challenges faced by many Americans, particularly in high-cost urban areas like New York.


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