1. It’s Tuesday, September 13, 2016. The election is 56 days away.
2. You know all that presidential campaign talk about how Americans are working harder and making less money?
The less money part is now less true.
The Census Bureau announced this morning that the nation’s median household income rose 5.2% last year, the biggest single-year jump since the government began accumulating data in 1967. The gains cover all demographics and regions of the country.
If anything, different groups might begrudge the gains of others. Hispanics saw their income rise 6.1%, while Asians only got a 3.7% boost. Those between age 35 and 44 got a 7%, twice the rate of increase as my 55-to-64 group. Of course.
Still, a raise is better than a drop. And drop is what median income has been doing since 2007, as the recession got underway.
And income wasn’t the only good news about this report. There’s the biggest drop in the poverty rate since 1999. And 4 million fewer people don’t have health insurance.
3. It would be an understatement to say the Obama administration is ecstatic about this.
Up to now, the administration has had an uphill climb in its effort to boost the economy. It came into office amid the worst recession since the Great Depression. And Congress, whether in the hands of Republicans or reluctant Democrats, has been of zero help for most of the eight years.
And yet, the stimulus package, the push for infrastructure improvement, the drive toward more renewable energy and the oft-cursed Affordable Care Act have finally resulted in impressive gains.
The trick, of course, will be to keep going. The White House says it’s confident the 2016 figures will be strong. But after that, the economy will be in the hands of someone else.
You can bet Obama will tout these numbers for the next 56 days as he pushes to have Hillary Clinton succeed him.
And the Clinton campaign, rather than focus on the latest Trump stupidity, should double down on this: While median household income is up for the first time in eight years, it’s still below the peak. That peak was reached in 1999 – when Bill Clinton sat in the Oval Office.
4. All Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia represents is bad timing.
It’s a wonder presidential candidates, who travel constantly in the germ factories that are airplane cabins and shake the hands of people who may have just coughed into them, don’t get sick all the time.
And, like so many other workers in and out of politics, Clinton didn’t feel she had time to let illness slow her down. She paid for it Sunday with the wobbliness at Ground Zero, and that led to the revelation about the pneumonia.
Now if it leads her to be a little more forthcoming about her health, that’s not bad. For one thing, it answers the meatballs who have given her every disease and affliction known to the human race. In fact, it’s surprising that the Trump supporters haven’t speculated about hairballs and ringworm.
Sometimes the Clinton people flinch at the idea that she should reveal more about herself. But here’s the thing: We’re coming off eight years of a president whose been seen draining a 20-foot jumper. And if you want to be non-partisan, his predecessor was supposedly a fanatic about jogging around the White House.
Americans not only want to know that their President is healthy, they want to know how he – and if Clinton wins, she – gets that way.
The Clinton people should, as soon as they can, release more details about her current condition. And I think they should disclose what she does to maintain her health.
No, it’s not as important as being a knowledgeable leader and having ideas for change. But it’s a good way to show people the clearly better candidate.