Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 4:28 pm
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The Federal Reserve said today that it is not slowing down its monthly purchase of $85 billion in bonds.
The program is intended to stimulate a sluggish economy and the Fed was widely expected to announce that in light of a recovering economy, it was tapering the bond-buying program. Instead, it delivered a surprise that caused the markets to jump, as the Dow and the S&P closed at record highs.
For the first year since the recession, median household incomes did not decline in 2012. But it's hardly a reassuring picture. Incomes were flat despite the economic recovery and big gains in the stock market. That's a troubling aspect about today's labor market. It's four years since the official end of the recession and many households are worse off than when it started.
It's been five years since Lehman Brothers collapsed and touched off a banking crisis that is still being felt by the global economy. Today, the banking industry is a lot stronger than it was, but some critics say efforts to reform banking regulations have fallen short of their potential.
Economist Tyler Cowen has some advice for what to do about America's income inequality: Get used to it. In his latest book, Average Is Over, Cowen lays out his prediction for where the U.S. economy is heading, like it or not:
"I think we'll see a thinning out of the middle class," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "We'll see a lot of individuals rising up to much greater wealth. And we'll also see more individuals clustering in a kind of lower-middle class existence."