Reasons to whine about the U.S. economy

Inflation shoots up. Wages don't keep pace. Phil Gramm is strangely silent

Published July 16, 2008 2:13PM (EDT)

Phil Gramm says whiny Americans are suffering through a "mental recession."

How about some data, Phil?

The U.S. Labor Department reported on Wednesday that consumer prices jumped by 1.1 percent in June, compared to May. That's the biggest one month rise in inflation since 1982. Gasoline prices, alone, rose by 10 percent.

In a separate report, the Labor Department also noted that average weekly earnings of U.S. workers, adjusted for inflation, fell 0.9 percent in June. Forbes notes that this marks "the third straight month when wages have not kept up with rising prices and the sharpest drop in real earnings since August 1984."

But it's all in our mind, says Phil Gramm. It's all just an illusion.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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