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Why many Americans feel like they’re getting poorer

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The Commerce Department released data last week that showed that personal income dropped in January by 4 percent, once factoring in taxes and inflation. It’s the biggest monthly drop in 50 years, and on one hand, it’s a statistical blip, really. (Year-end bonuses in December tend to scotch January figures). But there is also the very real problem of a slow U.S. economic recovery and the fact that for many Americans, in the long term, their overall quality of life is declining, not improving. That bodes ill for everybody.