Real personal income for Americans -- excluding government payouts such as Social Security -- has fallen by 3.2% since President Obama took office in January 2009, according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.
For comparison, real personal income during the first 15 months in office for President George W. Bush, who inherited a milder recession from his predecessor, dropped 0.4%. Income excluding government payouts increased 12.7% during Mr. Bush's eight years in office.
"This is hardly surprising," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist and former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. "Under President Obama, only federal spending is going up; jobs, business startups, and incomes are all down. It is proof that the government can't spend its way to prosperity."
According to the bureau's statistics, per capita income dropped during 2009 in 47 states, with only modest gains in the other states, West Virginia, Maine and Maryland. But most of those increases were attributed to rising income from the government, such as Medicare and unemployment benefits.
Two of the most populous states in the country reported dramatic declines: Per capita income in California dropped 3.5 percent to $42,325; in New York, the drop was 3.8 percent to $46,957.