U.S. Economy Soars

The president claimed victory for his economic policies Thursday morning, CBS News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts reports, saying the United States is on the edge of unprecedented expansion.

"It has given us over 19 million new jobs," Clinton said. "Along with the welfare reform law, it's given us the lowest welfare rolls in 30 years, the lowest poverty rates in 20 years."

It wasn't all good news though. Another government report out Thursday showed that wages, salary and benefits to workers grew more slowly than expected.

According to the Council of Economic Advisors' Martin Baily, "We don't want to view this as a rosy scenario; we don't want to say that everyone is better off."

Ironically, it's the sort of report that Wall Street loves. When labor costs are held down, so are inflation and the threat of interest rate hikes. The Dow soared 227 points Thursday, but for many Americans who've been held to small wage increases while at the same time losing benefits, the economic boom is something that never rose above the background noise.

"The income of the typical or median family is only 4 percent in real terms above where it was in 1989," explains Jared Bernstein, of the Economic Policy Institute. "You've got an economy that's grown 30 percent since then."

And there was more evidence Thursday that workers aren't planning for the future. A new survey found that one-half of American households have accumulated less than $1,000 in assets (such as property), and half have less than $35,000 in savings and investments.

The Consumer Federation of America's Steve Brobek says, "A substantial number of middle-income -- not to speak of lower-income households -- are not only not building wealth, they are in fact in many instances, spending more than they earn."

The survey also showed that 27 percent of average-income Americans believe their best chance to accumulate the $500,000 in wealth they'll need to retire is to play the lottery. That's partly a lack of education on how to build wealth, but it's also an indication that even in this robust economy, they don't believe they can do it themselves.