The Middle Class in America Is Radically Shrinking

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Recently by Robert Wenzel: Was the Great Recession Just a Precursor to an Even WorseDownturn?

Increased government regulations and meddling is resulting in the destruction of the middle class. If you are part of the favored elite, things are just fine. If you are savvy, you can still do well, but for the person who simply expects to climb step by step via salary to a better life, things are not so good.

Michael Snyder has put together a list of the changes that indicate the middle class is shrinking. Note that much of the shrinkage of the middle class comes in sectors where the government has put in programs to "help":

  • 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
  • 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
  • 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
  • A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
  • 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
  • Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
  • Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
  • For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
  • In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
  • As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

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©2010 Economic Policy Journal

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