Middle-class families, which used to be the backbone of the United States economy are becoming poorer. Despite the constant bombardment of news of a “healthy economy,” 62% of middle-class families struggle to afford a basic middle-class lifestyle.
Even though the unemployment rate that has reached a 50-year low of 3.7 percent, most jobs across the U.S. don’t support a middle-class or better lifestyle, leaving many Americans struggling, according to a new study. When factoring in both wages and the cost of living in the metro area where the job is located, 62% struggle to provide a middle-class lifestyle according to the study by Third Way, a think tank that leans center-left on the political spectrum. Continue reading
It’s no question America is at a crossroads and could go the way of Rome. This why it’s noteworthy to point out that things turn violent towards the very end, which is what we see not only in America through demonstrations and the demonization of politicians at restaurants, etc…, but the growing thirst for blood sports such as UFC/MMA, as astutely observed in this article:
Beneath the rah-rah statistics of “the greatest economy ever,” the social depression is accelerating. The mainstream is reluctantly waking up to the future of the American Dream: downward mobility for all but the top 10% of households.
A 2015 Atlantic article fleshed out the zeitgeist with survey data that suggests the Great Middle Class/Nouveau Proletariat is also waking up to a future of downward mobility: The Downsizing of the American Dream.
People used to believe they would someday move on up in the world. Now they’re more concerned with just holding on to what they have. Continue reading
While I’m only in control of my own behavior, this doesn’t mean that the behavior of others is irrelevant to my life. Unfortunately, what I see happening to the population of America right now seems very troublesome and foreboding. What I’m witnessing across the board is hordes of people increasingly separating themselves into weird, unthinking cults. Something appears to have snapped in our collective consciousness, and many individuals I used to respect (on both sides of the political spectrum) are becoming disturbingly polarized and hysterical. People are rapidly morphing into radicalized mental patients. Continue reading
While the Fed has long been focusing on the revenue part of the household income statement (which unfortunately has not been rising nearly fast enough to stimulate benign inflation in the form of nominal wages rising at the Fed’s preferred clip of 3.5% or higher), one largely ignored aspect of said balance sheet has been the expense side: after all, for any money to be left over and saved, income has to surpass expenses. However, according to a striking new Pew study while household spending has returned to pre-recession levels (the average household spent $36,800 in 2014) incomes have not.
Specifically, while the median income had fallen by 13% from 2004 levels over the next decade, expenditures had increased by nearly 14%. But nobody was more impacted than the one-third of households which the study defines as “low-income.” Pew finds that while all households had less slack in their budgets in 2014 than in 2004, lower-income households went into the red by over $2,300. Continue reading
I recently took a few road trips longitudinally and latitudinally across California. The state bears little to no resemblance to what I was born into. In a word, it is now a medieval place of lords and peasants—and few in between. Or rather, as I gazed out on the California Aqueduct, the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Luis Reservoir, I realized we are like the hapless, squatter Greeks of the Dark Ages, who could not figure out who those mythical Mycenaean lords were that built huge projects still standing in their midst, long after Lord Ajax and King Odysseus disappeared into exaggeration and myth. Henry Huntington built the entire Big Creek Hydroelectric Project in the time it took our generation to go to three hearings on a proposed dam.
For all practical purposes, there are no more viable 40-acre to 150-acre family farms. You can sense their absence in a variety of subtle ways. Tractors are much bigger, because smaller plots are now combined into latifundia, and rows of trees and vines become longer. Rural houses are now homes to farm managers and renters, not farms families. One never sees families pruning or tying vines together as was common in the 1960s. I haven’t seen an owner of a farm on a tractor in over a decade. Continue reading
The government wants us to believe our economic growth is sustainable, and that budgetary surplus will fix all our problems. But these are dangerous myths
British public life has always been riddled with taboos, and nowhere is this more true than in the realm of economics. You can say anything you like about sex nowadays, but the moment the topic turns to fiscal policy, there are endless things that everyone knows, that are even written up in textbooks and scholarly articles, but no one is supposed to talk about in public. It’s a real problem. Because of these taboos, it’s impossible to talk about the real reasons for the 2008 crash, and this makes it almost certain something like it will happen again. Continue reading
China’s middle class has surpassed that of the United States to become the world’s largest, according to the 2015 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report.
With 109 million adults “this year, the Chinese middle class for the first time outnumbered” that in the United States at 92 million, the report states.
Legal and illegal immigrants will hit a record high of 51 million in just eight years and eventually account for an astounding 82 percent of all population growth in America, according to new U.S. Census figures.
A report from the Center for Immigration Studies that analyzed the statistics said that by 2023, one in seven U.S. residents will be an immigrant, rising to one in five by 2060 when the immigrant population totals 78 million.
If you worry about the declining fortunes of the U.S. middle class, take heed: It might be worse than you realized.
Tracking the middle class can be difficult, because the group is hard to define. Typically, researchers look at households with incomes or net worth in the middle of the entire population. This approach, though, might provide a falsely rosy picture. It doesn’t, for example, capture the fates of families that start out in the middle and — due to a job loss or other setback — end up in the bottom. Continue reading
Please see the source link for the video.
Brother, can you spare a nickel?
For roughly half of American households they answer is “barely,” according to the results of a new survey by Bankrate.com. About half reported they are setting aside no more than 5 percent of their income in savings. One in five said they’re not even able to save a penny.
The highest savings rates were reported by those in the middle of the income ladder; more than a third of households earnings between $50,000 – 75,000 said they’re saving more than 10 percent of their incomes, a higher rate than those in the highest-income bracket. Continue reading
And the fact is, the gap between high- and low-income groups is the widest it has been in 100 years and the share of U.S. consumers who call themselves middle class has never been lower.But those aren’t the only signs the economy isn’t all that it’s cracked up be. In fact, there are five unmistakable signs the U.S. Economy is teetering on the brink. Continue reading
The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.
While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.
After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans. Continue reading
Panic is in the air as gasoline prices move above $4.00 per gallon. Politicians and pundits are rounding up the usual suspects, looking for someone or something to blame for this latest outrage to middle class family budgets. In a rare display of bipartisanship, President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner are both wringing their hands over the prospect of seeing their newly extended Social Security tax cut gobbled up by rising gasoline costs.
Unfortunately, the talking heads that are trying to explain the reasons for high oil prices are missing one tiny detail. Oil prices aren’t high right now. In fact, they are unusually low. Gasoline prices would have to rise by another $0.65 to $0.75 per gallon from where they are now just to be “normal”. And, because gasoline prices are low right now, it is very likely that they are going to go up more—perhaps a lot more.
What the politicians, analysts, and pundits are missing is that prices are ratios. Gasoline prices reflect crude oil prices, so let’s use West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to illustrate this crucial point.
Full article: Gasoline Prices Are Not Rising, the Dollar Is Falling (Forbes)