30 Facts That Prove The American Middle-Class Is Being Destroyed

7 comments

Posted on 22nd August 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

The 30 statistics that you are about to read prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed.  Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a staggering pace.  Yes, the stock market has soared to unprecedented heights this year and there are a few isolated areas of the country that are doing rather well for the moment.  But overall, the long-term trends that are eviscerating the middle class just continue to accelerate. 

Over the past decade or so, the percentage of Americans that are working has gone way down, the quality of our jobs has plummeted dramatically and the wealth of the typical American household has fallen precipitously.  Meanwhile, we have watched median household income decline for five years in a row, we have watched the rate of homeownership in this country decline for eight years in a row and dependence on the government is at an all-time high.  Being a part of the middle class in the United States at this point can be compared to playing a game of musical chairs.  We can all see chairs being removed from the game, and we are all desperate to continue to have a chair every time the music stops playing.  The next time the music stops, will it be your chair that gets removed?

And in this economy, you don’t even have to lose your job to fall out of the middle class.  Our paychecks are remaining very stable while the cost of almost everything that we spend money on consistently (food, gas, health insurance, etc.) is going up rapidly.  Bloomberg calls this “the no-raises recovery”…

Call it the no-raises recovery: Five years of economic expansion have done almost nothing to boost paychecks for typical American workers while the rich have gotten richer.

 

Meager improvements since 2009 have barely kept up with a similarly tepid pace of inflation, raising the real value of compensation per hour by only 0.5 percent. That marks the weakest growth since World War II, with increases averaging 9.2 percent at a similar point in past expansions, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by Bloomberg.

There are so many families out there that are struggling right now.  So many husbands and wives find themselves constantly fighting with one another about money, and they don’t even understand that what is happening to them is the result of long-term economic trends that are the result of decades of incredibly foolish decisions.  Without middle class jobs, we cannot have a middle class.  And those are precisely the jobs that have been destroyed during the Clinton, Bush and Obama years.  Without enough good jobs to go around, we have seen the middle class steadily shrink and the ranks of the poor grow rapidly.

The following are 30 stats to show to anyone that does not believe the middle class is being destroyed…

1. In 2007, the average household in the top 5 percent had 16.5 times as much wealth as the average household overall.  But now the average household in the top 5 percent has 24 times as much wealth as the average household overall.

2. According to a study recently discussed in the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.

3. One out of every seven Americans rely on food banks at this point.

4. One out of every four military families needs help putting enough food on the table.

5. 79 percent of the people that use food banks purchase “inexpensive, unhealthy food just to have enough to feed their families”.

6. One out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is “in collections“.

7. Only 48 percent of all Americans can immediately come up with $400 in emergency cash without borrowing it or selling something.

8. The price of food continues to rise much faster than the paychecks of most middle class families.  For example, the average price of ground beef has just hit a brand new all-time record high of $3.884 a pound.

9. According to one recent study, 40 percent of all households in the United States are experiencing financial stress right now.

10. The overall homeownership rate has fallen to the lowest level since 1995.

11. The homeownership rate for Americans under the age of 35 is at an all-time low.

12. According to one recent survey, 52 percent of all Americans cannot even afford the house that they are living in right now.

13. The average age of vehicles on America’s roads has hit an all-time high of 11.4 years.

14. Last year, one out of every four auto loans in the United States was made to someone with subprime credit.

15. Amazingly, one out of every six men in their prime working years (25 to 54) do not have a job at this point.

16. One recent study found that 47 percent of unemployed Americans have “completely given up” looking for a job.

17. 36 percent of Americans do not have a single penny saved for retirement.

18. According to one survey, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

19. More than half of all working Americans make less than $30,000 a year in wages.

20. Only four of the twenty fastest growing occupations in America require a Bachelor’s degree or better.

21.  In America today, one out of every ten jobs is filled by a temp agency.

22. Due to a lack of decent jobs, half of all college graduates are still relying on their parents financially when they are two years out of school.

23. Median household income in the United States is about 7 percent lower than it was in the year 2000 after adjusting for inflation.

24. Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.

25. It is hard to believe, but more than one out of every five children in the United States is living in poverty in 2014.

26. According to one study, there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity.

27. Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin.  But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceeds the number of women that have jobs.

28. If the middle class was actually thriving, we wouldn’t have more than a million public school children that are homeless.

29. If you can believe it, Americans received more than 2 trillion dollars in benefits from the federal government last year alone.

30. In terms of median wealth per adult, the United States is now in just 19th place in the world.

7 Comments
  1. Administrator says:

    Michael is a Doom Machine

    14 Reasons the U.S. Economic Bubble is Ready to Burst

    By Michael Snyder

    Did you know that a major event just happened in the financial markets that we have not seen since the financial crisis of 2008? If you rely on the mainstream media for your news, you probably didn’t even hear about it. Just prior to the last stock market crash, a massive amount of money was pulled out of junk bonds. Now it is happening again. In fact, as you will read about below, the market for high yield bonds just experienced “a 6-sigma event”. But this is not the only indication that the U.S. economy could be on the verge of very hard times. Retail sales are extremely disappointing, mortgage applications are at a 14 year low and growing geopolitical storms around the world have investors spooked. For a long time now, we have been enjoying a period of relative economic stability even though our underlying economic fundamentals continue to get even worse. Unfortunately, there are now a bunch of signs that this period of relative stability is about to end. The following are 14 reasons why the U.S. economy’s bubble of false prosperity may be about to burst…

    #1 The U.S. junk bond market just experienced “a 6-sigma event” earlier this month. In other words, it is an event that is only supposed to have a chance of 1 in 500 million of happening. Billions of dollars are being pulled out of junk bonds right now, and that has some analysts wondering if a financial crash is right around the corner.

    #2 The last time that we saw a junk bond rout of this magnitude was back during the financial crash of 2008. In fact, as the Telegraph recently explained, bonds usually crash before stocks do…

    The credit market usually leads the equity market during turning points, as happened when credit markets cracked first in 2008.

    Will the same thing happen this time around?

    #3 Retail sales have missed expectations for three months in a row and we just had the worst reading since January.

    #4 Things have gotten so bad that even Wal-Mart is really struggling. Same-store sales at Wal-Mart have declined for five quarters in a row and the outlook for the future is not particularly promising.

    #5 The four week moving average for mortgage applications just hit a 14 year low. It is now even lower than it was during the worst moments of the financial crisis of 2008.

    #6 The tech industry is supposed to be booming, but mass layoffs in the tech industry are actually 68 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

    #7 According to the Federal Reserve, 40 percent of all households in the United States are currently showing signs of financial stress.

    #8 The U.S. homeownership rate has fallen to the lowest level since 1995.

    #9 According to one survey, 76 percent of Americans do not have enough money saved to cover six months of expenses.

    #10 Rumblings of a stock market correction have become so loud that even the mainstream media is reporting on it. For example, just check out this CNN headline from earlier this month: “Is a correction near? Wall Street on edge”.

    #11 The civil war in Iraq is spiraling out of control, and Barack Obama has just announced that he is going to send 130 troops to the country in a “humanitarian” capacity. Iraq is the 7th largest oil producing nation on the entire planet, and if the flow of oil is disrupted that could have serious consequences.

    #12 As a result of the conflict in Ukraine, the United States, Canada and the European Union have slapped sanctions on Russia. In return, Russia has slapped sanctions on them. Will this slowdown in global trade significantly harm the U.S. economy?

    #13 The three day cease-fire between Hamas and Israel is about to end, and Hamas officials are saying that they are preparing for a “long battle”. If a resolution is not found soon, we could potentially see a full-blown regional war erupt in the Middle East.

    #14 The number of Ebola deaths continues to grow at an exponential rate, and if the virus starts spreading inside the United States it has the potential to pretty much shut down our entire economy.

    Meanwhile, things look even more dire in much of the rest of the globe.

    For example, the economic slowdown has gotten so bad in some nations over in Europe that they are actually experiencing deflation…

    Portugal has crashed into deep deflation and Italy’s inflation rate has fallen to zero as the eurozone flirts with recession, automatically pushing these countries further towards a debt compound spiral.

    The slide comes amid signs of a deepening slowdown in the eurozone core, with even Germany flirting with possible recession. Germany’s ZEW index of investor confidence plunged from 27.1 to 8.6 in July, the sharpest fall since June 2012, during the European sovereign debt crisis. “The European Central Bank has to act now,” said Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS.

    And in Japan, GDP just contracted at a 6.8 percent annual rate during the second quarter…

    Japan’s economy suffered its worst contraction since 2011 in the second quarter as consumer spending on big items slumped in the wake of a sales tax rise.

    Gross domestic product shrunk by an annualized 6.8% in the three months ended June, Japan’s Cabinet Office said Wednesday. The result was actually better than the 7% contraction expected by economists.

    On a quarterly basis, Japan’s GDP dropped by 1.7% as business and housing investment declined. Japan’s economy last suffered a hit of this magnitude after the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster.

    There is no way that this bubble of false prosperity was going to last forever. It was never real to begin with. It was just based on a pyramid of debt and false promises. In fact, the condition of the global financial system is now far worse than it was just prior to the financial crisis of 2008.

    Sadly, most people do not understand these things. Most people just assume that our leaders have fixed whatever caused the problems last time. And when the next crisis arrives, they will be totally blindsided by it.

    22nd August 2014 at 6:34 am

  2. whatever says:

    He is a doom machine, and yet he is oddly chipper. I think I heard him on a podcast recently, might have been King World News? interesting chap.

    And certainly energetic and hardworking. I think he runs at least three websites?

    End Of The American Dream
    http://endoftheamericandream.com/

    InvestmentWatch
    http://investmentwatchblog.com/

    The Economic Collapse
    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/

    And on these websites he posts new articles constantly. Most of his cited facts stand up to scrutiny and are sourced.

    I think he’s some kind of Christian. Whatever kind of Christian he is, we need more of them. He’s a one man force to be reckoned with, and he backs his conclusions up with good data. I like him. Even if I don’t always agree with his viewpoint.

    22nd August 2014 at 7:48 am

  3. Thinker says:

    While we’re on the subject of doom… more Neocon fear-mongering to benefit the MIC, or a real possibility? (Maybe Stucky will want to start one of his brackets.)

    Senator Inhofe warns of potential terrorist attacks on U.S. soil

    …as ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the top issue was national security.

    “We’re in the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in as a nation,” Senator Inhofe told Fox 25′s Phil Cross.

    “ISIS, they are really bad terrorists, they’re so bad even Al Qaida is afraid of them,” Inhofe said reflecting on the recent beheading of American journalist James Foley. Beyond the beheading, Inhofe said the current terror organizations are not going to stay contained to the Middle East. “They’re crazy out there and they’re rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city and people just can’t believe that’s happening.”

    Inhofe blames policy decisions from the Obama administration and cuts in defense spending for putting the country in what he calls a dangerous situation.

    “He’s [President Obama] going to have to come up with something that we’re going to do because they’re holding another hostage in place and the problem is, the President says all these things and he never does them,” Inhofe said.

    Inhofe said he hopes after the mid-term elections there will be more Republicans in the Senate and more of a willingness for both parties to work on restoring cuts to defense spending.

    22nd August 2014 at 9:43 am

  4. Administrator says:

    Defense spending in 2002 was $420 billion.

    Today it is $840 billion.

    This is nothing but warmongering propaganda.

    I thought the trillions we’ve spent on DHS since 2002 was supposed to protect us from terrorists. Are these douchebags in Congress telling us we wasted that money?

    There have been no cuts in military spending. The spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have declined. They weren’t part of the base Defense budget.

    Lies. Lies and more lies.

    Check out the defense “cuts” for yourself.

    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_2002_2019USr_15s1li211mcn_30f

    22nd August 2014 at 10:13 am

  5. Thinker says:

    That’s what I thought, too. Besides, I don’t think we really have to worry about Islamist terrorists on US soil: Subtle Message to ISIS

    22nd August 2014 at 10:52 am

  6. Iska Waran says:

    #7 is the most shocking to me. Some of them are ridiculous. What the hell is food insecurity anyway (#26)?

    22nd August 2014 at 10:59 am

  7. Peaceout says:

    It is a truly sad state of affairs, Iska is right number 7 is shocking, it is hard to imagine how that statistic could possibly be, no wonder most folks feel like they are in dire straights.

    Snyder is depressing, I was going to wait until noon before I started drinking but I think I will just start now.

    Senator Inhofe is another prime example of the buffoons WE continue to elect into office, listening to that tool is almost as depressing as reading Snyder.

    Cheers!

    22nd August 2014 at 1:02 pm

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