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Line graph showing middle income as declining share of the population, upper income and lower income as increasing shares of the population.
The decades-long war on the American middle class is succeeding. Even the number of people who describe themselves as being middle-class is declining, from 53 percent in 2008 to 49 percent today—and that's with 35 percent of people making less than $30,000 still saying they're middle class, according to the Pew Research Center.

That decline in people who say they're middle class reflects the fact that the American middle class is shrinking. It's not just that middle-income households are taking in a smaller percentage of the income—though that's true, too—but actually making up less of the population. The proportion of adults who live in households earning between two-thirds of the median income and double the median has declined from 60.8 percent in 1971 to 50.7 percent in 2011. Upper-income people have gone from making up 14 percent of the population in 1971 to 20 percent in 2011, meanwhile, and lower-income people have gone from 25 percent to 29 percent. People who are still in that middle class are squeezed in other ways. The median income for households in the middle fell from $72,956 in 2001 to $69,487 in 2010, while, thanks in large part to the housing market crash, median net worth plummeted from $129,582 in 2001 to $93,150 in 2010, having peaked at a bubblicious $152,950.

With numbers like that, no wonder 85 percent of people who describe themselves as middle class say it's harder now to maintain their standard of living than it was a decade ago. And no wonder the percent of middle-class adults who say they expect their children's standard of living to be better than their own has decreased from 51 percent in 2008 to 43 percent today, while the percent expecting their children's standard of living to be worse has increased from 19 percent to 26 percent.

People's incomes and worth are being squeezed, the very existence of a meaningful middle is being squeezed—and it's all taking a toll on their hope for the future. Which is good, in a way. The false hope of wealth has for a long time been used as a weapon against the fight to level the economic playing field and make the wealthy pay their fair share. If a majority of people no longer think the economy is getting better all the time for them and theirs, there may be reason to hope, not for individual wealth, but for a strengthening fight for change.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 08:56 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  then they can VOTE (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, IndieGuy

    All Republican election gains have happened because their side votes in great numbers whether they are in love or not, and our side wrings their hands.  

    VOTE for a strong middle class.  Just VOTE.

    •  Problem is, too often they vote Republican. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What's that old definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result each time?

      Time travel opportunity. Must bring your own weapons. Your safety is not guaranteed, I've only done this once before. Call 866.555.1212.

      by IndieGuy on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 09:42:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is the problem, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IndieGuy, beemerr

        They need to realize this ain't their parents' Republican party anymore. I grew up in a Nixon/Goldwater home and I just don't remember it being like it is today. (my memory isn't the greatest, but am I missing something?)

        Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

        by rreabold on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 10:07:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  President Obama's campaign team is.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brae70, Stude Dude, IndieGuy, beemerr

    ...executing much better this year compared to four years ago.  Much, much better.

    But if he loses, it's because of wage stagnation.  Last week, the union representing Caterpillar workers in IL recommended to the rank and file to accept a wage freeze for the next five years.

    A union recommending a wage freeze not to save a company, as Caterpillar is thriving both financially and operationally.  But so that Cat can thrive even more!!!!!

    First it was the UAW.  Now it's the union representing CAT rank-and-file.

    What is a blue-collar worker to think?

    And where are the Dems?

    Why haven't the Dems spearheaded a PERMANENT increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, of 1,500 per year, to offset some of the wage stagnation?

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 09:04:23 AM PDT

    •  Rec Your Comment (0+ / 0-)

      Rec buttons not working. Way too little outcry about these events.

    •  Obama is a fantastic campaigner. Then he drops us (0+ / 0-)

      all like a hot rock.

      I'm still voting for him again, but I'm terrified he's getting ready to gut the social safety net to shreds, once he can move back to the center after the election. Repubs give him cover, since they are insane, so he can make cuts and look 'moderate.' It infuriates me that he's moving towards doing things that Bush tried and couldn't do.

      WTF, Dems: Just say NO to a Grand Bargain.

      First things first: get him elected.

      But I'd sure like to have Capaigner Obama as President Obama this time. MHO.,

      Life is a school, love is the lesson.

      by means are the ends on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 08:48:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If the Dems spearheaded such an increase, (0+ / 0-)

      do you think it would have happened?

      What part of our current situation don't people understand?  If there is a Republican majority in the House, any Democratic initiative will fail there and then it fails completely.  Bashing Obama and saying "where is?",  "why didn't", "he should have, could have, would have" is meaningless.  It bumps up agains the reality of our political system and how power is currently distributed.

      We don't just need Obama in the White HOuse!  We need Democratic majorities in the House and SEnate and even then, look how hard it was with health care.

  •  One of the things I liked the most about (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brae70, PatriciaVa, IndieGuy

    occupy is that the focus on the 99% circumvented this whole weird delusional conversation we always have here about the middle class.  Americans are really crappy at finding the middle of things.  Consider our ideas of who is "Middle aged."  Do the math, thirty-year-olds!

  •  "middle" is misleading . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, beemerr

    since it implies a Gaussian distribution.  That's no longer (if it ever was) the way wealth is distributed in America.  Wealth is instead skewed (dramatically so) to the top.

    There's the "1%" (which is realistically fewer than 1%)

    There's the "top 20%"  (give or take a few)

    There's the peonage  (some of whom are doing better than others)

    The "middle class" now resides entirely above (well above) the median, "middle" only in the sense that it's between rich and poor.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 09:10:18 AM PDT

  •  Been seeing one ad for a few weeks and a new one (0+ / 0-)

    today following the same theme in the same style, three or four individuals giving personal testimonies, middle-classers for whom Obama's first term has either not helped or has made things worse. Bullshit ads, yes, just letting you know they're out there and there'll be more to come.

    They have not given up on the referendum strategy. Not by a long shot. I know Obama has decided to make it a choice election, but I can't help but wonder if a counter referendum ad or two wouldn't be a bad idea.

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 09:12:24 AM PDT

    •  Totally agree (0+ / 0-)

        I want to see ads that say "Do you remember where we were 3 years ago? Do you remember stock market crashes and 700,000 jobs being lost a month? Romney-Ryan brings back those good ol' days."

         Republicans can't run on their policies, as they're overwhelmingly rejected by voters. So they have to make people disappointed in Obama and cynical enough to say "Nothing can be done." The Dems should be saying, we ARE better off than 3 years ago, and we will work harder to even the playing field in the next 4 years. I don't see that message out there enough, frankly.

  •  The 'middle class (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    has been voting itself out of existence for the last 40 years.  They STILL haven't made the link to the poison that is the republican party, which is really unbelievable.  
    Oh well, I guess it's a natural death (or suicide in this case).  It took about forty years to build the middle class, and it's taken about forty years to destroy it.  The cycle is complete.

    •  Pissing away resources on car-suburbia (0+ / 0-)

      It's expensive when a lot of the population lives in single family homes and drives everywhere. It skews the numbers because for a given salary you're much better off in Europe where you can walk most places (and are healthier as a result and thus pay less for health care, oh and you probably share walls with neighbors and don't need as much heat).

      The US (and not just the rich) has been pissing away resources for years with its relentless pushing of the idea that home and car ownership is what everyone should aspire to.

      Well, we got our wish! Look at the glory!

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 11:53:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rentier Class (0+ / 0-)

        In the US, owning property is seen as a way to undercut an aristocratic "rentier" class. Also, it's an investment that you can liquidate or borrow against when you need money.

        I agree with what you said in general. I'm over 40, and I don't have a house or a car. I also don't carry any credit card debt, though I still have student loans hanging over me. This lack of financial entanglement makes my life a lot more simple and flexible. If I become homeless (which is a very real possibility right now), it's relatively easy for me to step from one living situation into another. My only major burden is my books.

        Le nirvane n'existe pas. - Etienne Lamotte

        by breakingranks on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 07:24:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  especially in uncertain economy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JTinDC, breakingranks

          I know many many people who can't sell their house because it's underwater, and can't look for a (different) job because they can't move geographically. Some rent out the unsaleable house and move anyway, which has its own problems; more stay put and suffer from being stuck. With a job market that's so uncertain and tight, being free to pick up and move is a plus.

          Having said that, I like being rooted in one place at this point in my life.


      •  Love this comment, would've recced it had I read (0+ / 0-)

        it soon enough. Would've recced it 1,000 X if allowed.

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 05:47:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Seems one of the benefits of using less should be (0+ / 0-)

        paying less. The rent is still pretty high in most US cities.

        Affordable housing/rent control, real estate regulation, whatever, call it communism if it makes you feel better, but the cost of putting a basic, decent roof over your head in an urban center with access to public transit needs to be brought in line with current wages.

        Or wages need to be brought in line with current housing costs. Either or. Landlords and local employers need to work it out. Split the difference? Fine.

        WOW - co-inky-dink- just this moment on Up with Chris Hayes they're talking about cities wanting to co-opt suburbs, ALEC tie in. Obama and Dem elites trying to force their liberal urbanism on suburban conservatives, or something.

        Anyhow, great comment, opens doors for many interesting points.

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 06:41:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The "middle class" has voted to slit its throat (0+ / 0-)

    Since I've been a kid. I can't feel too sorry when "we" have been voting to screw the less fortunate &  to Aspire to greed.
    We should be hopeful as long as there are some people fighting for good in America.

    Tipped & rec'ed

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 09:51:36 AM PDT

  •  I imagine (0+ / 0-)

    that including the option of "working class" was never considered by the pollsters.  Gee, I wonder why.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 10:47:30 AM PDT

  •  Middle Class (0+ / 0-)

    The mass of the population would vote if there was a candidate willing to fight for their interests, but there has not been one since Harry Truman.  The Obama administration is much too neoliberal for the American people's taste.
    If the Democrats lose, it will be their responsibility.

  •  If the GOPbaggers take over all hope is gone (0+ / 0-)

    This nation's future will consist of the fortunate few and the serfs in bondage.

    •  At the local and state level, Dem pols.... (5+ / 0-)

      ....have done themselves no favors by increasing regressive taxation.

      In Minneapolis a few months ago, Dem lawmakers, against the wishes of the electorate, pushed through an increase in the sales and gambling taxes to finance a stadium for the Vikings.

      And in Illinois a few years ago, the Dem governor increased the flat income tax by 66% on every working family.

      And I can go on and on.  It's as if Dem lawmakers at the state and local level see poor and middle-class Dems as easy marks.

      Regrettable but true.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 06:13:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh please...there are greedy pols *everywhere*, (0+ / 0-)

        in every political party, and have been as long as politics has existed.

        We have to get better at throwing the bums out and making sure they STAY out. Dem, Rep, Lib, Green, Purple with Pink Polkadots, whatever!

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 06:53:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And if they don't the nation's future is the same. (0+ / 0-)

      Remember there's a Third Party which holds sway in the totality of one party, and at the core of the other. That would be Big Money.

      So until someone comes out and whacks the Corrupt Organizations (RICO) with a big stick, ala trust-buster Teddy Roosevelt, our fate is the same, though the speed with which we get there might be different.

      On Social Issues and Supreme Court we must have Dems elected. On Economy and Wars, that's not really what any election is about. We plebes aren't invited to that discussion. The "Experts" in the political, military, financial realm have that all settled.

      PS: "Experts" in quotes as somehow they get the obvious wrong almost all the time.

      The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

      by Jim P on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 07:00:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yep... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    George Hier, shaharazade

    It is just terrific that things continue to get worse.

    Easy to write if you have a paycheck. Lucky you.

    •  I think she's writing that a lot of people.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P the middle are finally realizing that the middle class is getting squeezed, which IS a good thing.

      They'd been deluding themselves for a long time -- first by keeping up with second incomes and, when that stopped working, by resorting to too much credit.

      Now the bubble is bursting.

      If Obama didn't get Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger; then Bin Laden didn't take down the World Trade Center because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 06:38:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again... (0+ / 0-) can say that if bills aren't reducing you to tears.

        I have to choose whether to continue to treat my degenerating vision or eat. That is the reality of my day today.

        There is nothing good about people hitting bottom like this. And the fact that so many on our side of the aisle can say it is because it serves their political purposes is just as bad as the lack of empathy on the other side.

  •  By the graph... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    60% of the demographic who left the middle class became upper income. This is a good thing, no? More people are gaining ground than losing ground.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 06:18:19 PM PDT

    •  And 40 percent became lower income. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If Obama didn't get Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger; then Bin Laden didn't take down the World Trade Center because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 06:36:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nobody's Gaining Ground. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bush Bites

      The bottom 99% gained zero adjusted family net worth since Reagan.

      Even in the Clinton so-called Boom.
      Image Hosted by

      The George W. Bush and Obama Administrations have certainly been a time of loss for at least the bottom 90%.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 07:04:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Upper vs Lower (0+ / 0-)

      When you look at these numbers, it becomes very clear why the GOP wants to disenfranchise minorities which, I believe, are more likely to be in the lower income class.  This also explains why the race between Obama and Romney is so close, something that I have found inexplicable, until now.  People, in general, notice that more are moving up than down and they want to be part of the upward population.

      The trend has been pretty steady so one cannot claim that it reflect specific political leadership, or lack thereof.  

      I would love to know more of the specifics, such as the age distribution of those numbers?  How much of an impact do women entering the labor force have?  If there is a geographic disparity in the proportions?  


  •  Lotto illiteracy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pengiep, dhshoops
    The false hope of wealth has for a long time been used as a weapon against the fight to level the economic playing field and make the wealthy pay their fair share.

    Don't roof rack me bro', Now the brown's comin' down; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 06:23:30 PM PDT

  •  fdr v. obama (2+ / 0-)

    if obama had done the right thing he would be on a landslide.  

    he took care of the wall st banks, the pharma and insurance cos. and the MIC.  

    he tossed the middle class under the bus.   they are getting wiped out.  

    does he deserve a second term.  no.  but romney is so odious i hope obama wins.  

    our country is screwed.  

    •  Well Even Many of Us Severe Critics Recognize (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that he lacked 2 immense assets of FDR.

      1) A congress that would act.
      2) A nation that had watched 3 years of Republican negligence [compared to action required] that tripled the stock market drop of the original crash and ushered in the Great Depression.

      I'm convinced he could have done far better with messaging and possibly a few policy things, at least cosmetically. 2010 was just about unforgivable.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 07:10:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beaten Dog Syndrome/Learned Helplessness (0+ / 0-)

    To many of us in the middle/working/struggling classes and aren't evangelical, there is a sense that there's nothing we can do to change what's happening (evangelicals are on a mission from God and must vote Republican to get into Heaven. Ronald Regan and Jerry Falwell told them so).

    The New Normal is economic subsistence living for the rest of us.
    *There is no union to ensure full-time employment with benefits and fair wages.
    *We pay more and get less than the fat cats and banksters who pay nothing and get everything.
    *Politicians get lots of money from those very same fat cats and banksters. We have no money, ergo we have no power.

    The system is rigged. Why bother. End of story.

    Warning: That light at the end of the tunnel just might be an oncoming train.

    by history first on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 06:44:20 PM PDT

  •  Income is 1 side of the ledger, expense the other. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites

    While the income stagnates or declines, the inflation -- and it's much higher than official inflation when you count what most people actually spend their money on -- increases constantly.

    And if you want to illustrate the fact in percentages rather than just hard numbers, even for those who's incomes are the same as they were last year, or five years ago, they have less that they can spend.

    So it's both sides of the ledger pushing the squeeze on the middle class.

    Fortunately, this being the major Election-year topic treated of in the media, somebody will offer a real fix for this situation pretty soon.

    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 06:53:15 PM PDT

  •  There's more to it than $ when people identifyy (0+ / 0-)

    themselves as middle class.

    I think the results would be different if "middle income" were used instead of "middle class."

    Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

    by RJDixon74135 on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 06:56:51 PM PDT

  •  I can only go on what I know (0+ / 0-)

    Massachusetts is a great state to live. I have never had any bad experiances finding a job, even now. My employer now has gone out of his way to work around college.

    One question though: How is it possible that Mass. is a right to work state? when I found that out recentley I was shocked.

  •  Will Romney say anything about anything? (0+ / 0-)

    Not if he can help it.

    The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

    by psnyder on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 07:06:03 PM PDT

  •  buuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of the 10% decline in the middle class, 6% changed to upper class, and only 4% changed to lower class.  That's progress, isn't it?

    "A recent study reveals Americans' heads are larger than they were 150 years ago but sadly there is no indication that the extra room is used for anything." - entlord

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 07:08:03 PM PDT

    •  Is the Change Real (0+ / 0-)

      or just the personal perception of those interviewed who want to identify with their economic betters? When was the question asked, during the credit card maxed out society prior to 2007, or a later date? Hard to believe any sane person making less in real dollars than they were 20 year s ago would voluntarily elevate themselves to the upper income classes.

      •  Why post the chart at all then? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sewaneepat, tandrews

        The chart either says something meaningful, or it doesn't. Which is it?

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 10:29:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Agree... (0+ / 0-)

          The chart creates more questions than answers.  Industries have come and gone in 40 years, demographics have changed dramatically.  It gives no insight into the reasons why two grow and the other shrinks thus leaving things open to speculation.  A more complete picture is necessary before walking out on the ledge on this one.  

  •  Middle Class = White Collar (0+ / 0-)

    Middle class is a status perception. You can be making minimum wage, or even have 0 income, and still perceive yourself as middle class.

    The perception of being middle class relates to getting a college education and being qualified to work at a white collar job. (Whether you can actually get that job is another story). People also tend to consider themselves as middle class if they have an appreciation for cultural and spiritual matters. The taxi driver that reads The Iliad or The Ramayana while waiting for a fare probably considers him or herself middle class.

    This is why it's been so hard to unite people as a "class" to fight for their economic self interest. Class is bound up with status and identity, and one way people resist attacks on their material well-being is to retreat into the world-ordering of the mind where nothing can be taken away from them.

    So when you tell some one that they are no longer part of the middle class, they aren't going to fight to take their middle class status back: in their minds, their status has not changed - they will just look for other ways besides salary to qualify for it.

    The 99% is a good concept because it shows we are all in this together, and it doesn't threaten to redefine anyone's status. If you were a teacher last year, but unemployed now, you're still part of the 99%. If you're a janitor who is a jazz musician by night, you are still part of the 99%.

    Personally I never liked the term "middle class" because it carries an elitist assumption of being better than a "lower class". We would have to oblige some people to be "lower" in order to call ourselves "middle".

    Le nirvane n'existe pas. - Etienne Lamotte

    by breakingranks on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 07:11:08 PM PDT

  •  obama is NOT for the middleclass (0+ / 0-)

    he talks big about the middleclass.  and he did nothing for them.  

    he is a real fraud.   he is practicing 100%  corporatism.   all his policies have helped the military and wall st  with a few crumbs to battleground states like ohio/michigan .  

    the country needed fdr and we got goldman sachs puppet.  

    follow the money.  see who obama's largest contributors have been for the past 5 years.   ugly.  

    •  Middle class are the biggest beneficiaries... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....of his stimulus spending and tax cuts.

      You can also add the credit card regulations and health care law as benefitting the middle class.

      If Obama didn't get Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger; then Bin Laden didn't take down the World Trade Center because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 07:19:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Strictly looking at the numbers (0+ / 0-)

    Six percent of the middle class has moved into the upper class, while four percent of the middle class has moved into the lower class over the last 40 years.  That's not absolutely horrible news -- more have moved up than have moved down.

    The above chart only deals with adults, though.  I suspect the number of children living in lower income homes has outpaced the adults, for two very closely related reasons:  One, lower income homes tend to produce more children; and two, immigrant families tend to have more children.  

    •  Why does everybody say that? (0+ / 0-)

      Any backwards movement is bad news -- and 40 percent is quite a bit of backwards movement.

      And that's ignoring the fact that basically no lower income people moved up into the middle class.

      You're supposed to have upward mobility -- that's the whole  reason for capitalism -- if you can only guarantee that for 60 percent of middle incomers and 0 percent of lower incomers, you're screwed.

      If Obama didn't get Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger; then Bin Laden didn't take down the World Trade Center because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 07:24:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How about this? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jake formerly of the LP

      Imagine if the pattern continued.

      60 percent of middle incomers would keep moving up to the upper class, 40 percent would keep dropping down into the lower class, and the lower class would have absolutely no upward mobility and the middle class would eventually be depleted.

      You think the country would be in a good situation?

      If Obama didn't get Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger; then Bin Laden didn't take down the World Trade Center because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 07:31:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Would be great if (0+ / 0-)

    ordinary working people woke up and quit thinking they will be rich someday or that they are middle class when they are poor. Thing is if they do how in the hell can they 'change' that when both sides D's and R's do not represent them.

    The Democrat's are not fighting for them. They are the kinder face of deregulation, privatizing, outsourcing, neoliberal free market  globalized disaster capitalism. They are only interested in increasing the profits of multinational's and FIRE. Ordinary people, workers are just a profit loss.

    As for helping people who need help as they are squeezed out  of a livable income they push austerity and Grand Bargains with the Ayn Rand crowd. The political electoral system is rigged it's Bain vs Goldman Sachs. We are screwed no matter who we elect, it just a matter of degrees. The by-partisan political kabuki in the last 4 years has made it quite clear that if the Dems win it's still going to be a government for and by the global oligarchical collectivists.

    The Mormon and his sociopath VP are worse, but most 'middle class' people I know have their bs meters on full tilt. Sure they will most likely vote for Obama but then what? Sure as hell isn't going to get better until we have a party that actually is democratic, instead of this Third Way lot who own and run our party.

    This time around they don't even bother to feel our pain, just threaten us with the likes of Arnie Duncan, Simpson and Erskine-Bowles. btw Erskine Bowles really thinks Ryan is the cat's meow. So tell me again how the Democrat's are going to represent any of the people common good.          

  •  bain V goldman sachs (0+ / 0-)


    that is perfect.   your writing above is dead on correct.   i am going to steal your line.  

    so true.  so sad.  

    i don't know what is worse,  the repugs that are pretty upfront about screwing the middlebrows or the dimwits that are total phoneys who are financed by wall st and talk happy horseshit to middlebrows for votes to give them power.  

    bain V goldman,  

    love it.  

  •  Smell The Coffee (0+ / 0-)

        When the people who are in the bottom 50% realize they're in the lower class, and not in the "middle class", there's a chance we'll be able to make some progress.  

  •  Yes. And Obama says he'll cut SS and Medicare (0+ / 0-)

    after the election, when he expects Repubs to join him in a "Grand Bargain"  if he's re-elected.

    So yeah, utterly hopeless.

    To paraphrase something I read recently:

    So, should I:

    Vote Republican, and take the fast train to Hell.

    Vote Dem, and take the slow walk to Hell.

    Nah, I think I'll vote Libertarian, and take the Flaming Catapult to Hell!

    Why not, it's where all the Beltway politicians agree we have to go: austerity, cuts, and focusing on deficits when no one outside the Beltway who's honest gives a F*%K about the deficit.

    We need jobs, stimulus, and the government and Fed helping Americans. Austerity doesn't work. We know it doesn't work. Look at Europe: austerity is destroying their economies. And Iceland is doing fine, thank you.

    Instead, we get arguments about how slow or fast to make cuts, and how to divvy up and parcel out American taxpayers' money to which grifters.

    I give up. I wish I was young enough to leave the country, but no one will have me now, without enough $$$$.

    So, so hopeless. Hopeless beyond belief. And I come from an educated, solidly middle-class background.

    We are just f(*ked.


    Life is a school, love is the lesson.

    by means are the ends on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 08:40:23 PM PDT

  •  bain v goldman (0+ / 0-)

    if you people must know,  what has happened in amerika the past 40 years is militaristic corporatism.  

    the proper word is the F word.  fascism.  look up how mussolini put it together.  

    they don't own the industry,  they control it.  

    obama is just the latest iteration.  he has been W's third term.  

    from geithner to pentagon.  

    yea,  i'll for for the fraud,  but only because the alternative is really batshit crazy.  

    but let's not pretend O is some champion of the people.  he is nothing like FDR or LBJ......he is goldman sachs.  

    reality based analysis.   if you want crazy fantasies of what reality is, join the repugs.  

  •  The question is: What change? (0+ / 0-)

    The graph might explain why so many people these days don't join political paries.  The downward trend looks like a nearly uninterrupted straight line from the days when Gerald Ford was President.  A bit more than 20 years of Replublican administrations and a bit less than 16 years of Democratic administrations, and no way to tell which was which from that line.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 01:10:19 AM PDT

  •  This can play out in many ways (0+ / 0-)

    You can not assume that this trend will translate into voting for one political party or the other.  People may lose faith in both parties.  Where it goes from there is yet to be seen.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 03:49:30 AM PDT

  •  Question on "household" definition (0+ / 0-)

    My observation is that more and more people are living in one-person households -- so if you measure "household income," it's going to be lower because there are fewer multi-income-earner households. In other words, I and my ex, if we were still together, would still be at the double-the-median range, but each of us separately are nowhere near that. That doesn't mean we're actually poorer (although yes, it's more expensive to support one person in a separate household) -- it means the measuring stick is broken.

    I also question the statistics given, as people who are living doubled up or in multi-generational households don't file joint tax returns and therefore may not be counted as a single "household."

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