22 Statistics That the Middle Class in America Should See

Michael Snyder put together his “22 Statistics That Prove The Middle Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America” He sources each one here.

  1. 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
  2. 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007
  3. 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
  4. 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
  5. A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
  6. 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
  7. Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
  8. Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
  12. The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
  13. Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
  14. In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
  15. The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
  16. In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
  17. More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
  18. For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
  19. This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
  20. Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.
  21. Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
  22. The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

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4 responses to “22 Statistics That the Middle Class in America Should See

  1. My new favorite show (I know I say that a lot) is Penn & Teller’s “Bullshit”. I hope they read this guys article and do a show on it.

    I’d encourage everyone to go read the article behind this post. It’s one of those topics that 10 people reading the same thing (statistics) can and will draw completely different conclusions based on their world/life view.

    I came away thinking that rarely do you see such a populist nonsensical rant actually get published. The authors’ entire premise is flawed, implying that there is someone who wants to get rid of the middle class.

    The facts he cites are really interesting, and I’m sure they are completely correct. Most of these conditions are caused not by some external force bent on the extermination of Bedford Falls, but by our own complacency as Americans who generally believe the following

    1. “I don’t have to worry about retirement, Social Security has my back”
    2. “Its OK to own 4 HD TV’s, subscribe to Netflix, and MLB Season Pass, but not save for my kids college education”
    3. “Its OK to own a home with a mortgage so big I can’t put away any money each week for a rainy day”
    4. “I have the right to a job that pays more than McDonalds even if I don’t have the skills or education to justify it”
    5. “I’m American so I deserve to get paid more than those in other countries”
    6. “It’s OK to complain about government and taxes even though I am one of the 50% of American’s who does not pay federal taxes”
    7. “If you’re rich it must mean you screwed people and stole their money”

    Our culture has strayed so far that we read an article full of facts about how fiscally irresponsible and complacent we have become, and are convinced that “it’s the man” trying to keep us down!

    Guess what we can choose to do today….

    1. Max out our 401K or IRA each year instead of buying more stuff we don’t need
    2. Choose to go to college and get a degree so our wage earning potential is higher
    3. Choose to purchase a smaller home even though we could get a mortgage for a bigger one.
    4. Choose a career where our skills cannot be outsourced and provide unique value to our employer.
    5. Choose not rely on a union to guarantee our jobs and our wages, take control ourselves.
    6. Find financially successful people and model their habits vs. vilifying them – someday we’ll end up like them if we pay attention, and create better jobs for all of us along the way.

    Wake Up America – stop listening to the populist whiners who actually want to keep you feeling like a victim so you’ll keep voting for the people who give you free stuff and perpetuate the cycle.

    A culture of dependency and entitlement is exactly what put us in this scenario.

    Every American should be both pissed off at the fact that these statistics are real, and at the same time, embarrassed that we have done it to ourselves. We are our own enemy. Not the Chinese, not Wall St., not even government (we have the government we elect).

    Let’s use the embarrassment and decide to change our lives. Let’s use the anger to change our government.

  2. Hey guys, it’s been awhile. (your weekly is now almost daily – keep it up!) .

    Anyway…
    This blog touches upon something I’ve questioned throughout this decade. Are we really better off now then we were before?

    The example I always used is:
    My grandfather raised a family of two, bought a new car every two years (with cash), smoked his favorite cigars, owned a nice home in the suburbs with a huge flower and vegetable garden. What did he do for a living? He was a security guard at Sylvania. How do you think a security guard in 2010 compares? The answer is clear.

    The middle class is dead and the very wealthy have taken over, and they keep taking and taking.

    The thing that astounds me is that the very people who are getting left out are the very ones that seem to be supporting the party of wealth.

    But the Democrats performance is so poor that it has me thinking it is time to seek an alternative party or (gulp) become a sworn lifelong Republican again. But that doesn’t solve the problem.

    It’s time to ask what Ronald Reagan (whom I feel is the best President I’ve lived under) asked when he was running for President, (paraphrasing here): ‘Ask yourself if you’re better off this DECADE than you were in the ones before that.’

    If having a flat screen TV, a gaming system and the internet in every home indicates progress, then when I compare that to what my grandfather had, I respectfully disagree.

    In a related but side note regarding the direction of this country. I’ve got a new topic for you guys.

    Iran is now going to pay its residents to have children to increase its population (WSJ, 7/28/2010). It is clear what the downstream ramifications are.

    Brazil, India, and China have all become economic powerhouses because of their population and ‘coming of age’. 2-3 decades from now, it isn’t a stretch to see Iran in the fold. And like China, American companies cannot wait to sell their goods (if we even manufacture anymore) to them.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but clearly America is losing its competitive edge. That’s your next blog discussion, gentlemen.

  3. Michael Dunne

    I looked through the sources, and they didn’t really look all that impressive. Now if they had more of the World Bank, or the OECD, or the various US Bureau of statistics, even then CIA world fact book, then it would be different.

    Smirkingchip.com just doesn’t cut it.

    Now this would be an interesting set of stats to look up: Median income by individual (not average or perc capita by household) in 1975 dollars. Then match that to the household income slope.

    Hard figure so find or deduce from the internet. I suspect it shows income flattening out with productivity in the 70s and 80s and then some collateral effect from the three booms (S&L and Wall Street boom of the 80s, the high tech/communications boom of the late 1990s and housing boom of the 2005 time frame).

  4. Pingback: Episode 90 – Aliens, Leaks and Movies – A Very Special PoliTalk Episode « The Official Blog of PoliTalk – The Weekly Political Podcast

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