The Shrinking Middle Class

According to recent stories from the
BBC and
The Christian Science Monitor the middle class continues to suffer under the current administration.

The BBC’s article is largely based on a recently released report by the Economic Policy Institute, a “non-profit and non-partisan think tank.” According to their report ” average wages have fallen, job satisfaction has declined and the rich-poor gap widened.”

Worst of all, the BBC reports that despite an improving economy the institute found that wages were “eroding,” largely accounted for by the fact that “annual wages for staff in contracting industries were an average of $51,270 a year, while those in expanding were paid just $30,368.” In other words, more and more middle class workers are being forced to move from manufacturing jobs to service jobs.

The report also found that “the ranks of the poor grew by 1.3 million people to 35.9 million,” increasing evidence of the growing gap between rich and poor.

Using entirely different sources, the Christian Science Monitor article echoes most of these findings. Michael Alter of SurePayroll Inc calls this recovery a “”pay less’ economy.” Statistics tend to back his observations up, for as the Monitor article points out the median income in America fell by $1,500 between 2000 and 20003.

Statistics from indicate that the statistical middle class, those between $25,000 and $75,000 per year, has declined by 1.2 percent while households making less than $25,000 grew by 1.5 percent.

Some economists have begun to wonder whether California’s “hourglass economy,” an economy where bottom level and top level jobs grow faster than middle income jobs, isn’t a bellweather of America’s future.

Let’s hope not, because the American Dream, and the dream of democracy itself, is dependent on a growing middle class.