Middle-class incomes in Michigan fell between 1979 and 2007, even though the state's overall economy grew. A new study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that over the past three decades, Michigan’s middle-class workers did worse than middle-class U.S. workers in general because collective bargaining had eroded more in Michigan than in the rest of the country.
When you are at the very top, the middle must look higher than it really is, at least according to Mitt Romney’s latest financial optical illusion. In an interview today on ABC’s "Good Morning America," host George Stephanopoulos asked Romney how he would define middle-class income. “Is $100,000 middle income?’’ Stephanopoulos asked. Romney replied:
No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.
Several new economic reports out in time for Labor Day point to long-term trends that are driving a declining standard of living for America’s middle- and low-income workers. Here’s a quick summary (click on chart to expand).
If you’re in the top 1/1000th of the U.S. income earners, you already got one. Since 1980, a household making $1.5 million in 2010 has received a pay increase of more than 100 percent, after adjusting for inflation, according to New York Times reporter David Leonhardt (click on chart at left to expand).
Leonhardt points to inequality and a long-term slowdown in the economy as behind the nation’s current woes. This economic slowdown began after the 2001 recession, which never had a strong recovery.
The median net worth of white households is 20 times greater than that of black households and 18 times greater than that of Latino households, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center, which attributes the increase to the decline in the housing market and the ensuing recession. From 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth fell by 66 percent among Latino households and 53 percent among black households, compared with just 16 percent among white households.
Just in time for April 15, new data shows that since 1979, the nation’s overall average tax rate—the share of income paid in taxes—has fallen slightly, but for those at the top of the earnings ladder, this share has fallen dramatically. The analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) also points out:
At the same time that the tax burden has shifted away from the wealthy, this same top income group has enjoyed massively disproportionate income gains. Between 1992 and 2007, a time in which income for the average household and top one percent grew 13 percent and 123 percent, respectively, the income for the top 400 households grew fully 399 percent.
The richest 5 percent in the United States now own 65 percent of the nation’s wealth—making the wealth gap even more unequal here than the already gaping income gap. A new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) cites foreclosures and falling housing values as contributing to the devastation of the net worth—the wealth—of millions of U.S. households.