Middle Class/Widening Wealth Gap

Double-Dip Recession: Is Your Small Business Ready?

Posted on Monday, July 04, 2011

Economists are in a heated debate. Some analysts say it's possible a double-dip recession could hit later this year or in early 2012. If it does, are you ready? Is your pipeline full of new opportunities? Are you easily finding new business? Have the orders been flowing consistently from your existi...

Household Wealth Gets Strong Bounce Even as Home Equity Falls

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

Home equity continued to head south during the first part of the year, but losses were eclipsed by another big jump in the value of financial assets as the stock market sustained positive movement. This, combined with a further reduction in overall debt levels, pushed household net worth higher du...

America's Poor Twice As Likely To Say U.S. Is In A Depression: Gallup

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

The recession might have officially ended last year. But to many of America's poorest citizens, the economy certainly feels like depression. According to a new poll by Gallup, 55 percent of Americans believe the United States is currently in either a recession or a depression. Specifically, 26 perc...

Who's buying homes? The rich

Posted on Friday, March 18, 2011

NEW YORK - The rich are different from you and me: They're buying real estate. After four straight years of declines, sales of million-dollar homes and condos rose last year in all 20 major metro areas, according to DataQuick Information Systems. On average, these cities saw an 18.6% jump in high-...

Americans' Wealth Jumps 3.8 Percent -- Thanks To The Stock Market

Posted on Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thanks to a rebounding stock market, Americans' household wealth increased by $2.1 trillion last year, even as high unemployment and a sagging real estate market weighed down the economic recovery. At the end of last year, American households saw their net worth rise 3.8 percent over the previous ...

America’s Endangered Middle Class

Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

EVENT SUMMARY Conservatives and progressives divide over how best to restore the promise of a broad middle class society, a debate especially fraught due to the severe economic challenges ahead. Should Congress reduce budget deficits first? Or do we increase social investment and count on growth to...

The Widening Gap Between Company Productivity And Workers Wages 'Redolent Of Scrooge' [CHART]

Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

As corporate America picks up steam -- The Economist described the current profit-reporting season as "shaping up to be one of the best ever" -- when will employee compensation catch up? If the history of the last several decades is any indicator, it could be a while. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor...

Economic Recovery Fails to Ease Financial Stress on U.S. Households

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A rise in stock prices has helped to grow consumers’ net worth, but financial duress related to housing and a weak job market are weighing heavy on U.S. households and overshadowing any assurances that an economic recovery is underway. The nonprofit credit counseling agency CredAbility has release...

American Manufacturing Slowly Rotting Away: How Industries Die

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I wrote in a previous post about why America's manufacturing sector, despite record output, is actually in very deep trouble: record output doesn't prove the sector healthy when we are running a huge trade deficit in manufactured goods, i.e. consuming more goods than we produce and plugging the gap ...

How the middle class became the underclass

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NEW YORK -- Are you better off than your parents? Probably not if you're in the middle class. Incomes for 90% of Americans have been stuck in neutral, and it's not just because of the Great Recession. Middle-class incomes have been stagnant for at least a generation, while the wealthiest tier has ...

How the middle class became the underclass

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NEW YORK -- Are you better off than your parents? Probably not if you're in the middle class. Incomes for 90% of Americans have been stuck in neutral, and it's not just because of the Great Recession. Middle-class incomes have been stagnant for at least a generation, while the wealthiest tier has ...

Before the recession, black-owned businesses boomed

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

The number of black-owned businesses grew much faster than the national rate during the five years before the recession began, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The ranks of black firms shot up more than 60 percent from 2002 to 2007, compared with the overall national i...

Winning the Future Means Closing the Skills Gap

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

In his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined a plan for the United States to win the future through better education, smarter innovation and broader investment. He would have done well to invoke another favorite phrase--"the fierce urgency of now", itself borrowed from Dr. Martin Lu...

How Income Inequality Helped Spark the Great Recession

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Thirteen years ago, the economists Sara Solnick and David Hemenway conducted a study that revealed a great deal about how Americans define happiness. Subjects, all of whom were middle class or lower, were asked which they wanted more: to earn $50,000 while everyone else got only half as much, or to ...

The rich and the rest

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

What to do (and not do) about inequality APART from being famous and influential, Hu Jintao, David Cameron, Warren Buffett and Dominique Strauss-Kahn do not obviously have a lot in common. So it tells you something about the breadth of global concerns about inequality that China’s president, Brita...

Defining poverty / Measure by measure

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

MOST people have an inherent sense of what it means to be poor. But choosing a definition is much trickier. Is poverty an absolute or relative condition? What is a decent standard of living? Such questions have dogged America’s social scientists for decades. This month the Census Bureau published a ...

A special report on global leaders

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

In the information age, brainy people are rewarded with wealth and influence, says Robert Guest. What does this mean for everyone else? TOMMY GALLAGHER was working across the street when the planes hit the Twin Towers. “As we evacuated, we could see people jumping out of windows,” he recalls. Then...

A special report on global leaders

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Taking stock of the world’s plutocrats MOST people would describe a dollar millionaire as rich, yet many millionaires would disagree. They do not compare themselves with teachers or shop assistants but with the other parents at their children’s private schools. To count the number of rich people i...

Tumbling from middle-class security, and struggling to regain it

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011

Five years ago, an automated voice on the phone would not have reduced Sondi Moore to tears. But five years ago, she was not behind on her electric bill. A couple of days after Christmas, Moore, 63, called Dominion Virginia Power to pay her bill, which was overdue - again. She was desperate to avo...

Homelessness In The Middle Class: Stable Families Reduced To Poverty

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011

. -- Three and a half years ago, Kathleen Cooke was breathing easy. Having left her well-paying job for a new career as a teacher, she spent a blissful summer with her kids, sipping lemonade and baking cookies. But within months, the life she had built evaporated. When she failed to secure a new ...

A Dozen Ways to Eliminate the Middle Class

Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cleaning out my files at year's end, I came across notes that I wrote in early 2002 on a dozen ways to eliminate America's middle class through the actions of government and private industry. I must have put the notes away because it did not seem possible that all these things could come to pass. Ho...

The Rise of the New Global Elite

Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011

F. Scott Fitzgerald was right when he declared the rich different from you and me. But today’s super-rich are also different from yesterday’s: more hardworking and meritocratic, but less connected to the nations that granted them opportunity—and the countrymen they are leaving ever further behind. ...

Homelessness In The Middle Class: Stable Families Reduced To Poverty

Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011

Three and a half years ago, Kathleen Cooke was breathing easy. Having left her well-paying job for a new career as a teacher, she spent a blissful summer with her kids, sipping lemonade and baking cookies. But within months, the life she had built evaporated. When she failed to secure a new job, sh...

Tumbling from middle-class security, and struggling to regain it

Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011

Five years ago, an automated voice on the phone would not have reduced Sondi Moore to tears. But five years ago, she was not behind on her electric bill. A couple of days after Christmas, Moore, 63, called Dominion Virginia Power to pay her bill, which was overdue - again. She was desperate to avo...

The upward mobility gap

Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011

College-educated Americans live in a different country than high school dropouts. The best way to mend the divide is by providing access to a decent education. Here's a familiar fact: Economic inequality is rising in the United States. The rich have gotten richer, the poor have stayed poor, and fam...

In Black America, The Depression Rolls On

Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The latest snapshot of the American job market, released by the Labor Department on Friday, confirms what most ordinary people already knew without need of a government report: Little is improving quickly or broadly enough to dislodge the anxiety that has taken up long-term residence in many communi...

Government Role In Housing/GSE

Posted on Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Social and economic mobility is what characterizes a fair society. Without it, capitalism becomes a caste system. Yet that is precisely what average Americans are now facing. In times like these, a corporate CEO would honker down with his ‘right hand’ team at a strategic planning retreat of sor...

Obama's War on Inequality

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Wasn't reversing the decades-long trend toward income inequality supposed to be the big theme of the Obama administration? The new president sounded it strongly in his inaugural address, stating that "a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous." He followed up with a 2010 budget...

A New Workers' Manifesto

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Union and non-union blue-collar workers alike walked into voting booths in 1932 and pulled the lever for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Twenty-eight years later, their sons and daughters -- union and non-union, organized and non-organized -- pulled the lever for JFK. Yet in the 2010 elections just held,...

2010 Census: New Data Reveal Richest Counties In America

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It seems this year the rich got even richer. Though census results are only beginning to be released, last week the results of the American Community Survey were unveiled. The ACS details data such as languages spoken in a home and income levels. The data comes from surveys mailed to three million ...

Recession forces rise in low-wage families, report says

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Great Recession, responsible for boosting unemployment to its highest levels in a generation, has sharply increased the percentage of working people who earn wages so paltry that they are struggling to survive, according to a new report. The share of working families earning less than doub...

Employed But Struggling: Report Finds 1 in 3 Working Families Near Poverty

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Michelle Feliz, a single mother living in Boston, can't afford day care for her one-year-old son. She can't afford new clothes for her teenage daughter. Late last year, she applied for food stamps. Unlike many Americans increasingly seeking public assistance, Feliz, 35, is employed. Yet what she...

Economic Boom in Washington Leaves Gaping Income Disparities

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

WASHINGTON — As incomes fell across America over the past decade, new census data show that one place registered a remarkable rise: the nation’s capital. Washington, long a symbol of the country’s urban ills, is now among the national leaders in income growth. It ranks first among states with ga...

In Third World America, You Can't Buy a Ream of Paper on Minimum Wage

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

In 2010, every one of my work-related conversations turned to personal wealth management. The money-class wants to preserve and increase their considerable wealth, and they are terrified of losing it. Elsewhere in America, those that don't have money are terrified of the rising cost of necessities l...

Gap between rich and poor in U.S. drawn on geographic lines

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Bloomberg News The gap between the haves and have- nots in the U.S. is being drawn along geographic lines, Census Bureau data showed yesterday. The number of counties where median household income decreased is almost 10 times the number that saw an increase, according to a Bloomberg analysis of...

FWhy America's Two Economies Continue to Drift Apart, and What Washington Isn't Doing About It

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

America's two economies are getting wider apart. The Big Money economy is booming. According to a new Commerce Department report, third-quarter profits of American businesses rose at an annual record-breaking $1.659 trillion -- besting even the boom year of 2006 (in nominal dollars). Profits have s...

Middle Class Strife Left Out of Conversation

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh, to live in Washington, where the annoyances of external reality are so conveniently ignored and The Conversation can be changed like an un-liked song on the national iPod. Was it not just a couple of weeks ago that The Conversation was all about the supposed five-alarm emergency of the federal ...

Household Wealth Increases Despite Heavy Real Estate Losses

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

average American’s financial situation improved during the third quarter, according to data released by the Federal Reserve. The news is seen as a positive sign for the nation’s mortgage markets, which have been stressed by an elevated number of borrowers who’ve been struggling to fulfill their mor...

Does Economic Inequality Cause Crises?

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Edward L. Glaeser is an economics professor at Harvard and the author of the forthcoming book “Triumph of the City.” Did inequality cause the recent housing and financial crisis? For decades, a growing literature has tried to establish links between inequality and adverse outcomes, such as low e...

David Cay Johnston: Ridiculous Corporate Subsidies Creating Middle Class 'Wealth Destruction'

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston says it's no accident that the middle class has been shrinking. In fact, in a recent conversation with Aaron Task and Daniel Gross on Yahoo's Tech Ticker, Johnston argues that the middle class is a direct result of a maze of subsidies and swee...

Segregation: The Invisible Elephant in the Foreclosure Debate

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The foreclosure mess just will not go away. Neither will incomplete if not misleading explanations for the crisis, or partial if not ineffective policy proposals. More than 10 million families will lose their homes to foreclosure before the housing market "clears" according to Credit Suisse. Meanwhi...

A Long Crisis in the Making

Posted on Friday, September 10, 2010

Before the Current Recession, a Phantom Recovery Testimony of Pew Research Center Executive Vice President Paul Taylor before the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Grassley and members of this Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify at this hearing on middle cl...

Long in the Making...

Posted on Friday, September 10, 2010

The Phantom Recovery A new Pew Research Center report finds that for the typical American household, the Great Recession that began more than a year ago came on the heels of a less dramatic but equally unusual economic phenomenon: a Phantom Recovery. The Center's analysis of Census Bureau da...

More Than One Middle Class?

Posted on Friday, September 10, 2010

America's Four Middle Classes by Richard Morin, Senior Editor, Pew Research Center There isn't one American middle class; there are four. Each is different from the others in its attitudes, outlook and financial circumstance--sometimes in ways that defy traditional stereotypes of the middle cl...

High Anxiety

Posted on Friday, September 10, 2010

The Middle Class Blues: Pricey Neighborhoods, High Stress by D'Vera Cohn, Senior Writer, Pew Social & Demographic Trends Project When it comes to anxiety about family finances, an old truism applies: Where you stand depends on where you sit. Or, more precisely, on where your house or apartment s...

Tough Times

Posted on Friday, September 10, 2010

Inside the Middle Class: Bad Times Hit the Good Life Executive Summary This report on the attitudes and lives of the American middle class combines results of a new Pew Research Center national public opinion survey with the center's analysis of relevant economic and demographic trend data fro...

and Blacks

Posted on Friday, September 10, 2010

Blacks See Growing Values Gap Between Poor and Middle Class Optimism About Black Progress Declines African Americans see a widening gulf between the values of middle class and poor blacks, and nearly four-in-ten say that because of the diversity within their community, blacks can no longer be thou...

Minorities Hit Harder by Tighter Credit

Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

While the financial crisis led to significantly reduced access to mortgage credit for all borrowers, communities of color were hit the hardest by the dramatic decrease in low-cost home loans, according to a report released Thursday by a multi-state collaboration of regional research, policy, and adv...

Minimum Income By Class

Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Income Class Minimum Income (Calendar year 2000) Minimum Income (Calendar year 2005) Top 1% $581,800 $615,500 Top 5% 245,600 252,600 Top 10% 181,400 184,800 Top 60% 60,600 61,000 Note: Minimum income is for 4-person household measured in inflation-adjusted 2005 dollars. Source: Congression...

Shar of Income, Taxes by Income Class

Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2000 2005 Income Class Share of Income Share of Income Taxes Share of Federal Taxes Share of Income Share of Income Taxes Share of Federal Taxes Top 1% 17.8 36.5 25.5 18.1 38.8 27.6 Top 5% 30.7 56.2 41.4 31.1 60.7 43.8 Top 10% 40.6 67.7 52.2 40.9 72.7 54.7 Bottom 40% 12.6 -0.5 5...

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