In America, the middle class has failed to enjoy the same growth in income as the country's top 1 percent of earners. But what would have happened if every household on Main Street had enjoyed the same income growth as the country's top 1 percent? The result: the typical American middle-class household would be earning $156,318, or more than double its actual current average household income of $73,391, according to data from the left-leaning think tank Economic Policy Institute. (The EPI considers the middle class to between 20 percent to 80 percent of the country's income range.) Some might scoff at the unlikelihood of the typical middle-class American household earning that much, but the calculation is designed to underscore how the fortunes of the country's top 1 percent have deviated so drastically from everyone else's. While it's not a new phenomenon, since the top 1 percent started to pull away from the rest of America's earners in 1980, that pattern has only accelerated. The … [Read more...] about What if the middle-class kept up with the top 1 percent?
The middle class
The economics of the health care system can be bewildering, but here’s a truth that middle-class Americans may see all too clearly: they are bearing the brunt of higher medical costs. Since 1984, the middle class has seen its out-of-pocket expenses for health care jump by 60 percent, far outpacing the 28 percent rise in medical costs for poor households, according to a recent analysis of household spending by The Hamilton Project. While the report didn’t break out spending for the upper income brackets, these households tend to be covered by employer-sponsored health care plans and have the financial wherewithal to pay for higher out-of-pocket expenses. Middle-class families have been especially hurt since the recession, with their spending on health care jumping 25 percent from 2007 to 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing an analysis from Brookings Institution senior fellow Diane Schanzenbach. At the same time, income … [Read more...] about For these rising costs, the middle class has it the worst
When it comes to income inequality in America, not all states are created equal. In some states, the top 1 percent of income earners have captured all of the income gains since the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, while everyone else saw either no gains or declining income during that time, according to a new analysis of tax data by the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank. For families in middle- and lower-income brackets, the post-recession years have been particularly tough in a number of states, although the report notes that the almost every state has been affected by widening income inequality in the U.S. Yet in 16 states, every dollar of income growth between 2009 to 2012 accrued to the top 1 percent, including some of the country's most populous states, such as California and Florida. The findings come amid heightened public attention on the growing gaps between haves and the have-nots, with President Obama last week making the economic challenges … [Read more...] about 16 U.S. states where the middle-class is hurting
While some may view Denny's (DENN) and Cracker Barrel (CBRL) as sit-down restaurants offering reasonably priced meals, these family-focused eateries are also a barometer for the health of the middle class. And after the family-dining segment has struggled for years, sales are slated to pick up in the second half of the year, pointing to better times for middle-class families, Bloomberg reports, citing consultant Malcolm Knapp. Households earning between $40,000 to $75,000 per year are benefiting from a strengthening economy, which could lead to higher sales later in the year, he noted. Denny's last month said that same-store sales rose 1.8 percent, with chief executive John Miller saying in a statement that it was the strongest performance in more than seven years. While the middle-class was hard-hit by the recession and has suffered from stagnant wages, there are also some positive signs making consumers feel more secure: rising home prices, for one, and more hiring by employers. … [Read more...] about How’s the middle class doing? Look at Denny’s
Taxes may be inevitable, but how businesses and workers react to the tax code isn't always predictable. Take President Donald Trump's pledge this week to cut corporate taxes to 15 percent from their current 35 percent. In a speech in Missouri on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said a lower business tax rate would not only create jobs, but raise wages and help the average worker. "We must reduce the tax rate on American businesses so they keep jobs in America, create jobs in America and compete for workers right here in America," he said. "Because when businesses compete for labor, your wages will go up." While Mr. Trump's speech was billed as laying the groundwork for tax reform later this year, his proposal was short on details, which experts say makes it difficult to gauge how his plan might work. Yet on the face of it, a drastic cut to corporate taxes may not provide the type of benefit to the middle-class worker that Mr. Trump suggests. "It's the old trickle-down economics: If we … [Read more...] about Can Trump’s corporate tax cuts help the middle class?