Middle Class Meltdown

By DJ Spiess | The slow destruction of the middle class in America.

The shockingly simple, surprisingly cost-effective way to end homelessness

Looking for news you can trust?<br>Subscribe to our free newsletters.<p>It’s early December, 10:30 in the morning, and Rene Zepeda is driving a Volunteers …

Poverty

The Republican tax plan leaves a $1.5 trillion bill for the middle class to pay

If paid for with spending cuts, the bill leaves 71.6 percent of Americans worse off.<p>Officially, the tax bill passed by the US Senate in the early morning hours of December 2 costs $1.45 trillion over 10 years, or $1 trillion after taking into account its effect on economic growth.<p>Those are the …

Equality

The US middle class is disappearing, which makes dollar stores very happy

As more and more US department stores close and malls are mothballed, Amazon is being blamed for the “retail apocalypse” (paywall). But there’s another dynamic crippling American retailers—a shrinking middle class exacerbated by a widening inequality gap. Between 1971 and 2015, the share of US …

Trends

The richest 1 percent now owns more of the country’s wealth than at any time in the past 50 years

The wealthiest 1 percent of American households own 40 percent of the country's wealth, according to a new paper by economist Edward N. Wolff. That share is higher than it has been at any point since at least 1962, according to Wolff's data, which comes from the federal Survey of Consumer …

Equality

The shocking number of Americans who can’t cover a $400 expense

Technically speaking, America’s economic recovery from the Great Recession is in its seventh year, making it one of the longest expansions on record. The unemployment rate is falling, businesses are hiring and there are finally some signs that wages are rising.<p>But for so many households, that …

Equality

Trump’s Tax Plan Gives $520 Billion to Wealthy Foreigners at the Expense of American Middle Class

The Republican tax reform plan fails President Donald Trump’s “America First” promise: It will give billions to foreign investors at the expense of …

Equality

How The GOP Tax Plan Scrooges Middle Class, Retired And Poor

Every time I eye the GOP’s tax plan, I’m reminded of Ebenezer Scrooge’s wish to “decrease the surplus population” of the working class and poor.<p>Scrooge’s sentiment is re-animated in myriad ways that punish retired, working folks and the poor in recent GOP attempts to reward the ultra-affluent and …

Equality

The chained CPI: Another secret tax hike for the middle class slipped into the GOP tax bills

The devastating effects that many provisions of the Republican Senate and House tax bills would have on the middle class have been well documented, thanks to the efforts of independent analysts at the Tax Policy Center and elsewhere.<p>But here’s a tax increase on working Americans that hasn’t been …

Equality

Surprise! The Senate tax bill kills the middle class, but it's great for the rich

A few days ago the Joint Committee on Taxation released its analysis of the Senate tax bill, which I wrote about here. My conclusion was that the …

Equality

When Unpaid Student Loan Bills Mean You Can No Longer Work

Fall behind on your student loan payments, lose your job.<p>Few people realize that the loans they take out to pay for their education could eventually derail their careers. But in 19 states, government agencies can seize state-issued professional licenses from residents who default on their …

Walmart just struck another deal that confirms the death of America's middle class as we know it

• <b>Walmart is adding Lord & Taylor and its many designer brands to its website.</b>• <b><br>The company says it wants to make Walmart.com a "premium fashion destination."</b>• <b><br>It's the latest in a series of moves by Walmart designed to attract high-income shoppers.</b><p>Walmart is adding Lord & Taylor and its many designer …

eCommerce

The Richest 1% Now Own More Than 50% of the World’s Wealth

The richest 1% now owns more than half of all the world’s household wealth, according to analysts at Credit Suisse. And they say inequality is only …

Credit Suisse

House signals openness to delaying cut in corporate tax rates

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan opened the door Wednesday to delaying the implementation of a new 20% corporate tax rate — the cornerstone of President Trump’s plan — amid worries that the GOP proposal will exceed its target of adding no more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit.<p>Postponing the tax cut for …

Paul Ryan

Ending Medical Tax Break Could Be a ‘Gut Punch’ to the Middle Class

Suzanne Hollack tried to care for her husband at home after he was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia at age 69. But it got to the point where she couldn’t take a shower for fear he would stray out of the house.<p>So 18 months ago, she moved him to a memory care community near their home in …

Health Care

Republican House Members Think a $450K Salary is Middle Class

That's rich! Republicans suddenly believe that one percenters are barely struggling to be in the middle class, party officials revealed.<p>On Thursday, …

Wealth

Is $100,000 middle class in America?

There’s a prolonged pause when I ask Lyft driver Gaby Osegueda <b></b>if her family is middle class. Her smile fades as she thinks about it for a while.<p>“Yeah, I think so. I don’t even know what the middle class is anymore,” says Osegueda, who with her husband earns nearly $100,000 a year in the San …

Equality

Is $100,000 middle class in America?

There's a prolonged pause when I ask Lyft driver Gaby Oseguedaif her family is middle class. Her smile fades as she thinks about it for a while.<p>"Yeah, I think so. I don't even know what the middle class is anymore," says Oseguarda, who with her husband earns nearly $100,000 a year in the San …

Equality

Can we talk about the gender pay gap?

The median salary for women working full-time is about 80 percent of men’s. That gap, put in other terms, means women are working for free 10 weeks a year.<p>So, if you’re a woman ...<p>.. you started working for free on October 26.<p>Well, that is a little blunt — there are gradients on that difference. …

Gender

Poor People Are Running Out of Places to Live

The rental crisis has grown so severe that some states have virtually no affordable apartments available for the lowest-income families, according to …

Housing

Middle-Class Families and Tax Reform

When the Republicans’ “framework” for tax reform came out, I raised two related concerns about it. Here I’ll consider them separately.<p>The first …

Equality

Ryan won't guarantee every middle-class person will get a tax cut under Trump proposal

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanBudget vote raises red flag for GOP on tax reform Dems yearn for days of GOP deficit hawks Ryan: FBI will hand over …

Team Trump can't 'guarantee' middle class won't face tax increase

House Speaker Paul Ryan appeared on CNBC yesterday, in part to help promote the Republicans’ new tax plan, and the Wisconsin Republican seemed eager …

Equality

How Trump’s Tax Plan Could Hose Working-Class Parents

Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration have promised that their new tax-cut package will put more money in the pockets of …

Retirement

To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now

ROCHESTER — Gail Evans and Marta Ramos have one thing in common: They have each cleaned offices for one of the most innovative, profitable and all-around successful companies in the United States.<p>For Ms. Evans, that meant being a janitor in Building 326 at Eastman Kodak’s campus in Rochester in the …

Harvey: Too poor to flee the hurricane

<b>In the detritus of Hurricane Harvey a splash of red, white and blue catches the eye.</b><p>It is a rain-sodden American flag, half-hidden under the green leaves of fallen trees.<p>A few paces away Judie McRae, 44, is inspecting the damage to her trailer home.<p>Judie has lived more than half of her life here …

Flee

She eats out of dumpsters so she can afford long-term care for her husband

Betsy Winkler’s first stop is the bakery counter. It is early on a drizzly summer morning, and the grocery store is neat and quiet. But when the …

Retirement

5 Figures That Define the Middle Class

Once America's backbone, the U.S. middle class is disappearing before our eyes.<p>The middle class is often thought of as the backbone of the American …

The American middle class is dying — and it's driving department stores out of business

The deterioration of the middle class in America is decimating department stores.<p>Shares of Macy's, Dillard's, Kohl's, and JCPenney spiraled as much as 15% this week after the companies reported weak quarterly sales.<p>The retailers were hammered despite all four showing signs of modest improvement …

Trends

Our Broken Economy, in One Simple Chart

This chart captures the rise in inequality better than any other chart that I’ve seen.

Economy