middle class

What should be in Obama's State of the Union address, but isn't

My, my, my. Today we have a preview of President Obama's State of the Union address. What is most offensive is the claim this administration is trying to help the middle class.

We are being bombarded with these misleading headlines:

  • Obama announces initiatives for middle class
  • Obama announces economic aid for struggling middle class families

Right. So, guess what policy initiatives are in the speech? Tax cuts.

A doubling of the child care tax credit for families earning under $85,000; a $1.6 billion increase in federal funding for child care programs and a program to cap student loan payments at 10 percent of income above "a basic living allowance."

His initiatives also include expanding tax credits to match retirement savings and increasing aid for families taking care of elderly relatives. That program would also require many employers to provide the option of a workplace-based retirement savings plan.

Are these people shitting me? I'm sorry but we have massive unemployment. What a sorry ass excuse to help for the middle class. U.S. workers need jobs and they need good jobs now. Who cares about tax cuts! When your income is zero, what do tax cuts matter?

What should be in Obama's State of the Union Address?

How about these?

  1. Demand China float their currency. 83% of the non-oil trade deficit is due to China and their mercentile trade practices. It's pretty obvious too. China's GDP was 10.7% for Q4 2009. China holds the most U.S. treasuries. Meanwhile U.S. manufacturing shrank from about 15% of the economy to 12%.

New Agenda for America: Income Inequality Threatens America's Basic Economic and Political Systems


This post originally appeared on the New Deal 2.0 Blog as part of the Roosevelt Institute's "New Agenda for America."

Today, we have the highest level of income inequality in our nation's recorded history. We must address the structural flaws in our economy that created, and continue to widen, this divide. History teaches that extreme inequality leads to political instability. We cannot assume that we are immune.

In President Obama's words, the middle class is experiencing "the American Dream in reverse." Rising long-term joblessness and the possibility of 13 million foreclosures (more than one in every four American mortgages) create the potential for the former middle class to move from frustration to anger -- an anger sparked by reduced circumstances and the belief that they have been treated unfairly.

With each job loss or foreclosure, another family -- now on a down-ward spiral -- potentially loses its faith in our basic economic system and our basic system of governance. America's ongoing vitality requires that people trust that these systems work, and that our democracy is self-correcting. With rising income inequality, this trust is now at risk.

America has never been a nation of haves and have nots. If the gulf widens, it's hard to imagine that our future will be marked either by a healthy economy or a healthy democracy.

The Equation Defined

Income Inequality + Financialization + Globalization = Destruction of the Middle Class

This equation is a work in progress for me.  I have tried an econometric model but it crashed my computer.  Seriously, we are losing sight of the much bigger picture that is playing out across the country.  Our policy makers are distracted by this financial crisis or intentionally ignore the plight of the Middle Class in the U.S.

The Middle Class Squeeze - Redux

middle class squeeze
Today, personal incomes fell 0.7%, the largest single drop in 3 years. Consumer spending slowed also. What a surprise, Americans are tapped out, credit card debt is now estimated at $1 trillion, double from 1996 and unpaid debt has increased 22% from one year ago. Here are some statistics from EPI.




While the poor get poorer

real median income united states


Ah, but don't worry, the rich are getting richer: 

More Fluff, No Stuff - Joint Economic Committee Meeting

When is our Congress going to kick those lobbyists to the curb and do the right thing? Don't hold your breath! The Joint Economic Committee held a hearing on July 23, entitled, How Much More Can American Families Be Squeezed By Stagnant Wages, Skyrocketing Household Costs, And Falling Home Prices?


Now from the title, one might wonder if the question is poised to Wall Street wondering just how much money is left to pilfer from the pockets of the middle class. Still, there is always good information and rhetoric in these hearings.


Obama Said What?

Normally I try to stay away from the daily tit for tat of the Democratic primary but this latest buffoonery needs a comment.

Two days ago Obama said:

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,