A small middle class is one of characteristics of a Third World nation. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, with poverty for the masses. The economic class between wealth and poverty is small.
As Americans, we’ve always prided ourselves on a big middle class—perhaps everyone didn’t live the high life, but they lived a comfortable life. Is this middle class vanishing, as Arianna Huffington says in her new book, “Third World America”?
I went to find out on my own. I discovered a lot of chilling statistics on the web that appear to document a vanishing middle class, but many are open to multiple interpretations. So I asked a colleague, economist Joel Slemrod, who is an expert in such matters. He pointed me to top research published in gold star academic journals.
The result is still chilling. The middle class is indeed under assault.
One analysis, for example, examines recent trends in household wealth.The author says that “the early 2000s witnessed both exploding debt and the middle-class squeeze.” The level of indebtedness in the middle class rose to its highest level in 20 years.
Maybe the middle class isn’t vanishing, but it’s feeling the squeeze. Do you feel the middle class squeeze?
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