shrinking middle class
Letting sequestration happen is just the latest burden Washington's politicians have dumped on a struggling and shrinking middle class.
Unless our bickering lawmakers come up with a solution, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that sequestration could knock 0.6% from the nation's gross domestic product and cost up to 750,000 jobs.
And this comes while most middle-class families are still struggling to adjust to the 2% reduction in their paychecks that occurred when Congress allowed the payroll tax break to expire on Jan. 1.
If it seems that Congress doesn't care about the plight of the shrinking middle class, it's probably because they're so far removed from a middle-class lifestyle. They earn $174,500 a year, far above the U.S. median salary of $50,000, and nearly half are millionaires.
Meanwhile, life keeps getting worse for the shrinking middle class - yes, shrinking.
The Secret to Leaving the Middle Class Behind
The middle class in America is caught in a vise, and they need a way out.
There is a way, of that I am sure.
But, like almost everything else in life, it's not about anybody keeping you down.
It's about you being honest with yourself that it's up to you. It's about understanding that all those "other people" keeping you down don't give a damn about you. They don't even know you. They do what they do for themselves and if they can use you... oh, they will.
I'm talking about the bankers and brokers who too many of the middle class rely on.
They're in it for themselves. Their job is making money for themselves.
Is America's Middle Class Caught in a Vise?
This is a chicken and egg kind of discussion about what caused the housing crash.
It's not that there's a right answer (but I am right) or a wrong answer, it's about looking at what happened to determine whether it's going to happen again. It is.
I'm always right.
Really, it's about America's middle class mostly, and the vise they're caught in.
Notice, the title here poses that as a question. Are they caught in a vise?
I say, "Yes!"
But, I'll get to that.
First, it's back to the chicken... or the egg.
Middle Class Decline Under Obama Shown in 5 Charts
U.S. President Barack Obama often makes a point of talking about how important our country's middle class is to our economic growth - something he reiterated yesterday (Monday) in his second inauguration speech.
"Our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it," President Obama said. "We believe that America's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class."
But the financial reality that currently faces the U.S. middle class is not one that can support a country's economic future.
For example, many middle-class workers have lost jobs or taken a pay cut since the president took office in 2009, and the 7.8% unemployment rate is the same as when President Obama first took office.
The labor force participation rate - the percentage of working-age people who are employed or actively seeking jobs - is at its lowest level in over 30 years, and those who are working are making a lower median income than they did 10 years ago.
At the same time, almost half of Americans are unprepared for financial emergencies. About 49% of Americans don't have enough money saved to cover three months of expenses and 28%don't have any money saved, according to a survey by consumer financial services firm Bankrate.com.
Here are five startling charts that outline a middle class decline that's taken shape under President Obama.