In Canada, Conservatives extol the United States as a land of virtually limitless opportunity and prosperity. Not so much. Business Insider shows how deeply America's middle class is being hollowed out.
The American economy may be booming, but its middle class is struggling.
The median male US worker now has to earn more than a year's salary to afford the annual expenses for a family of four, according to "The Cost of Thriving Index" published by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, and previously reported by The Washington Post.
In 1985, the typical male worker needed 30 weeks' pay to cover the $13,227 required for a family of four's major living costs: housing, healthcare, transportation, and education. As of 2018, those expenditures had risen to $54,441, and the typical male worker has to work 53 weeks to get there. "This is a problem, as there are only 52 weeks in a year," Oren Cass, the report's lead author, wrote.
The "Cost of Thriving Index" points to tensions underlying the American economy, from the gender pay gap to skyrocketing living costs that have outpaced wage increases, particularly for younger generations.
Those between ages 25 and 34 have seen only a $29 income increase since 1974, when adjusted for inflation, according to a new SuperMoney report that analyzed US Census Bureau data. Adults ages 35 to 44 made nearly $2,900 more in 2017 than their 1974 counterparts did, while those ages 45 to 54 saw an income growth of nearly $5,400 over that same time period, adjusted for inflation.
Meanwhile, college tuition has more than doubled since the 1970s, bringing the national student-loan debt to an all-time high of $1.5 trillion. According to Student Loan Hero, the average student-loan debt for a student who took out loans and graduated in 2018 was a whopping $29,800.
The price of home sales has increased by 39% since the 1970s, and national healthcare costs per person have increased by $9,000 in the same time frame, according to the SuperMoney report.
The increase in so many disparate costs shows that middle-class Americans carry several financial burdens — they're behind on homeownership, lagging in retirement savings, and have debt to pay off, according to a previous Insider and Morning Consult survey.
When all the paychecks from one year don't pay off a family's living costs, our typical male worker will feel he's living paycheck to paycheck, but it's actually worse than that.America has become a nation in which the master class flourishes at the expense of the working classes, blue and white collar alike.
Trump has been inordinately successful at convincing middle class America that their plight is all the Democrat's doing and Trump's recent numbers suggest a lot of them are buying his lies. He has them believing he's improved their lives even as they flounder while Trump delivers tax cuts for corporations and the rich as he simultaneously swells the US government deficit.
These Americans will also bear the brunt of pain if the Covid-19 virus morphs into a global economic recession.