Why There Is Good News and Bad News for the Middle Class

Created: 19 September, 2016
Updated: 17 October, 2022
1 min read

© 2016 by reclaimtheamericandream.org. The article was written by Hedrick Smith, executive editor of reclaimtheamericandream.org.

Olga, WA – If you’re baffled by the latest good news/bad news for the American middle class – word that in 2015 typical family income got its best boost in five decades, but families are still worse off than in 2007, just think about trickle-down economics and how it works.

During an economic recovery, the modern U.S. business model of trickle-down capitalism focuses first on delivering corporate profits, then soaring stock prices on Wall Street and big stock bonuses for CEOs and corporate execs. And if the recovery goes on long enough, some of the nation’s income gains eventually trickle down to rank-and-file workers.

So that finally happened in 2015. It’s an important milestone worth cheering that last year, families smack in the middle of the middle class saw their household incomes rise by 5.2% to $56,516, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But what’s disturbing is that this took so long to happen. This was the first increase in median family income since 2007, the first in eight years. And even with the nice one-year gain, that dismal record left the typicalAmerican family worse off in 2015 than in 2007 (median income $57,435) and also worse off than in 1999.

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Editor’s note: This article originally published on Reclaim the American Dream’s blog. It was republished with permission. 

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