Friday, April 4, 2008

America’s middle classes are no longer coping

The fact is, middle-class families have exhausted the
coping mechanisms they have used for more than three
decades to get by on median wages that are barely higher
than they were in 1970, adjusted for inflation. Male
wages today are in fact lower than they were then: the
income of a young man in his 30s is now 12 per cent
below that of a man his age three decades ago. Yet for
years now, America’s middle class has lived beyond its
pay cheque. Middle-class lifestyles have flourished even
though median wages have barely budged. That is ending
and Americans are beginning to feel the consequences.
The percentage of American working mothers
with school-age children has almost doubled since 1970 –
from 38 per cent to close to 70 per cent.
The typical
American now works two weeks more each year than 30
years ago.
bankruptcies rose 48 per cent in first half of 2007,
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