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What Has Happened To The Middle Class

1337 words - 5 pages

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE MIDDLE CLASS This question has probably stumbled into every economist's mind one time or the other and the answer is very simple, but hard to enforce. To answer the question we need to compare the living standards of people during the middle 1900's to the people now.Since 1970 American incomes have become strikingly less equal. Living standards of the poor and lower middle-class Americans have fallen while those of affluent Americans have continued to improve. The 1947-73 graph of income distribution looks like a "picket fence" otherwise meaning that the growth rate of each family was very stable and similar. In fact the range was from 2.4-3.0%. There were no high's and low's, everyone was affected the same. On the other hand, the 1973-92 graph transforms from a picket fence to a staircase, representing the dramatic reduction of productivity growth and the unequal sharing (Who Killed the Middle Class). The rich saw their income growth rate rocket while the poor saw their's plummet and some of middle-class moved up to the rich and others moved down to the poor. In 1995, the annual earnings of the 10th, 50th, and 90th percentiles were $12,920, $31,497 and $70,314 (Erp 1995) Most of the families consist at being at the 90th and 10th percentiles and fewer and fewer families remain at the middle (The Truth About Income Inequality). It's not only that the 10th percentile has such a low income than the 90th, but also that their income has fallen throughout the years. In 1979, they made about $498 a week and in !995 they made only $475 per week.Why and how has the economy changed to bring upon this inequality and what can the government do to protect the average "Joe" from further demise. First of all, there are several reasons why income distribution has decreased and some of them being because of trade, technology, decline in labor unions, and immigration (Who Killed the Middle Class). The major cause for the decrease in wages is due to the advances in technology. Technological growth has increased rapidly due to the increase of computers in firms and offices. For the employees that can apply computers, their productivity raises rapidly and therefore increases job security and wages. The unskilled workers have it much harder. They can either be replaced or have a huge pay cut. Either way the worker's income will reduce dramatically and future the gap between the rich and the poor. All firms that want to conserve costs are more likely to downsize with computers which would affect the unskilled workers greatly. (Who Killed the Middle Class), (ERP). Our economy is solely driven by money and the motto "We are only loyal to our money." We are a greedy and money-hungry society and that bases power on wealth.For example, the Wall Street is concerned with one plan: do whatever causes stock prices to go up. They don't care who they hurt in the long run, but as long as more money is made the...

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