Recent Census data indicate that although the total number of households in the United States increased between 2008 and 2011, the number reporting earned annual income of $35,000 to $100,000 actually decreased by 676,000. This is significant because it confirms the narrative of middle-class decline.
I have always thought that if middle-class decline is accompanied by a decline in households with lower income (less than $35,000) and an increase in upper-income households (more than $100,000) then hooray for middle-class decline. The national data, however, reveal an increased number of lower-income households (967,000) and an increased number of households with upper income (1,847,000). So the news is decidedly mixed.
To conservatives and libertarians the decline in the middle class is somewhat problematic, but we are not as apoplectic about the issue as progressives. To our more left-leaning friends the pulling apart of the income distribution is a disaster calling for massive government intervention. Those of us who are less than politically correct, however, say income distribution is kind of like the weather: It is of interest, but we suspect there is little that the government can do about it that is useful.
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