A couple of days ago I wrote a post on the disapperance of the American middle class and the stark and growing gap between rich and poor in that country. I was a bit wary because it was one article.
Today I’ve found this column, written by respected New York Times columnist Bob Herbet about the dangerous levels of economic insecurity within the US.
The study tracks the percentage of Americans suffering household income losses of 25 percent or more, and shows that families are suffering steeper income declines than in previous decades.
The evidence is there:
The pain coursing through American families is all too real and no one seems to know what to do about it. A rigorous new analysis for the Rockefeller Foundation shows that Americans are more economically insecure now than they have been in a quarter of a century, and the trend lines suggest that things will only get worse.
Rampant joblessness and skyrocketing medical costs are among the biggest factors tearing at the very fabric of American economic life so painstakingly put together in the early post-World War II decades.
What’s more frightening is that:
Policy makers seem bewildered by the terrible economic state of ordinary working Americans, including those once considered solidly in the middle class. Despite warnings back in 2008 that we were on the verge of another great depression, the big financial institutions and corporate America seem to be doing just fine now. But average Americans are hurting with no end to the pain in sight.
More than 14 million people are out of work and many more are either underemployed or so discouraged they’ve just stopped looking. Big corporations, sitting on fat profits even as the economy continues to struggle, have made it clear that they are not interested in putting a lot more people back to work any time soon.
Policy makers have dropped the ball completely in terms of dealing with this devastating long-term trend of ever-increasing economic insecurity for American families. Long-term solutions that have to do with extensive job creation and a strengthening of the safety net are required. But that doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s agenda.