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It's Official: Gov Stats Shows the Middle Class is Dead

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There was once a middle class in America, and if you were an average worker you were part of it, but not anymore.  

Peruse last year's government figures for the average American family's spending and debt.  The conclusion is dumbfounding: it's official, 2011 was the year the middle class died.  


Born 1950 - Died 2011: RIP by Jimmy Zuma

Long live the "Lower Class"

To Americans, being middle class means two things:  more or less average wages that paid for life's necessities with cash leftover for discretionary spending. 

In a country where those from the marginally poor to the marginally rich claim to be in the middle, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) set a factual standard: the Average American Consumer Unit.

The BLS's statistically computed family, with 2.5 humans and 1.3 workers, is a fictional construct.  But, it is also the one true benchmark that pinpoints the dead center of the American worker's economic situation.  

Beginning last year the average American family:  could not afford the average single family house... depended on their employer for health care insurance or went without... were in debt with no way out... didn't pursuing further education... saved nothing... slashed their food budget to the bone... and paid at least 30% of their gross wages in taxes.

Gender, age, religion, sexual preference and marital status are of no consequence to this financial analysis.  If you're human you can relate to these budget numbers.  

Any family earning today's average wage of $62,857 is very carefully spending every cent of their $49,067 take home pay and the details are disturbing. 

Much of the spending verified here is so deficient it will leave you baffled as to how today's average American family is getting by.  Remember, the option of taking on more debt, not calculated here, or declaring bankruptcy, may be the last resort.


Where does the money go? by US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Housing:   Goodbye house.  Hello walk-up flat or double wide trailer.

The new middle class housing is a two bedroom walk-up without the washer, dryer or dishwasher, or a double-wide trailer. The average single family home is now beyond the $1,400 monthly budget of today's average American family.

The fourteen hundred dollar number must include everything that goes with a place to live: rent or mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, utilities, telephone, public services, cable/dish, equipment, supplies and furnishings.

Fourteen hundred dollars will get you a two bedroom, average (not luxury) apartment, and leave enough for all your other average shelter costs, but only in smaller cities and towns where the Cost of Living Index (CLI) is at the national average: 100.

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Chaz Valenza is writer and small business owner in New Jersey. He earned his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. His current feature film project is "Single Point Failure" an insider's account of how the Reagan Administration (more...)
 

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I used the "C" word in this piece only because the... by Chaz Valenza on Sunday, Jan 1, 2012 at 4:41:38 PM
What's your guess?  I've been thinking about ... by Chaz Valenza on Sunday, Jan 1, 2012 at 4:59:47 PM
   That sounds about right. I'm working ... by Bob Gormley on Sunday, Jan 1, 2012 at 6:49:29 PM
I believe that the real world inflation recently d... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 4:58:28 AM
And we're supposed to vote Republican ? NOT... by Chef Boy RV on Monday, Jan 2, 2012 at 12:13:43 PM
I prefer to reference us as the former m... by jtenn on Monday, Jan 2, 2012 at 12:56:35 PM
The following post includes adapted excer... by Richard Clark on Monday, Jan 2, 2012 at 12:15:46 PM
   Medical costs make it just about impo... by Bob Gormley on Monday, Jan 2, 2012 at 1:10:42 PM
How much do you pay for these?... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 4:48:53 AM
Foot doctor, family doctor, Joslin clinic for eyes... by Bob Gormley on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 6:31:03 AM
The top 0.01% of earners make at least $9.14 milli... by Lance Ciepiela on Monday, Jan 2, 2012 at 12:45:46 PM
see subject... by Bob Gormley on Monday, Jan 2, 2012 at 1:12:02 PM
The salaries you note here would be typical salari... by Gary Root on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 1:45:08 AM
... the great unspeakable in regard to capitalism ... by Jill Herendeen on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 7:24:03 AM
Ron Paul may not be the perfect progressive BUT he... by Jill Herendeen on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 7:14:12 AM
Romney and Obama have the most corporate support. ... by Michael Shaw on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 1:15:57 PM
most votes; their guy in the back room will fix it... by Jill Herendeen on Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012 at 9:55:44 PM
it's only downhill from here!... by Michael Shaw on Monday, Jan 2, 2012 at 3:19:17 PM
"The fourteen hundred dollar number must include e... by Rixar13 on Monday, Jan 2, 2012 at 6:17:30 PM
"The fourteen hundred dollar number must include e... by Rixar13 on Monday, Jan 2, 2012 at 6:17:55 PM
Historically, when the richest gained too much pow... by DH Fabian on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 7:29:13 AM
...when all the money goes to the top, the last pl... by Chaz Valenza on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 8:28:23 AM
imposed by the much above middle class on Wall Str... by John Sanchez Jr. on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 9:41:17 AM
Thanks for writing this, I really appreciate the i... by Jackie Feazell on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 8:12:15 PM
Tht would be nice. (Yes, I see it.)  I work a... by Chaz Valenza on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012 at 8:47:00 PM
Even though a debt crisis is gripping the ... by Richard Clark on Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012 at 9:15:13 PM
My husband and I were middle class, we live in pov... by Paula Landua on Sunday, Jan 15, 2012 at 4:29:35 PM