Wonkbook: Researchers have answered a big question about the decline of the middle class

By Max Ehrenfreund America is getting richer every year. Th… | Sponsored by UnitedHealth Group
The latest economic and domestic policy from Wonkblog
Shoppers cross Post Street in San Francisco on Aug. 10, 2016. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg By Max Ehrenfreund America is getting richer every year. The American worker is not. Far from it: On average, workers born in 1942 earned as much or more over their careers than workers born in any year since, according to new research — and workers on the job today shouldn’t expect to catch up with their predecessors in their remaining years of employment. Stagnant or falling earnings have put a squeeze on working- and middle-class households. The trend has also widened the gap between the rich and everyone else as, overall, the economy has continued to grow overall but the bulk of those gains have ended up in the pockets of the affluent. These are some of the conclusions from a new working paper by a group of economists investigating the reasons for the decline of the American middle class. While economists have been concerned about recent data on earnings, the new paper suggests that ordinary Americans have been dealing with serious economic problems for much longer than may be widely recognized. The new paper includes some “astonishing numbers,” said Gary Burtless, an economist at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution who was not involved in the research. “The stagnation of living standards began so much earlier than people think,” he said. Read the rest on Wonkblog.

Top policy tweets

Most Recent Posts from Wonkblog
I worked with the drug policy office Trump wants to gut. Here’s why it matters for the opioid epidemic.
Families facing addiction deserve informed drug policy. So why would the White House kick its most knowledgeable staff out the door?
35 of 37 economists said Trump was wrong. The other two misread the question.
“The numbers are just in a different universe.”
Researchers have answered a big question about the decline of the middle class
“Things just keep looking worse,” said one economist.
America’s economy has been made adequate again
After 10 years, slow-and-steady growth appears to be close to winning the race.
A huge section of the GOP bill undoing Obamacare isn’t actually about Obamacare
It’s a big change, and Paul Ryan has been talking about making it since he was “drinking at a keg.”
The one area where racial disparities in housing have disappeared
Black and white people have an equal chance at getting quality public housing — but poor neighborhoods are still largely black.
Recommended for you
The Health 202
Your daily guide to Washington’s health-care debate.
Sign Up »
©2017 The Washington Post, 1301 K St NW, Washington DC 20071

Related posts