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Inflation Is Crushing The Middle Class

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Pain In The Wallet

All over America, the middle class is dying and poverty is on the rise. One of the primary reasons for this is the rapidly rising cost of living in the United States. The cost of just about everything that average families shell out money for on a regular basis – food, rent, health insurance, etc. – is rising much faster than wages are. In a previous article I noted that the federal poverty level for a family of five is $28,410, but 51 percent of all American workers are making less than $30,000 a year at this point. We have seen an explosion in the number of people in this country that are considered to be “the working poor” and it gets worse with each passing year. One of the most frustrating things for me personally is the rising cost of health insurance. Barack Obama promised that his program would result in a decline in health insurance premiums by as much as $2,500 per family, but in reality average family premiums have increased by a total of $4,865 since 2008. Just recently, I got a letter informing me that my health insurance premiums would be going up by close to 20 percent in 2016. That is on top of an increase of more than 30 percent in 2015. Sadly, the exact same thing is happening to millions of other families all over the nation. The following comes from TruNews

The Obamacare increases for 2016 have been released. Premiums will increase 3 times faster than officials claim. Every state is different. Every insurer is different. New Mexico residents, for instance, can expect increases of 8 to 40 percent for the second-lowest cost silver plan. But for people in other states, including Arkansas the cost will increase less than 4 percent. Overall the average increase is 20.3 percent, according to analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation, instead of the 7.5 percent originally asserted.

And of course it isn’t just health insurance. Every time I go to the grocery store I am stunned by the prices. They often try to hide the price increases so that we will not notice them. Sometimes when I go food shopping I notice that some of my favorite things are “on sale”, but the sale prices are what the old “regular prices” used to be. And food companies just keep shrinking package sizes, but the amount we have to pay stays the same or goes up. Unfortunately, our food dollars are never going to stretch any farther than they do right now. Thanks to erratic global weather, food prices are quickly moving higher. In fact, according to the Crux global food prices just rose by the most that we have seen in three years…

The effects of El Niño are starting to reach the dinner table, with global food prices rising the most in three years on supply concerns for everything from New Zealand milk to sugar in Brazil and Southeast Asian palm oil. An index of 73 food prices increased 3.9%, the biggest jump since July 2012, to 162 in October, the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization wrote in a report Thursday. The return of the El Niño weather phenomenon is changing weather conditions around the world, damaging crops with too much rain in some areas and not enough in others. The price of sugar increased more than that of any other commodity in the FAO report, soaring 17 percent, the most since September 2010. Excessive downpours in Brazil, the world’s largest producer, have slowed harvesting and reduced the amount of sweetener that can be extracted from cane.

As a result of this relentless squeeze on our pocketbooks, tens of millions of families are struggling to pay the bills from month to month, and the middle class is continually getting smaller. As the middle class shrinks, poverty is growing and more Americans are becoming dependent on the government than ever before. The following numbers come out of one of my previous articles entitled “21 Facts About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Will Blow Your Mind“… #1 The U.S. Census Bureau says that nearly 47 million Americans are living in poverty right now. #2 Other numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau are also very disturbing. For example, in 2007 about one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps. Today, that number is one out of every five. #3 According to Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, the authors of a new book entitled “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America“, there are 1.5 million “ultrapoor” households in the United States that live on less than two dollars a day. That number has doubled since 1996. #4 46 million Americans use food banks each year, and lines start forming at some U.S. food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning because people want to get something before the food supplies run out. #5 The number of homeless children in the U.S. has increased by 60 percent over the past six years. #6 According to Poverty USA, 1.6 million American children slept in a homeless shelter or some other form of emergency housing last year. It has become exceedingly clear that “the American Dream” is dying and that the future is not very bright for “ordinary hard-working Americans”. I like how Rupert Cornwell described this in one of his recent articles

The politicians still prattle on about “helping hard-working Americans” and “restoring the American dream”. But even as instinctively optimistic a breed as the Americans now believe they are being sold a bill of goods. What dream? The reality is that no longer is it a hard-working blue-collar American’s birthright to live better than his parents. Most probably, he or she will be worse off.

You might be one of those Americans that has fallen out of the middle class and into poverty. Even in the midst of this so-called “economic recovery”, large numbers of formerly middle class Americans are losing their jobs and losing their homes. And a surprising number of them end up either living in their vehicles or living in the streets. The following comes from a recent article by Joshua Krause

On any given night in America, there are over a half a million people living on the streets or in their vehicles. As you can imagine, that’s not a good place to be in your life, but it happens. If you think that this is something that might happen to you one day in the near future (and who are kidding, it could happen to anyone these days) here’s a word of advice: Don’t wait until the last-minute, hoping for that next job interview to come through as you burn through your savings. If homelessness is a real possibility in your life, it’s something that you should be preparing for, not waiting for. The more money you have at your disposal when you decide to leave your home, the easier your life is going to be without a house. If you have no money, you’ll be living on the streets with little more than the clothes on your back. It’s better to put your savings towards a van or a truck that you can live in. Unlike living on the streets, you can actually maintain a fairly decent standard of living with very little money.

When I was growing up, it seemed like just about everyone in my entire high school was part of the middle class. But things have changed dramatically in America since that time. Today, the middle class is being absolutely eviscerated and our “leaders” don’t seem to care. So is there a way out of this mess? Tell us what you think by posting a comment below…

(Originally published on End of the American Dream)

  • DJohn1

    Yet the COLA contradicts you! Once again under a Democrat Administration the COLA is a farce.
    That means everyone retired does not get a cost of living raise because one factor alone has gone down dramatically. That being the cost of fuel for the car. It is currently between $2.12 and $2.15 a gallon here in Ohio for regular. Each week it jumps 30 cents or more a gallon and then gradually by week’s end which is Tuesday for the gasoliine industry it bottoms out. The problem is they all have the same supplier.
    This factor offsets every other factor in the COLA. NO RAISE.
    The same mealy mouthed politicians of both parties want $15 minimum wage across the country? Why not just give a decent raise to the military risking their lives everyday for their country? Or the people that worked all their lives and now subsist on Social Security?
    The government cheats. They cheat everyone equally. Social Security and the pay that the military get is a cheat. Here is why. There are 52 weeks in a year divided amongst 12 months. That means there is approximately an extra week every three months. But because both are on a bi-monthly or once a month for Social Security it covers anywhere from 28-31 days. To make it equal you would have to have it divided equally around the 52 weeks or 13 months. Both groups are government payroll and both are cheated out of the extra week.
    The factor that hurts the most for average people is Obamacare Abominations that allow the insurance rates to skyrocket.
    It is our fault! We allowed the Congress to get bought and paid for by special lobbying interests like the Insurance Industry, The Pharmaceutical industry, and many more. I do not understand because the way it works right now, you could have two industries both conflicting with one another as to the orders they send to their Congress People.
    No wonder they appear to be confused much of the time. These slaves have conflicted interest written all over them.
    It goes a lot further than that if you consider the decisions passed down by the Supreme Court.
    I just wonder who bought and paid for them?
    What we have to do to survive?
    I would get to be really good friends with the people that keep things repaired. Such as your car or truck. A car payment is almost 30% of your monthly net pay. Same with appliances and plumbing.
    I would Subscribe to the coupon things coming out of your grocery stores. In this area both Meijers and Kroger have really good sales that are attached to your membership numbers and are accessible from any computer. No computer? Go to the library and use theirs.
    I would make sure I get the ads either on line or in a newspaper. Coupons cost money to print. It is cheaper if your local newspaper has a coupon day in the week. Ours used to but haven’t seen much lately. Except the slicks sent with the paper on Sundays.
    The government practically gives real estate away in today’s market. There is a program in most states in which you pay the defaulted taxes on a property and in two years time if they do not pay you back at 12% interest(varies) then they give you clear title to the property with no past liens.
    That is just one trick the government in bed with the banks has.
    The Congress set themselves up with the best wage package known to man. Even the Health Insurance is the best they could ever hope for. That was in good times. I suggest that needs to be looked at real close because it is also an abomination in today’s world.
    The thing to remember is that most of them have a law degree. That means they expect a free ride where ever they go. After all, they make the game rules by which everyone plays.
    So that poor man that got hurt on the job? He cannot get on disability here in Ohio without first paying a lawyer almost a third of his disability pay from the first check which often amounts to 3-6 months worth of back pay.
    The lawyer often sends a clerk to the court room to get the disability.
    I think it would not matter which group you trusted to make the rules. But the ones we have certainly take care of number one first.
    That is also while they are giving our tax money to foreigners all over the world.
    $150 billion? Pocket change to them.
    But give the old people a decent raise? Give the military a raise? Not likely. They want to reduce our ability to defend ourselves by reducing the military.
    The difference is who controls the man voting in Congress. Might take a real good look at campaign contributions and who they are from.
    Because that is who owns them.

  • Margaret Manzi

    You can’t depend on the government to be honest or helpful. We have to rely on ourselves and one another. For instance, I’ve become involved in an organization that focuses on teaching people how to grow and preserve their own food and save seeds. It’s not a huge help, but it’s a start.