The median U.S. household income in 2012 was $51,000, but that’s nothing to crow about. That same figure was first reached way back in 1989— meaning that the living standard of Main Street America has gone nowhere for the last quarter century. Since there was no prior span in U.S. history when real household incomes remained dead-in-the-water for 25 years, it cannot be gainsaid that the great American prosperity machine has stalled out.
Even worse, the bottom of the socio-economic ladder has actually slipped lower and, by some measures, significantly so. The current poverty rate of 15 percent was only 12.8 percent back in 1989; there are now 48 million people on food stamps compared to 18 million then; and more than 16 million children lived in poverty households last year or one-third more than a quarter century back.
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