This is an interesting presentation by law scholar Elizabeth Warren. She is an outspoken critic of America's credit economy, which she has linked to the continuing rise in bankruptcy among the middle-class. She handles bankruptcy cases in her practice, and ran some statistics with figure the American government has been keeping for several years.
She learned that Americans earn roughly the same amount they did a generation ago, yet core expenses for housing, child care, health insurance, taxes, and cars for two have steadily increased. The only way for many families to survive was to put a second person into the workforce, but the shift to a two-income household did not bring on the wealth that you would initially think it would. It brings with it increased expenses for taxes, 2 cars, and child care -- and the second income is often just enough for families to continue to scrape by.
To cope, many American families have stopped saving and turned to credit cards to get by, and this has lead to increased debt and no nest egg to fall back on. According to Pakalert, some 4 million middle-class Americans have recently joined the ranks of the poor … signaling a steep downward trend in the standard of living that includes: .
- The number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program has set a new all-time record for 20 consecutive months.
- In July 2010, 41.8 million Americans were on food stamps.
- The number of Americans in the food stamp program skyrocketed more than 55 percent between December 2007 and July 2010.
- One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the U.S. government.