Middle-class Americans are taking it on the chin in the Obama economy – paying more for everything from gas to groceries while incomes are dropping and good-paying jobs are harder to come by. The president himself said this weekend that “America succeeds when the middle class does well,” but his failed economic policies are making it nearly impossible for them to do so. Here’s a look at how the president is making a dismal economy even tougher for middle-class Americans:
- FEWER MIDDLE-CLASS JOBS. According to a recent National Employment Law Project study, “mid-wage jobs, paying between $13.83 and $21.13 per hour, made up about 60 percent of the jobs lost during the recession. But those mid-wage jobs have made up just 27 percent of the jobs gained during the recovery to date. By contrast, low-paying jobs have constituted roughly 58 percent of the jobs gained since 2010,” The Washington Post reports. There are currently 23 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work in the Obama economy and, according to Reuters, the labor force participation rate “has fallen … to a 31-year low of 63.5 percent.”
- LOWER WAGES. According to the Census Bureau incomes fell “sharply for middle-income and working-age people” last year, “the fourth consecutive annual decline” under President Obama, USA Today reports. The Wall Street Journal says that “three years after the economy hit its trough, median household income is down $2,544, or nearly 5%,” causing “enormous harm to middle-class households.”
- HIGHER COSTS. “A jump in the cost of gasoline pushed U.S. consumer prices up in August at the fastest pace in more than three years and squeezed spending on other items, threatening to further slow the already sluggish economy,” Reuters reports.
- RECORD HIGH GAS PRICES. Gas prices have doubled on President Obama’s watch, hitting record highs over the Labor Day weekend last month. Economists warn that high gas prices are “slowing the already-weak U.S. economy” and “could get worse in the coming months” at a time when “Americans are already feeling pinched by high unemployment [and] slow wage growth,” the Associated Press reports.
- RISING HEALTH CARE COSTS. Despite promising to “bend the cost curve” with the government takeover of health care, the most recent Kaiser Health survey shows that “health insurance premiums rose 4 percent for family coverage this year.” “Low-wage workers were hit hardest, paying on average $1,000 more each year toward their premiums for family coverage than workers at higher-wage firms. They were also more likely to have high deductibles, according to the survey.”
- SIX MILLION HIT WITH THE OBAMACARE TAX PENALTY. President Obama claimed in a “60 Minutes” interview yesterday that he had not raised taxes on middle-class families, but according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the individual mandate at the center of ObamaCare will hit “6 million Americans — most of them in the middle class” with an average tax penalty of $1,200, the Associated Press reports.
- FEWER COAL JOBS & HIGHER ENERGY COSTS. President Obama’s war on coal put another 1,200 miners out of work last week, adding to the thousands of other coal-related jobs that have been destroyed by the administration’s “relentless regulatory assault over the last four years,” as an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal puts it. The Government Accountability Office estimates that the administration’s excessive regulations could shut down as much as 12 percent of the country’s coal-fired energy plants and drive up “electricity prices by as much as 13.5 percent in some areas of the country.”
- MORE FAMILIES LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK. Reuters reports that “more than two-thirds of Americans” lucky enough to have a job in the Obama economy “are now living paycheck to paycheck,” according to a recent American Payroll Association survey. A report by the University of Michigan earlier this year found that “one out of five families owes more on credit cards, medical bills, student loans and other unsecured debt than they have in savings,” and “the number of families surveyed at the end of 2011 that have no savings at all increased to 23.4%, compared with 18.5% in 2009,” USA Today reports.
House Republicans have passed nearly 40 bipartisan bills that would help create a better environment for private-sector growth and job creation that are being blocked by Senate Democrats. President Obama has failed to lead by allowing these bills to remain stalled while middle-class Americans struggle to make ends meet. President Obama owes middle-class Americans more than a stump speech, and he ought to call on Senate Democrats to pass these bills so all Americans have a real shot at the economic opportunity they deserve.