The last few years have not been good for middle class households. Since 2007 we have seen a decline in median household income and income growth. Middle class Americans have been the backbone of the country, but this backbone is feeling stress fractures from various economic pressures.
Middle class families are facing soaring colleges costs. While the median household income dropped about approximately $5,000 in the last seven years, the price of a college education rose by more than seven percent each year. Parents are pulling funds from retirement while their children go into debt. The average student loan debt is nearly $30,000.
Illegal immigration is also hurting working Americans. Those with low wage jobs are seeing their jobs go to aliens willing to work for less who are hired by employers who can exploit them since they are here illegally. Economists also estimate that illegal immigration also depresses other wages, and that also hurts middle class families.
Middle class families are also hurt by our trade policies. While some jobs are going to illegal immigrants, many more are going overseas. Not only are products being produced overseas, but also many service jobs are being outsourced overseas. Moreover, many of our products aren’t being sold overseas because of the protectionist policies of many governments.
Medical costs are also hurting the middle class. Health care costs are rising almost as fast as the rising cost of college. This is made worse now that many of the features of the Affordable Care Act are coming online. As I have mentioned in previous commentaries, the promise that Obamacare would save middle class families thousands of dollars in premiums has not happened. And the promise that you could keep your doctor and keep your policy hasn’t happened.
This year we will be hearing from candidates who want to be the next president. We need to ask them what they plan to do to help middle class families that are struggling from these and other economic challenges.