Connect with Point of View   to get exclusive commentary and updates

Middle Class

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

During this election season we will be hearing quite a bit about the middle class. Candidates will claim that they want to fight for the middle class and argue that their policies will help middle class families. They will also say that members of the opposite party are the reason for the decline of the middle class, even though this decline has been happening under both Republican and Democratic presidents and Congress.

The Pew Research Center documented that the middle class is no longer the dominant class it once was. “After more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number by those in the economic tiers above it and below it.”

The middle class has not done well financially. The median income of these households is four percent less than it was in 2000. And because of the housing market crisis and recession, their median wealth assets fell by 28 percent from 2001 to 2013.

As I have already mentioned, the hollowing out of the middle class has been taking place for decades. Each decade ended with a smaller share of adults living in middle-income households than in the beginning. Some who were in the middle class ended up in the upper class and others ended up in the lower class.

There are lots of reasons for the decline of the middle class. Many commentators point to globalization, which has undercut manufacturing. But I think one of the most significant reasons has been the breakdown of the traditional family. Single parent homes do not do as well as intact family homes. They seem to have the economic odds stacked against them.

Some public policies might help families, such as lower taxes and creation of a better job market. But some of the best solutions will come from social and spiritual solutions that will strengthen American families.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

Viewpoints sign-up