Middle Class Collapse

Is wealth distributed fairly in the United States? More than 94 percent of you think not. Is there a moral obligation to address the growing gap between the rich and poor? Almost as many who took our survey think there is. Hundreds of people have now sent Senator Sanders their personal stories about how the economy has impacted their daily lives, stories the senator says document the collapse of the middle class. For the second week in a row, Sanders went to the Senate floor to read excerpts fr

Is wealth distributed fairly in the United States? More than 94 percent of you think not. Is there a moral obligation to address the growing gap between the rich and poor? Almost as many who took our survey think there is. Hundreds of people have now sent Senator Sanders their personal stories about how the economy has impacted their daily lives, stories the senator says document the collapse of the middle class. For the second week in a row, Sanders went to the Senate floor to read excerpts from the emails on the economy. In Vermont, the bad news bannered across front pages on Wednesday was that ripple effects of recession may force state lawmakers to cut about $30 million from next year's budget. There was no silver lining in the latest economic data out on Wednesday: U.S. consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in March on the back of rising oil prices while home construction fell by 12 percent to the lowest level in 17 years. Meanwhile, for anyone fretting about the fortunate few, a new congressional report documents that Bush tax breaks produced "windfalls for the wealthy." Wall Street hedge fund managers, by the way, are "making money on a scale that once seemed unimaginable."

A new report from Congress's Joint Economic Committee, issued on the April 15 deadline for filing income tax returns, analyzed the Bush tax cuts that "disproportionately benefited the wealthiest Americans." The report found that "seven years after the first tax cuts were passed, the evidence is clear that these claims were false, and in reality, these tax cuts have been bad economic policy. They have done little to stimulate the economy. The economic expansion earlier in the Bush administration was one of the weakest on record, and the economy has once again fallen into recession. While having limited economic effect, the tax cuts led to massive increases in the national debt and created an enormous windfall for the very wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class and future generations."

To take our survey on the economy, click here.

To watch the senator read emails on the economy, click here.

To read the Brattleboro Reformer article on the emails to Senator Sanders, click here.

To read the Joint Economic Committee report, click here.

To make sure your hedge fund manager is doing okay, click here.