What American Dream? “The Middle Class Is Dying And Poverty Is On The Rise”

by | Nov 10, 2015 | Headline News | 53 comments

Do you LOVE America?



    This article was written by Michael Snyder and originally published at his End of the American Dream blog.

    Editor’s Comment: Costs for healthcare, groceries, rent, mortgages, property taxes and other items are all ballooning, there are simply not enough good jobs to go around. This math doesn’t add up, and there are an awful lot of people suffering under this toxic combination of bad policies and corruption gone wild.

    Pocketbook Pain: The Rapidly Rising Cost Of Living Is Absolutely Killing The Middle Class In America

    by Michael Snyder

    All over America, the middle class is dying and poverty is on the rise.  One of the primary reasons for this is the rapidly rising cost of living in the United States.  The cost of just about everything that average families shell out money for on a regular basis – food, rent, health insurance, etc. – is rising much faster than wages are.  In a previous article I noted that the federal poverty level for a family of five is $28,410, but 51 percent of all American workers are making less than $30,000 a year at this point.  We have seen an explosion in the number of people in this country that are considered to be “the working poor” and it gets worse with each passing year.

    One of the most frustrating things for me personally is the rising cost of health insurance.  Barack Obama promised that his program would result in a decline in health insurance premiums by as much as $2,500 per family, but in reality average family premiums have increased by a total of $4,865 since 2008.

    Just recently, I got a letter informing me that my health insurance premiums would be going up by close to 20 percent in 2016.  That is on top of an increase of more than 30 percent in 2015.  Sadly, the exact same thing is happening to millions of other families all over the nation.  The following comes from TruNews

    The Obamacare increases for 2016 have been released. Premiums will increase 3 times faster than officials claim.

    Every state is different. Every insurer is different. New Mexico residents, for instance, can expect increases of 8 to 40 percent for the second-lowest cost silver plan. But for people in other states, including Arkansas the cost will increase less than 4 percent. Overall the average increase is 20.3 percent, according to analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation, instead of the 7.5 percent originally asserted.

    And of course it isn’t just health insurance.  Every time I go to the grocery store I am stunned by the prices.

    They often try to hide the price increases so that we will not notice them.  Sometimes when I go food shopping I notice that some of my favorite things are “on sale”, but the sale prices are what the old “regular prices” used to be.  And food companies just keep shrinking package sizes, but the amount we have to pay stays the same or goes up.

    Unfortunately, our food dollars are never going to stretch any farther than they do right now.  Thanks to erratic global weather, food prices are quickly moving higher.  In fact, according to the Crux global food prices just rose by the most that we have seen in three years…

    The effects of El Niño are starting to reach the dinner table, with global food prices rising the most in three years on supply concerns for everything from New Zealand milk to sugar in Brazil and Southeast Asian palm oil.

    An index of 73 food prices increased 3.9%, the biggest jump since July 2012, to 162 in October, the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization wrote in a report Thursday.

    The return of the El Niño weather phenomenon is changing weather conditions around the world, damaging crops with too much rain in some areas and not enough in others. The price of sugar increased more than that of any other commodity in the FAO report, soaring 17 percent, the most since September 2010. Excessive downpours in Brazil, the world’s largest producer, have slowed harvesting and reduced the amount of sweetener that can be extracted from cane.

    As a result of this relentless squeeze on our pocketbooks, tens of millions of families are struggling to pay the bills from month to month, and the middle class is continually getting smaller.  As the middle class shrinks, poverty is growing and more Americans are becoming dependent on the government than ever before.  The following numbers come out of one of my previous articles entitled “21 Facts About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Will Blow Your Mind“…

    #1 The U.S. Census Bureau says that nearly 47 million Americans are living in poverty right now.

    #2 Other numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau are also very disturbing.  For example, in 2007 about one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps.  Today, that number is one out of every five.

    #3 According to Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, the authors of a new book entitled “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America“, there are 1.5 million “ultrapoor” households in the United States that live on less than two dollars a day.  That number has doubled since 1996.

    #4 46 million Americans use food banks each year, and lines start forming at some U.S. food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning because people want to get something before the food supplies run out.

    #5 The number of homeless children in the U.S. has increased by 60 percent over the past six years.

    #6 According to Poverty USA, 1.6 million American children slept in a homeless shelter or some other form of emergency housing last year.

    It has become exceedingly clear that “the American Dream” is dying and that the future is not very bright for “ordinary hard-working Americans”.  I like how Rupert Cornwell described this in one of his recent articles

    The politicians still prattle on about “helping hard-working Americans” and “restoring the American dream”. But even as instinctively optimistic a breed as the Americans now believe they are being sold a bill of goods. What dream? The reality is that no longer is it a hard-working blue-collar American’s birthright to live better than his parents. Most probably, he or she will be worse off.

    You might be one of those Americans that has fallen out of the middle class and into poverty.

    Even in the midst of this so-called “economic recovery”, large numbers of formerly middle class Americans are losing their jobs and losing their homes.  And a surprising number of them end up either living in their vehicles or living in the streets.  The following comes from a recent article by Joshua Krause

    On any given night in America, there are over a half a million people living on the streets or in their vehicles. As you can imagine, that’s not a good place to be in your life, but it happens. If you think that this is something that might happen to you one day in the near future (and who are kidding, it could happen to anyone these days) here’s a word of advice: Don’t wait until the last-minute, hoping for that next job interview to come through as you burn through your savings. If homelessness is a real possibility in your life, it’s something that you should be preparing for, not waiting for.

    The more money you have at your disposal when you decide to leave your home, the easier your life is going to be without a house. If you have no money, you’ll be living on the streets with little more than the clothes on your back. It’s better to put your savings towards a van or a truck that you can live in. Unlike living on the streets, you can actually maintain a fairly decent standard of living with very little money.

    When I was growing up, it seemed like just about everyone in my entire high school was part of the middle class.  But things have changed dramatically in America since that time.  Today, the middle class is being absolutely eviscerated and our “leaders” don’t seem to care.

    So is there a way out of this mess?

    beginning-of-the-end-snyderMichael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.

    Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream

    If you want to know what things in America are going to look like in a few years read his new book The Beginning of the End.


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      1. The good days are past, the bills are now due or coming due.

      2. If only our dollar was worth more than 4 cents…

        Be well all…

        • George Will opposed Reagan during his Presidency because he thought that Reagan was too conservative.

          Reagan was not a fucking conservative by any stretch of the imagination (although he was the most protectionist president we ever had in this country).

          O’Reilly is an absolute fuckwit. Bill O’Reilly makes other baby boomers look like geniuses by comparison. O’Reilly calls Will an “elitist”? Oh, fuck my ass what a bunch of bullshit artists.

          This O’Reilly-Will feud over slobbering over Reagan’s dead prick is an absolute fucking clown show. These fucking dweebs would say anything just to be adored by the retard populace. Just like this fucking clown Trump that you shitstains all know and love.

        • Off topic, but I’d like to take a moment and remind everybody that today is the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Thanks to Gordon Lightfoot for memorializing the men and the ship in his great musical tribute, it’s a reminder that you can be gone in a moments time, perhaps we ought not to dwell on all the problems we read here every day and be thankful that we ARE here today, just sayin.

          • Yes, lets all remember the Edmund Fitzgerald. But that Gordon Lightfoot song sucks and should never be heard by anyone.

        • From 9.8% in 1913 to
          233% in 2015

      3. Thank you Michael Snyder for reminding the American people of what they already know.

        One complaint – maybe the Heading should be more clearer to those with eyes and have the ability to read. Lets try this instead:

        What American Dream? “The Middle Class Is Fucking Dead And Poverty Is Through The Fucking Roof”

        Kinda catchy ain’t it?
        I believe it has more eye appeal, and will attract more clicks if you just use blunt words to get your point across.

      4. The article states: that the future is not very bright.

        When I was young, the future was so bright I had to wear shades. I guess if you want a good job these days you’ll have to move to Timbuk 3?!?!

        • Yeah, it is an old one….
          Texan Poetry

          The finals of the National Poetry Contest last year came down to two finalists. One was a San Francisco State University graduate from an upper-crust family; well-bred, well-connected and all that goes with it. The other finalist was a redneck from Texas A & M. Go figure.

          The rules of the contest required each finalist to compose a four-line poem in one minute or less, and the poem had to contain the word “Timbuktu.”

          The San Francisco State graduate went first. About thirty seconds after the clock started he jumped up and recited the following poem:

          “’Slowly across the desert sand
          Trekked the dusty caravan.
          Men on camels, two by two
          Destination — Timbuktu.”

          The audience went wild! How, they wondered if the redneck could top that?! The clock started again and the redneck sat in silent thought. Finally, in the last few seconds, he jumped and recited:

          “Tim and me, a-huntin’ went.
          Met three whores in a pop-up tent.
          They was three, we was two,
          So I bucked one and Timbuktu”

          • Classic Eppe!

          • 2 for me, 1 for you

          • That was awesome! Good job, even if it was an old one!

          • LOL! Thank you! I needed that.

          • Eppe:

            Two American geniuses. I laughed so hard my bellyaches and tears are running down my face.
            I never heard that one. It should be posted at Yale and Harvard. Those Ivy League snobs might not ever fully understand the underlying wisdom, but there are a few brilliant rednecks at the Ivy League colleges who would love this as I do. Thanks.

      5. Dear Mr. Michael Snyder, Since you are so brilliant and need to remind the rest of us (dumb folks) about our misery and horrible degrading life each day, please explain who is the designer of such plan to destroy us? I am assuming you know that Federal Reserve and its affiliates such as Chase, Goldman Sacks etc. are the main planners under the direct supervision of their master in the City of London.

        Is my perception above is not the truth Mr. Snyder or nothing is caused by the fucking tribe of the money exchangers causing so much bloodsheds and misery for the non tribal members of the fucking chosen ones? Which is it?

      6. The Middle Class is Dead
        The Middle Class is Dead
        Hi Ho the Dairy “O’
        The Middle Class is Dead.

        • The bankers stole the worms,
          The bankers stole the worms.
          Hi Ho the Dairy “O”
          The bankers stole the worms.

      7. Is there a way out of this mess,well,yes,there is.Pull a Iceland,destroy/ignore/kill fed reserve,realise short term times are going to be even more challenging,but,this can be done.I never said yes to being run by private bankers and certainly never signed much less saw a “social contract”!

      8. “So is there a way out of this mess?”
        1) Repeal the 17th and 16th amendments.
        2) Void all federal non- criminal court
        decisions starting with
        Marbury vs.Madison.
        3) Eliminate the Federal reserve system.
        4) Outlaw all government employee unions.

        as a start.

      9. Is it time to break out the sand rail and the assless chaps yet?

      10. IMO we have turned the corner on righting this ship we call the US economy. There is just entirely too much corruption in Washington to correct the damage that has been done to our economy and our political infrastructure. It’s infested. Condemned. We will mathematically collapse our economy, and will reach the point of reset. How much violence and devastation that occurs when the reset occurs is the concern we have. Can anyone see this correction taking place without a revolutionary moment? I don’t.

      11. ​House joint committee probes cyber threat to electric grid. The Hill (10/22, Neidig, 471K) reports that two House subcommittees held a joint hearing Wednesday “to assess the energy industry’s preparedness for potential [cyber] attacks.” Rep. Suzanne Bonamici recognized the “increasing frequency of cyber attacks that compromise business and personal information.” The Hill notes that Federal documents obtained by USA Today in September “showed the Department of Energy’s computers had been hacked over 150 times between 2010 and 2014.” FirstEnergy Service Company CIO Bennet Gaines “suggested implementing a system that would share real-time information on cyberattacks with the rest of the industry as well as the government,” a move the Senate is preparing to vote on.

        CNN (10/22, Marsh, Correspondent, 5.17M) on its website adds that Rep. Randy Weber (R-Tex) said, “In over 300 cases of significant cyber and physical attacks since 2011, suspects have never been identified.” As the US electric grid uses more “smart grid” technology, “a more modernized system also means more interconnectivity and more access points for intruders,” CNN reports, adding that lawmakers were “alarmed by what they heard.”

        McClatchy (10/22, 28K) reports that Idaho National Laboratory associate director Brent Stacey told the subcommittees on Wednesday that “the dynamic threat is evolving faster than the cycle of measure and countermeasure, and far faster than the evolution of policy.” Other experts testified that the energy sector receives more cyber attacks than other sectors and that a recent study “found that a major cyberattack on the U.S. power grid has the potential to cause a trillion dollars in damage,” McClatchy reports.

        • Mike in Va – I can’t take anything that comes from CNN and USA Today seriously, especially when the subject matter is “cyber-attacks”.

          It is News Outlets such as CNN/USA Today that report on an issue like this, I look at it as “predictive programming”.
          As in, an outside source(cough,cough,bullsheet,cough) is attempting to attack our grid is more than likely fear mongering.

          I don’t doubt that our Grid won’t get attacked, I don’t see an outside source being responsible … but I do see a inside source is more than likely probable.

          If so, then it will just gear up the “security” more for people like you and I. Chances are, less freedom on the Internet … cuz it may be harmful to you … Like in some other countries, I wouldn’t doubt that a day comes, and our Internet is RESTRICTED to certain STATE APPROVAL CONTENT.

          “Good for them, bad for you and I”

      12. This is what the DEMOCRATS are doing to us. Unfortunately, the morons in this nation will continue to vote for DEMOCRATS.

        • And yet the REPUBLICANS have had a majority for how long?
          This is what ALL OF THE POLITICIANS are doing to us. Unfortunately, the morons in this nation will continue to vote for POLITICIANS.

          There, fixed it for you.

      13. There is no such thing as an American Dream. But there is an American reality and the reality is not so sweet.

      14. FTW
        CNN and USA Today weren’t the sources for that material

        they merely reported on it and bought it to the public’s attention

        shooting the messenger is of no benefit to anyone

        cyber threats are REAL
        and the more people that are aware
        the better

        kudos to CNN and USA Today for reporting on the subject

        and meanwhile

        I just finished watching the Republican “kiddie table” debate

        that’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back

        one bumper sticker slogan after another after another
        after another

        ad nauseum

        • Satori – how am I “shooting the messenger” when Mike in Va. post explicitly says CNN & USA Today, but no other source was mentioned? Am I suppose to know where the main source of information came from out of that post?

          Anyways, I have no problem with Mike in Va.
          In fact, in general he puts up some good posts. I was only making a point of CNN/USA Today should not be taken seriously, which I’m sure he is very much aware of.

          I’m sure hacking happens all the time between countries, I don’t doubt that for a minute. The MSM lately has been discussing the topic more than usual and to me. That usually ends up being an Agenda being put in place.
          An Agenda that tends to have US GOV. all over it.

          As is, the shape of our nation the way it is now.
          I cannot see why another nation would want to attempt to attack/destroy/….etc. harm to our nation, when it is very clear to the World. That the US Government is doing such a fine job on its own dismantling our country socially and economically.

          Why would any other nation want to interfere with perfection?

      15. “Today, the middle class is being absolutely eviscerated and our “leaders” don’t seem to care. So is there a way out of this mess?”

        A George Carlin Quote!

        “Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians.
        Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from?

        They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens.

        This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans.

        So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.” ~ George Carlin

        The Church of George Carlin of Modern Day Saints

      16. two things are killing America
        open borders
        empowering black thugs

      17. Ha ha reminds me of a Saturn commercial this black dude on it says hi honey lost my job lost my car what’s for dinner. This was a right of commercial for these times. Ftw they don’t give a shit about us the socialist plan is to make us all the same middle and poor are the same just the middle class get workfare checks and the poor get welfare. But we are the same to tptb. Peasants I’ve totally been disincentivized to work I just go in and take up space. What the fuck if the welfare bitch smoking cigs at the bus stop in her pajamas with her kid waiting for the bus to school can go home and back to bed why the fuck should I care. I’m rude to the free shit idiots and niggers too I don’t give a fuck I will say what I want free speech.

        • Maybe you’ll get lucky, and some little nigglet will try to play the knockout game with you…I can only guess how that would turn out 🙂

      18. Some of us who are a little more fortunate should really consider helping others a little more…food for thought….

        • Speaking of food…my work is collecting food for a food pantry and the items the food pantry will accept are sugary cereals, canned soup, and stuff like canned ravioli. No mention of flour, sugar, salt, yeast, dried beans, etc. Apparently, “the poor” are too lazy to cook reasonably-priced, healthier foods.

          • Luke Warm:

            No, some have no kitchens. Some have no pots or cooking apparatuses such as rice cookers or crock pots. Some have nothing but even if they did, no one ever taught them how easily they can prepare a meal from scratch. Why? Because our enemies within know that dependency gives the enemy power. ” House work is Shit work”, a phrase taught by feminist leaders to American girls in the late 60’s and continuing even to the present day with these pitiful results. Also, sugar laden foods kill off and sicken people. All part of the agenda.

          • I’m sure that’s part of it, but they also give food to HOMELESS PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE A ROOF, MUCH LESS A STOVE/OVEN TO COOK WITH…or a refrigerator to keep it in.

            What good is 50 pounds of dried beans, if you can’t cook them?

      19. There never was an American Dream. For those of us that are awake we know that we can never own anything, not even close, because of sky high property taxes. The dream has always been a nightmare, unless of course you are a government employee. Period.

      20. It’s only going to get worse folks. Both Republicans and corporate Democrats are backing Obama in supporting the TPP. Here’s how that is going to f*** up everything if we don’t stop it.


        If ever there was a call to fight for our country, our constitution and our freedom, stopping the TPP is it.

      21. If the only advice is to save money for a van I can move into in the future, no wonder we are seeing so many middle aged people in this nation dying off from depression, drinking, suicide etc.

        • NEVER GIVE THEM THE SATISFACTION. Live long enough to be a pain in the ass to EVERYBODY.

      22. My parents DID have the American dream. Both went to work in blue collar jobs, in factories, and made so much money in the 70’s and 80’s, they bought a home in a nice middle class neighborhood full of good hardworking Americans, two new vehicles every 10 years, took vacations every summer, food always on the table, good insurance policies, and none of us ever went without. Dad took his retirement at age 57 and mom at 55. They had savings that they used to make upgrades on the house and do a little traveling. They had good pensions from their jobs too. My dad died a happy and fulfilled man. My mom is still around, and she knows the difficulties the next generation faces.

        I will be lucky to ever own a home. The last real vacation I took was in 2002. I don’t even have a savings account, let alone a bank account. I’m not whining, I’m just showing the differences. We are struggling and working our behinds off and getting NO where. It’s paycheck to paycheck and hand to mouth. I’m lucky enough to get to prep food back.

        • Owning a home is not “luck”–it requires scrimping/saving/sacrificing. My millenial-age daughter paid cash for a home a little over a year ago. She saved the cash by moving out of the nice-n-comfy 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhouse she was renting—into my damp, chilly, unfinished basement with her bed next to the furnace. She went to work during the day and stayed home when she wasn’t at work. She stopped buying stuff. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

          • Wow, must be amazing to be like you. Lil judgy, are ya?

            • I have a thing against the use of the words “lucky” and “luck”.

      23. If things were truly tight, you’d see gardens everywhere and clothes hung out on clotheslines. Drive through most neighborhoods and it’s rare to see either gardens or clotheslines.

        • I suspect this is due to social mores rather than actual need. People have become so conditioned to electric dryers that using a clothesline seems like a third-world humiliation. And most folks are so far removed from any connection with genuine food production and so accustomed to plastic-wrapped food from supermarkets that trying to grow food seems outlandish and bizarre. You might as well suggest that they raise goats in the courtyard of their apartment building. People would think you’re off your rocker. The vast majority of Americans have completely forgotten the knowledge of their great-grandparents and will be severely unprepared (read: “dead”) when the grid goes down.

        • Or they could be in a place like mine, without W&D hookups. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a washing machine that runs in 110v, and doesn’t need the drain pipe? I live in a small apt complex and the nearest laundry mat is in town…nobody here has W&D hookups.

          Oh sure, if you’ve got $3000, you can even get an all-in-one, but on $100 a month after rent?

          I finally found a small washer, about 30 years old that hooks up to your kitchen faucet like a portable dishwasher. It costed me about as much as a new regular washer at Sears would’ve. It took me 3 years to find one in my area. They’re all either scrapped out or people are hanging on to them if they still work.

          I can’t put my clothes outside because the neighbor’s little hellions throw them in the dirt every chance they get, so my clothes hang on a rack indoors, until I find a dryer that works on 110v.

          Point is, people driving by wouldn’t know what the fuck I’ve got or I don’t got.

      24. There is palpable desparation in the way people move around in traffic and treat each other in sales and service. There is an abundance of class envy and agism too unfortunately. I don’t see this desparation as a result of anything but being overextended… in mortgages, new cars, gadgets, contracts, etc. Our parents never lived like this generation is trying to live. That is one of the real reasons the middle class is disappearing.
        My husband and I did a few summers of mission work to help folks repair their homes a few years ago. These people were vetted by our mission planners as individuals who really needed assistance. So we gave it. In many of these run down homes you found brand new state of the art entertainment systems or late model cars parked around the back.
        One of the consistent themes of the past two decades was that you had the right to “rediscover” yourself and fulfill all your inner potential. A lot of middle class people cashed out their retirement savings to chase pipe dreams. An aquaintance of ours went into debt to go to culinary school… 50K. In the last town we lived in, we were jokingly told that you had to drive a Suburban to matter in the social scheme of things. I watched a friend struggle to maintain the facade for years whild debt collectors hounded her family. Another family we are close to switched and opened credit card balances like you wash your hands. Point is, if the ptb have conspired to shoot the middle class in the foot, we have been actively shooting ourselves in the other foot for a long time.
        I still see plenty of middle class where we live now who are not wretchedly trying to acquire one more Thing or rip off their fellow man in order to make a payment on their new i-phone. In fact, around here it is still common to see a homeowner mow his own grass. Amazing. Nah, we are not all dead yet.

        • One more thing- another big self inflicted wound to the middle class has been divorce. Divorce bleeds out money…
          Stats show that chances for a second and third divorce go up after the first divorce. Who benefits? The lawyers.

      25. Yea sure the middle class is shrinking. Then why are so many folks filling up the parking lots with newer vehicles and women buying cart loads of stuff? everyone has a cell phone and a computer. they all have cable or Dish TV. They drive they smaller children to school and let their older kids drive a newer vehicle to school

      26. finished

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