If you’re part of the working poor or a member of the fading American middle class, you’re well aware that your income — the lifeblood of building a life in this world — has either stalled or flat out taken a nosedive.
It’s not supposed to be this way.
After all, we’ve been told that if we work hard and play by the rules we’ll grab a nice piece of the American dream. And that’s what democratic, industrialized nations do: They offer a path to shared prosperity, where the many — not just the plutocratic few — make gains.
But the notion of an upwardly mobile nation has become an American fairy tale.
The body of evidence is irrefutable. Here’s just a small taste:
• Between 2002 and 2012, wages were stagnant or declined for the entire bottom 70 percent of the wage distribution, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank. As a result, EPI says, “the vast majority of wage earners have already experienced a lost decade, one where real wages were either flat or in decline.”
• In Clark County, moderate-wage and middle-income jobs — paying from $12 to $24 per hour — have declined by more than 7 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to Scott Bailey, regional labor economist for the state Employment Security Department.
There are many reasons for this shameful body of evidence, including a U.S. tax policy that has effectively redistributed income upwards for decades.