Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year


Washington’s Blog has the article Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year by Michael Snyder. Here are the numbers that Jimmy Dore quoted from the article.

-38 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-51 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-62 percent of all American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-71 percent of all American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

Being a stickler for not misusing statistics, I immediately saw the flaw in these numbers. The following sentences that Jimmy Dore did not quote may give you a hint at what I knew.

That first number is truly staggering. The federal poverty level for a family of five is $28,410, and yet almost 40 percent of all American workers do not even bring in $20,000 a year.

The first set of numbers are about what an individual worker makes. The poverty level number is for a family of five. There is no simple and straightforward translation between what a single worker makes and the total income of a family of five.

I made the following comment on this blog article:

Did you forget that most families these days have 2 workers, by necessity? Yes the numbers are bad for the USA, it is just unfortunate that you have to use numbers in a slightly misleading way to make your point.

Let us always try to stick to the unadorned truth as we make our arguments for how to make the country better. It may be easier to make a point when we embellish, but in the long run it hurts your credibility. Part of this country’s problem is that people have lost sight of the fact that there is a long run. Well, at least there always has been a long run. That may not be true of the future. However, it is best to base your behavior on the possibility that there will be a long run. If there isn’t one, then why worry?

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