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“Another Rough Decade for the Middle Class.”

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

 

A rough 10 Years For the Middle Class

September 21, 2011: 5:31 AM ET

Middle-class income fell 7% in the last decade, adjusted for inflation.

 

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — It’s official.

The first decade of the 21st century will go down in the history books as a step back for the American middle class.

Last week, the government made gloomy headlines when it released the latest census report showing the poverty rate rose to a 17-year high. A whopping 46.2 million people (or 15.1% of the U.S. population) live in poverty and 49.9 million live without health insurance.

But the data also gave the first glimpse of what happened to middle-class incomes in the first decade of the millennium. While the earnings of middle-income Americans have barely budged since the mid 1970s, the new data showed that from 2000 to 2010, they actually regressed.

For American households in the middle of the pay scale, income fell to $49,445 last year, when adjusted for inflation, a level not seen since 1996.

And over the 10-year period, their income is down 7%.

“Economists talk about the lost decade in Japan. Well, with these 2010 data, we can confirm the lost decade for the American middle class,” said Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Rising costs for middle class

Sure, it’s fair to say Americans at all levels of income, from rich to poor, were hit hard in the decade that started with the dot-com boom and bust, and ended with the Great Recession.

But according to the census data, those losses disproportionately hit the lowest 60% of Americans, while the richest 40% actually gained wealth, relative to the entire U.S. economy.

Much of that trend can be explained by massive losses in the housing sector, the period of high unemployment that ensued, and rising prices that flew in the face of the American family’s heightened financial struggles.

Unlike the richest Americans, middle class families have most of their wealth tied up in the equity of their homes, which took a beating in the recession. And high unemployment has left many people with little or no other income at all.

At the same time that Americans had less cash to spend, they were also being hit with rising prices for some crucial items. Even accounting for inflation, it still costs more to buy a home, fill your gas tank, go to the doctor and put food on the table than it did only 10 years ago.

And not only is it more expensive to live a middle-class life, it costs more to get there too. The price of a college education — still considered the ticket to higher wages and a better lifestyle — has surged over the last decade, even in spite of the recession.

Facing these burdens, the American Dream is undergoing stark changes, with fewer people choosing to buy homes and more young people postponing their own independent lives. The census data showed about 14.2% of all young people ages 25 to 34 are still living in their parents’ homes this year, compared to about 11.8% before the recession began in 2007.

And that poses a challenge for the economy going forward. After all, what will the middle class and the American Dream look like another decade from now, if the younger generations still can’t get their feet off the ground? 

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Categories: Economic Update

Uncertainty About Govt. Policy Is Crippling the Economy

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Speaker Boehner: Uncertainty

About Govt. Policy Is Crippling the Economy

 

By James B. Driscoll, Thursday, September 22, 2011

The debate over how to get this country’s fiscal house in order rages on, as does the related debate over how to prop us the U.S. economy.

President Obama on Monday laid out his plan to save nearly $3 trillion over the next 10 years. His plan includes a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases.

But the increase in revenues has Congressional Republicans up in arms because the President’s proposal would raise $1.5 trillion in taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Earlier this year House Republicans vowed not to support a budget deal or debt-ceiling deal that included takes hikes.

On Monday, President Obama drew his own proverbial line in the sand: “I will not support any [deficit] plan that puts all the burden on ordinary Americans,” he said during his address at the White House Rose Garden. “We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.”

Included in Obama’s proposal is also a so-called Buffett rule, which is designed to make sure that those making $1 million a year or more pay the same percentage of their incomes in taxes as middle-class Americans.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, along with many fellow Republicans, chided the President for this proposal, calling it a form of “class warfare.”

The Daily Ticker met up with Speaker Boehner at the Republican National Committee headquarters to get his reaction to the President’s proposal and veto threat.

“I’m just concerned that raising taxes at this point in our economy — where it is so weak — is really the wrong prescription. America has a spending problem and what we need to do is attack the spending problem we have,” he says in the accompanying video. “I think we will send a signal to employers and investors throughout the country and for that matter throughout the world that America is serious about dealing with its spending problem.”

Boehner also commented on, and agreed with, President Bill Clinton‘s notion that in order to have a strong U.S. economy, you have to have a strong partnership between the public and private sector”I just think if you really want to have a strong economy that you have got to have business leaders and government leaders on the same page working together,” says Boehner. “[But] I don’t see that happening today and I certainly don’t hear that from employers around the country.”

Boehner points to the resulting government uncertainty as one big driver of slow economy growth.

“There is no question that the private sector in America right now sees all of this uncertainty coming out of Washington: new rules, new regulations and no idea what the tax rates are going to be at the end of next year,” he says. “I was with a group of employers in my own district yesterday who are very concerned about investing more in their business at a time of great uncertainty and I think government needs to help bring some certainty.”

 

Categories: Economic Update

“More Uncertainily about the Economy”

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

boehner, john

Speaker Boehner: Uncertainty

About Govt. Policy Is Crippling the Economy

By James B. Driscoll, Thursday, September 22, 2011

The debate over how to get this country’s fiscal house in order rages on, as does the related debate over how to prop us the U.S. economy.

President Obama on Monday laid out his plan to save nearly $3 trillion over the next 10 years. His plan includes a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases.

But the increase in revenues has Congressional Republicans up in arms because the President’s proposal would raise $1.5 trillion in taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Earlier this year House Republicans vowed not to support a budget deal or debt-ceiling deal that included takes hikes.

On Monday, President Obama drew his own proverbial line in the sand: “I will not support any [deficit] plan that puts all the burden on ordinary Americans,” he said during his address at the White House Rose Garden. “We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.”

Included in Obama’s proposal is also a so-called Buffett rule, which is designed to make sure that those making $1 million a year or more pay the same percentage of their incomes in taxes as middle-class Americans.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, along with many fellow Republicans, chided the President for this proposal, calling it a form of “class warfare.”

The Daily Ticker met up with Speaker Boehner at the Republican National Committee headquarters to get his reaction to the President’s proposal and veto threat.

“I’m just concerned that raising taxes at this point in our economy — where it is so weak — is really the wrong prescription. America has a spending problem and what we need to do is attack the spending problem we have,” he says in the accompanying video. “I think we will send a signal to employers and investors throughout the country and for that matter throughout the world that America is serious about dealing with its spending problem.”

Boehner also commented on, and agreed with, President Bill Clinton’s notion that in order to have a strong U.S. economy, you have to have a strong partnership between the public and private sector”I just think if you really want to have a strong economy that you have got to have business leaders and government leaders on the same page working together,” says Boehner. “[But] I don’t see that happening today and I certainly don’t hear that from employers around the country.”

Boehner points to the resulting government uncertainty as one big driver of slow economy growth.

“There is no question that the private sector in America right now sees all of this uncertainty coming out of Washington: new rules, new regulations and no idea what the tax rates are going to be at the end of next year,” he says. “I was with a group of employers in my own district yesterday who are very concerned about investing more in their business at a time of great uncertainty and I think government needs to help bring some certainty.”

http://www.jamesbdriscoll.com

Senior Services

Categories: Economic Update

“American Dream ~ Under Assualt.”

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

President Bill Clinton: Yes,

The American Dream Is Under Assualt

The nation’s official poverty rate was 15.1% last year, that equates to a record 46.2 million Americans living in poverty. With poverty levels rising for the past three years, average median U.S. income falling back to 1996 levels and income inequality at the highest levels since the Roaring 1920s, many Americans are starting to wonder: Is the American dream dying?

“The American Dream has been under assault for 30 years,” says former President Bill Clinton.

I spoke with President Clinton on the eve of the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York Monday, where “jobs jobs, jobs” is one of the main topics of the conference.

While the development of a global economy and the information technology revolution caused upheaval for many workers, Mister Clinton says these trends were accelerated by “the adoption of two bad ideas”:

Turning Stakeholders into Shareholders: About 35 years ago, the notion of what a corporation is changed, Clinton notes. Previously, corporations were “more or less” equally responsible to shareholders, employees, customers and the communities where they operated. “Now, shareholders are up here and everybody else is way down there.”

Government as the Enemy: Clinton cites a “30-year anti-government rant,” which is a uniquely American phenomenon, as another root cause of joblessness. “Instead of figuring out how the government and the private sector can work together, saying that ‘government is the source of all problems and if we just choked it off, never another regulation, never another tax, never had another program all will be well.’ There is not a single, solitary example on the planet where that’s worked, including in America.”

As at past CGI annual meetings, Clinton is hopeful this year’s event will generate specific programs aimed to tackle joblessness around the world.

In lesser-developed countries, just “modest investments” in agriculture can generate “enormous” income for citizens, and help very poor countries start feeding themselves again, he says.

In the developed world, Clinton says an “enormous numbers of jobs” can be created by renewed commitments to energy efficiency. “The U.S. is about twice as energy efficient as we were back in the first oil embargo in the 1970s but more than twice as inefficient as our largest competitors,” he says. “We could create 1 million jobs here if we had a systematic way to finance building retrofits everywhere.”

Categories: Economic Update

“Is the American Dream ~ Under Assualt”

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

President Bill Clinton: Yes,

The American Dream Is Under Assualt

The nation’s official poverty rate was 15.1% last year, that equates to a record 46.2 million Americans living in poverty. With poverty levels rising for the past three years, average median U.S. income falling back to 1996 levels and income inequality at the highest levels since the Roaring 1920s, many Americans are starting to wonder: Is the American dream dying?

“The American Dream has been under assault for 30 years,” says former President Bill Clinton.

I spoke with President Clinton on the eve of the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York Monday, where “jobs jobs, jobs” is one of the main topics of the conference.

While the development of a global economy and the information technology revolution caused upheaval for many workers, Mister Clinton says these trends were accelerated by “the adoption of two bad ideas”:

Turning Stakeholders into Shareholders: About 35 years ago, the notion of what a corporation is changed, Clinton notes. Previously, corporations were “more or less” equally responsible to shareholders, employees, customers and the communities where they operated. “Now, shareholders are up here and everybody else is way down there.”

Government as the Enemy: Clinton cites a “30-year anti-government rant,” which is a uniquely American phenomenon, as another root cause of joblessness. “Instead of figuring out how the government and the private sector can work together, saying that ‘government is the source of all problems and if we just choked it off, never another regulation, never another tax, never had another program all will be well.’ There is not a single, solitary example on the planet where that’s worked, including in America.”

As at past CGI annual meetings, Clinton is hopeful this year’s event will generate specific programs aimed to tackle joblessness around the world.

In lesser-developed countries, just “modest investments” in agriculture can generate “enormous” income for citizens, and help very poor countries start feeding themselves again, he says.

In the developed world, Clinton says an “enormous numbers of jobs” can be created by renewed commitments to energy efficiency. “The U.S. is about twice as energy efficient as we were back in the first oil embargo in the 1970s but more than twice as inefficient as our largest competitors,” he says. “We could create 1 million jobs here if we had a systematic way to finance building retrofits everywhere.”

 

For more info, go to :

http://www.jamesbdriscoll.com

 

 

Categories: Economic Update

About Us-Senior Services, James B. Driscoll, President

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

James B. Driscoll, CEP, LUTCF, is President of Senior Services as well and is a well-known financial and estate planning educator & lecturer in North East Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.  James had started in the business in 1984 with Metropolitan Insurance Company, then got into management with John Hancock Life Insurance Company in 1987.  He began his own practice in 1991 and has been assisting investors for over 27 years.  He has expanded his practice to include advanced tax consulting, tax preparers and CPA’s on retainer.  Mr. Driscoll is author of two books “Financial Security for Mature Americans” how to avoid outliving your money, and his latest book “A Guide to Personal Finance and Estate Planning”.

 

Specializing with seniors since he began his own practice in 1991 he has handled planning situations that are unique to the Baby Boomers and the Seniors.  He has advised over 800 retirees and pre-retires with their Tax, Financial, Medicaid, and Estate planning strategies.  Jim specializes in tax and retirement planning with IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, 401k’s, 403b’s, non-qualified and qualified planning.

Mr. Driscoll is a Certified Estate Planner, Tax Consultant, Paralegal, & Notary Public for the state of Ohio.  His practice focuses on helping you earn & keep more of your money protecting it from income taxes, social security taxation, getting tax-free income, nursing homes, and passing it more effectively to your heirs.  He has written numerous articles on Tax and Estate Planning for many publications and does free seminars for church and senior groups.

Personal Finance, Estate Planning and Tax Planning are not simple concepts and are constantly changing along with tax laws.   Jim’s goal is to turn these complex concepts into simple-to-understand strategies for retirees and pre-retirees.  These strategies mold one of the most important aspects of our lives…our FUTURE.

Categories: Economic Update

Senior Services – Home – Youngstown, OH

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: Economic Update