How America's Middle Class Lost The War In One Simple Animation

Tyler Durden's picture

Over six years ago this website made a simple prediction: as a result of the Fed's disastrous policies designed to make the rich richer beyond their wildest dreams, the US middle class - the growth dynamo behind America's economic power for over a century - is on its way to extinction.

Overnight, we reported that according to a new Pew study, this is precisely what is taking place because while in 1971 two out of three Americans live in middle-income households, now for the first time in at least four decades (and likely ever) just under half of all households (about 49.9 percent) belong to the "middle class." Slightly more than half of Americans (about 50.1 percent) either live in a lower-class household (roughly 29 percent) or an upper-class household (about 21 percent).

As a result of factory closings and other economic factors, the country now has 120.8 million adults living in middle-income households, the study found. That compares with the 121.3 million who are living in either upper- or lower-income households.

"The hollowing of the middle has proceeded steadily for the past four decades," Pew concluded.

And middle-income Americans not only have shrunk as a share of the population but have fallen further behind financially, with their median income down 4 percent compared with the year 2000, Pew said.


Initially, many mocked us for our dire prediction. Now, it is conventional wisdom and the implications are reverberating everywhere from monetary policy (even the Fed has admitted the QE does not work) to politics, where general discontent has fueled the stunning surge of such anti-establishment candidates as Donald Trump. Here is the FT:

The prevailing view that the middle class is being crushed is helping to feed some of the popular anger that has boosted the populist politics personified by Donald Trump’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. “The middle class is disappearing,” says Alison Fuller, a 25-year-old university graduate working for a medical start-up in Smyrna, Georgia, who sees herself voting for Mr Trump.

But while the US middle class officially has lost the war, one group of Americans has never had it better. For the answer, we refer you to the FT animation below.


Finally, for those curious how the distribution of income growth has changed over the same period for 90% of the population, vs just the top 1%, here it is again with the one event that precipitated the surge in wealth for the top percentile duly highlighted:

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surf0766's picture

All your middle class are belong to us.  Just what they wanted , a 2 class society.

813kml's picture

Most of the USSA is a no-class society.

Ignatius's picture

Good, so when I notice that it's quite a boner rising out on the far right of the income animation, I'll fit right in among the no-class peasants.

Tyler Durderian's picture
Tyler Durderian (not verified) Ignatius Dec 10, 2015 2:49 PM

Back to feudalism

Anyone up for a free lunch at my Mansion?

McMolotov's picture

'Murica: Feel the trickle!

Dr. Engali's picture

We've gone way past a trickle long ago.

McMolotov's picture

What a bunch of shit (and piss).

MsCreant's picture

To make it fair we need a video of a donkey doing the same routine.

Dr. Engali's picture

Funny you said that because I thought the same thing.

Ignatius's picture

Further proof that animals are superior.

TheFutureIsThePast's picture

America is becoming Soviet.

USSR: Rich elite class on top, poor slaves on the bottom.
Brutal military state to keep the slaves under control.

garypaul's picture

OK, I understand the concern over the disappearing middle-class, but what does that have to do with voting for Trump? Isn't Trump just a fed-funded casino operator himself?

Dr. Engali's picture

The middle class lost ground because they allowed themselves to be distracted by a blow job while both parties were busy fucking them in the ass.   

Bay of Pigs's picture

"We cornholed some folks..."

Dr. Engali's picture

I am Cornholio, I need TP for my bunghole.

Handful of Dust's picture

Wanna job? Move to China; they're hiring!

preusse's picture

ah its a diving whale

Dr. Spin's picture

Elysium will not be built.


Spoctor Din

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) RaceToTheBottom Dec 10, 2015 2:28 PM

Address?  If it's still on Earth, you can drive there.

Sudden Debt's picture

American worseship the holly billionaire and dream of becomming one by doing nothing.

And they even plan for it!!!!

That's why they're against taxing those billionaires just in case they would suddenly become one.


Apocalicious's picture

That's funny. I just got back from Disneyland with my wife and three kids, and was struck by how many Americans have no class at all. 

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Apocalicious Dec 10, 2015 2:28 PM

The ones with class are keeping to themselves these days and you won't see them ingesting the mass culture slurry much anymore.  The core of Americans who are still Americans is just very quiet at the moment.  But it is an extremely large cohort, made to seem small by media suppression.

crazybob369's picture

I'm amazed that anyone can even afford to go to Wally World. Isn't a Park Hopper ticket something like $100?

Sudden Debt's picture

When you see 1000 tourists in Europe, you can spot the Americans just by watching them eat, order a ticket, order a drink.

Americans always think that everybody is stupid and to be talked to in a rude way.

And if you want to see a American crumble like he's been raped by a group of baboons, just tough their arm. Americans can't handle physical contact.

And in Europe, when we see a tourist who has lost the way, we just walk to them and ask them if they need directions.

If that tourist is an American... You see sheer panick in their eyes because you talked to them "without any reason". 

And Americans eat like 6 year old children. If it's not a hamburger or spagetti or a pizza, they look at it like it's dogshit.

And when you see them drink a beer... they'll never order a second.

hongdo's picture

In Asia you can spot the  Europeans by their pensions.  Just as bad as Americans but oh so  PC.  Come on - they are just as obnoxious  - percentage-wise.

Hyjinx's picture

Okay asshole.  I lived on your side of the pond for 7 years and found Brits to be by FAR much more obnoxious than Americans.  Ever see a pack of Brits trolling in Amsterdam or Krakow?  What a bunch of wankers!  Don't get me started on not being able to talk to people spontaneously.  Euros are just about the WORST at this.  If Euros don't know you and you start chatting them up they recoil immediately and make short work of the conversation.  This is less true in Southern Europe but most certainly true in France, Holland and where you hail from.  So spare me. 

bigkahuna's picture

They are obnoxious in our own country, but I dispute the second beer deal...

memento_mori's picture

yeah, americans are jerks, but you got lucky to have those two american marines in that train, otherwise you would have been slaughtered like lambs, spineless european intellectual perverts. The more you hate the americans the more you wish to become like them. Go and eat your bland waterzoii, idiot.

TalkToLind's picture

You were at Disneyland?  But I thought all Disney customers were supposed to begin queuing up at theaters yesterday for the new Star Wars movie...the instructions were on all of the network "news" programs!

Kaiser Sousa's picture

and look at the fucking Dow....

what fucking bullshit....

847328_3527's picture

Well, they are losing control of the housing market in some countries:


House prices set to PLUNGE by 7.5 per cent - as Australia's over-inflated market sparks fears the country is on the brink of a recession



csmith's picture

Two words:  NAFTA and GATT. Lots of others in nations far and wide are thriving in ways unimagined 45 years ago. Here at home, not so much. 

It was obvious 20 years ago:



vq1's picture

and just you wait for tpp. Make nafta look like barney fife

wizteknet's picture

Don't forget the influx of H1B visa's that took what was left of the jobs!

gregga777's picture

Sunni Muslim Barrack Hussein Obama, citizen of Indonesia and Muslim-madrasah attendee, Unconstitutional President of the United States of America and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, implementation of plan to destroy America from within is succeeding.

MsCreant's picture

Fun to make fun of him, but he don't get the credit.

Clinton and Bush baby were the dildoes they fucked us with long before Obama came along to add more insult to our injury. 

Presidents is dizzstractions, don't you know that by now, boi!?!

ToSoft4Truth's picture

Jackson was the last decent president.

TheFutureIsThePast's picture

Eh, you have to give JFK credit as well. He was a thorn in the banker's sides, so much so that they blew his brains out.

Vlad the Inhaler's picture

Yeah Obama has been planning this since 1971 right?

TheFutureIsThePast's picture

Obama traveled back in time to 1913 and personally wrote the Federal Reserve Act.

MsCreant's picture

Someone has a straw and they are drinking our milkshake, look at that graph, they are slurping it right up.

StandardDeviant's picture

About that graph...  I hate to swim against the prevailing ZH tide of relentlessly negative stories about anything US-related, but it's worth pointing out that the FT animation actually tells a mostly positive story.

With the single exception of the $0-5k band, which has gone up from about 1.5% to 2.5%, we can see that the number of people in every band below $85k has dropped, while the number in every band above $85k has increased.  This is not due to inflation: values are shown in constant 2014 dollars.  Thus, this graph shows almost every US household becoming considerably wealthier.  The people who complain about high Gini coefficients should be pleased.

As for that last big $200k+ bar, it seems misleading to me, and an odd value to choose as the cutoff.  Incomes generally follow a power law distribution; this graph compresses a very large number of (increasingly small) values into one bar.  If the intention of the ZH article is to encourage 1%-bashing, bear in mind that this last bar does not show "the 1%" at all, but the top 7.5% or so.  Apparently in the US (according to 2012 figures) you'd need a $400k income to be in the top 1%, probably more by 2015, so it would bave been clearer to show individual bars up to $400k or $500k rather than $200k.  (Perhaps this was chosen as the cutoff because in 1971 about 1% of households had an income of $200k or more, in 2014 dollars.)

All in all, the graph doesn't support the point that the article is trying to make.  If anything, it suggests that if the middle class is shrinking, it's because a large number of people have gotten wealthy enough to move out of the $42k-125k band marked "middle class".  Good for them.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Dec 10, 2015 2:29 PM

The war is just getting started.

vq1's picture

as soon as am done working/shopping/sleeping/netflixing/googling/iphoning/perscriptioning/serving time.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) vq1 Dec 10, 2015 3:01 PM

You'll get over all that.  Or you'll be a sheep in the city while your brethren take up arms in the next few years.

There are two nations coexisting within the borders of the "United States".