Poor America: 40% of Americans Can't Afford Middle-Class Lifestyle

Even though the stock market trades at near record highs, joblessness suppressed at decade lows, and corporate buybacks/profits booming via Trump’s tax reform, poverty is exploding all over America.

One of the primary objectives of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy of this past decade was to generate the “wealth effect”: by artificially driving valuations of stocks and bonds to nosebleed valuations, American households would feel more prosperous, therefore, be more inclined to borrow and spend, even if some households did not own financial instruments.

In other words, a Central-Bank-free-money-anything-goes-induced ‘economic recovery’ was supposed to trigger fast-paced economic growth, as households would reignite the service-based economy.

While this perception management only worked for the wealthiest households who owned financial instruments, the reckless monetary policy of the Federal Reserve created a massive problem of wealth inequality among Americans.

According to a new study obtained exclusively by Axios, more than 40 percent of households cannot afford the basics of a middle-class lifestyle, including rent, transportation, childcare and a cellphone.

The study, conducted by the United Way ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Project, a nationwide effort to quantify and describe the number of households that are struggling financially, discovered “a wide band of working U.S. households that live above the official poverty line, but below the cost of paying ordinary expenses,” said Axios.

Stephanie Hoopes, Ph.D., Director, United Way ALICE Project told Axios, “based on 2016 data, there were 34.7 million households in that group — double the 16.1 million that are in actual poverty.”

Axios reminds us that for two-years, U.S. politics has been overwhelmed by the anger and resentment of a self-identified abandoned class of people, dubbed the “deplorables,” a group of millions of Americans who have been left behind economically and forced into poverty.

According to Hoopes, the United Way research report will be fully released on Thursday, which suggests that the “deplorables” are a much larger group than many have anticipated — and growing despite the stock market trading at near record highs.

Axios provides a summary of the report that will be released on Thursday: 

  • The United Way study, to be released publicly Thursday, suggests that the economically forgotten are a far bigger group than many studies assume — and, according to Hoopes, appear to be growing larger despite the improving economy.”

  • The study dubs that middle group between poverty and the middle class “ALICE” families, for Asset-limited, Income-constrained, Employed. (The map below, by Axios’ Chris Canipe, depicts that state-by-state population in dark brown).”

  • These are households with adults who are working but earning too little — 66% of Americans earn less than $20 an hour, or about $40,000 a year if they are working full time.”

Poverty vs. income-constrained households (Share Below Poverty) 

Poverty vs. income-constrained households (Share Below ALICE Level) 

Axios said when you add them to Americans living in poverty, it comes out to a stunning 51 million households. “It’s a magnitude of financial hardship that we haven’t been able to capture until now,” Hoopes said.

Using 2016 data collected from the states, the study found that North Dakota has the smallest population of combined poor and ALICE families, at 32% of its households. The largest is 49%, in California, Hawaii and New Mexico. “49% is shocking. 32% is also shocking,” Hoopes said.

Last month, President Trump wrote an op-ed in USA TODAY titled “America’s Economy is Back and Roaring and Its People Are Winning.” For the sake of America’s survivability, let us hope that Axios is wrong about their assessment of the middle class and Trump is right; otherwise, this is just more evidence that suggests the implosion of America’s middle class.


GeezerGeek NVTRIC Sun, 05/20/2018 - 21:23 Permalink

Without a demographic breakdown it is hard to know if the report is meaningful or not. What part of the 51 million is in the US illegally? What part of the 51 million is in the US as a legal refugee? What part of the 51 million is native born but was displaced by illegal invaders or refugees or H1Bs from Asia?

What part of the 51 million is native born but was rendered unemployable due to a substandard education?

In reply to by NVTRIC

MK ULTRA Alpha Automatic Choke Mon, 05/21/2018 - 02:46 Permalink

The economy has been roiled over and over by design and this is a result. The economy never came back after 9/11, then the TARP bank robbery. The economy was roiled over and over for the last thirty years, S&L, TARP, etc. Houses taken over and over, families and people's lives destroyed over and over.

Employment growth should have produced over 30 million more jobs , but during the period of the economy roiling by design, US firms off shored, now with global over capacity, there is no way a tax reform can bring back the pre-9/11 economy.

In the early Trump administration and during the campaign, the plan was a ten year $1 trillion infrastructure build. As one can see, defense spending and more wars for Israel won the day and we lost again. No infrastructure build, but more war. More free defense for countries which refuse to spend on their own defense.

Trump was the last chance to bring it back, but without the infrastructure build we will not come back. Trump can't even get a wall built, but all the neocons push for wars for the Zionism god. So what happens when the economy comes down again, it will be much worse. At some point the process of bleeding America kosher will end America and that is coming at a faster rate each decade.

In reply to by Automatic Choke

platyops MK ULTRA Alpha Mon, 05/21/2018 - 03:10 Permalink

When the off-shoring started the end of America was inevitable.

How long before a civil war between the left and the deplorables is anyones guess.

If you live in Californai as I do, you can see the left planning for the destruction of the middle class easily. It is truly frightening what politicians like Gavin Neusome actually promulgate.

Keep Stacking!

In reply to by MK ULTRA Alpha

iadr Four Star Mon, 05/21/2018 - 14:32 Permalink

The number of years of work the median family had to work to afford the median home since the 60s:


Quite honestly that link opens more lines of inquiry than it really does answer anything.  I am a not a dumb or ill informed man, but I put that on my favorites with a note, that basically, I don't understand all that is going on there.

In reply to by Four Star

Kidbuck MK ULTRA Alpha Mon, 05/21/2018 - 06:16 Permalink

Nice post MK ULTRA.

I will only quibble with: Trump was the last chance

I think Reagan was the last chance, or maybe when Newt controlled congress?

Reagan, like Trump, talked a good game during the campaign, was going to cut spending, yet upon arrival Reagan promptly signed the biggest tax and spending bill in history up to that time.

Then a few years later Newt had a "contract with America" where he promised to cut spending. He had the government shut down which was a good first step in getting a spending cut but then he inexplicably lost his balls and has been a gutless cunt ever since.

 Then again, perhaps once we had the Fed and the income tax we were just truly and royally fucked.

In reply to by MK ULTRA Alpha

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Fester Sun, 05/20/2018 - 23:43 Permalink

So? It does't disprove my comment about the first map with the dark orange square in South Dakota being the location of a massive Indian reservation that is run by a large organization in DC called the Bureau of Indian Affairs, under the Department of the Interior, which provides checks at taxpayer expense.

If the natives are so fucking sovereign cut off those government checks. Another waste of US Taxpayer money, once again, and another massive bureaucracy in D.C. that needs to be defunded and killed, forever. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureau_of_Indian_Affairs

In reply to by Fester

mianne HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Mon, 05/21/2018 - 05:08 Permalink

I have heard that most taxpayers are against migrants and natives, which is pure nonsense . Since the arrival of the Mayflower, nearly all the taxpayers are migrants themselves and should leave the country to the only real Americans, the Indians, unjustly kept in poverty in special reservations, whereas all the recent migrants are free to choose the place where they want to live . Such an unfair society where the real landlords have the least rights !

In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0

Kidbuck mianne Mon, 05/21/2018 - 06:34 Permalink

Recent finds in archeology have proven that "Indians" were just fairly recent squatters themselves. The early tribes pushed each other off lands, fought and killed each other in mass, made slaves of the few survivors, and would have remained in stone age poverty with no inkling of science or technology forever if Europeans hadn't conquered them.

I've lived and worked with many Indians who had embraced European civilization and because of this were richer, better educated, and happier than I was. Even these Indians looked upon living on the Rez as we look upon the blacks living in the inner cities on welfare, as the stupid and lazy lacking gumption.

In reply to by mianne

Adahy HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Mon, 05/21/2018 - 01:10 Permalink

The rez's are our ghettos.  You either get motivated and get the fuck out of there when you're old enough, or you stay and fester in dependence to the state forever.  It's designed that way, just like urban black ghettos.  They don't want you to leave, they discourage it at every opportunity.

FUCK the BIA.  I left at 16 and never looked back.  Most of us with sense leave as soon as we can.  Plenty of native community outside the rez, and you don't have to deal with all the pitiful drunks and drug addicts that have given up on life while sitting around begging for handouts.

Real Mvskoke don't beg, ever.  I don't need the fucking rez, I bought my own land.

In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0

RedBaron616 GeezerGeek Sun, 05/20/2018 - 21:35 Permalink

Exactly. Not to mention that United Way commissioned this study. Hard to imagine that the results would have been otherwise. After all, this is designed to get the rest of us to open our wallets. This studies are useless and should be viewed skeptically as they are designed to increase contributions. Screw United Way!

In reply to by GeezerGeek

chunga RedBaron616 Sun, 05/20/2018 - 22:20 Permalink

Sure, there's probably fraud in there. There always is these days because that's where the money's at. Still though, I do believe the premise is correct that it would be pretty hard to do @ 20 bucks an hour. 

Even being careful just the basic shit costs a lot of money and we wonder how these young parents can afford to pay it. Lovey works with a bunch of them and she says a lot of them are very hard workers but are struggling to make ends meet. We're fortunate to have all our stuff paid for but we've added up what it costs for just the minimum necessities and it's quite a bit.

In reply to by RedBaron616

Never One Roach gatorengineer Sun, 05/20/2018 - 22:42 Permalink

CharityWatch Hall of Shame


William Aramony served for 22 years as president and CEO of United Way of America (UWA), the umbrella group for thousands of local United Way organizations that fund social and human service projects nationwide. In 1992, Aramony resigned amidst allegations that he siphoned money from UWA through spin-off companies he helped to create. Before the scandal broke, Aramony was widely respected as one of the most influential nonprofit leaders of his time.

He even had a hand in creating many of the rules under which charities operate today. In 1995, Aramony and two conspirators, Thomas Merlo and Stephen Paulachak, were convicted of defrauding UWA. Aramony was convicted on 25 felony counts and sentenced to seven years in prison for fraudulently diverting $1.2 million of the charity's money to benefit himself and his friends.




Everyone should read this list of shameful behavior of these charity "leaders."


In reply to by gatorengineer

Expat GeezerGeek Mon, 05/21/2018 - 05:18 Permalink

Poor, stupid white people are a large part of this demographic.  And it's not the fault of black, Asian, jews, or muslims.  White Americans are willfully ignorant, disdain education as being socialist and effete, and consider knowledge to the purvey of Satan.  That was fine when America dominated the world markets for ice and corn, but it's not so great when trying to run a tech company or a sophisticated manufacturing plant.

Instead of spending your time whining about how down-trodden the poor white man is and trying to lynch niggers, you guys might consider a campaign to educated yourselves and your fellow mullet-headed sister-fuckers.


#Hopeless  #Ignorant rednecks  #Trump loves poor people because he can buy their daughters cheap.

In reply to by GeezerGeek

mickrussom NVTRIC Sun, 05/20/2018 - 23:56 Permalink

With everyone spending all of their pay on taxes, food and rent/mortgage, why would the consumer economy every truly recover? Without printing money is spent on tax, food and rent. Simply. No real movement of money. 


And the situation will continue to deteriorate. 

In reply to by NVTRIC

rejected Sun, 05/20/2018 - 21:20 Permalink

"more than 40 percent of households cannot afford the basics of a middle-class lifestyle, including rent, transportation, childcare and a cellphone."

Cellphone.... (lol)

poor babies!

RedBaron616 rejected Sun, 05/20/2018 - 21:38 Permalink

Why is that even the janitors in my building have newer cellphones than I do?

No one ever considers that some people are poor because they make poor spending decisions. I still use my original 3-year-old smartphone and plan to continue using it. It does everything I need it to do. Why do I need to upgrade?

In reply to by rejected