Tags: Trump Administration | GOP2016 | Hillary Clinton | Scott Walker | candidate | middle class | income

Candidates Struggle to Describe Shrinking 'Middle Class'

By    |   Monday, 11 May 2015 03:44 PM

Candidates on the 2016 campaign trail have pushed back on use of the term "middle class," even as the very issues associated with such a class of consumers, such as jobs and the economy, continue to energize voters, The New York Times reports.

Those seeking the presidency are searching for a new way to discuss what many see as a fading demographic segment as economic disparity continues to track across the country, the Times said.

Among the terms used in recent months are "ordinary Americans," a moniker from liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders, "everyday Americans," currently floated by Hillary Clinton, and the emotional term "hardworking taxpayers," invoked by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the Times noted of the struggle to define and encapsulate an ever-missing voter contingent.

The term "middle class" has "lost its resonance" as the economic standard that used to define it has not kept pace with rising costs, leaving no real words for those whose wealth and prosperity have been stymied, the Times said.

"The cultural consensus around what it mean to be 'middle-class' — and that has very much been part of the national identity in the United States — is beginning to shift," University of Washington professor Sarah Elwood told the Times. "We have no collective language for talking about that condition."

A Pew Charitable Trust study from March defined current middle-class standards as incomes between 67 percent and 200 percent of a state's median income. It used data from the U.S. Census' American Community Survey to set the standards.

Those families who hit that so-called "middle-class" benchmark have shrunk "in every state" from 2000 to 2013, Pew said.

Business Insider listed those middle-class wages from Pew, from highest to lowest.

Maryland comes out on top, followed by Alaska and New Jersey. The bottom three are West Virginia, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

The Times noted candidates' dilemmas in earning the middle-class vote and talking about it effectively.

"It used to be 'middle class' represented everyone, actually or in their aspirations, but now it doesn't feel as attainable," David Madland, who serves as the managing director of economic policy at the Center for American Progress, told the Times. "You see politicians and others grasping for the right word to talk about a majority of Americans."

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Candidates on the 2016 campaign trail have pushed back on use of the term "middle class," even as the very issues associated with such a class of consumers, such as jobs and the economy, continue to energize voters, The New York Times reports.
candidate, middle class, income, jobs, economy
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2015-44-11
Monday, 11 May 2015 03:44 PM
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