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Americans Lost Two Decades of Wealth
In just "tres anos", or three years, the American middle class lost 40% of their medium income. It began in 2008. Call it a recession but more apt is a mild depression that still lingers and casts doubts of millions underemployed, unemployed or employed. Those that are working are generally working for less. Some are working longer hours because managers are still cutting costs. Basically, the average middle class family is earning at 1992 levels. Some of the upper middle class managed to remain stable and did not lose catastrophic amounts and , of course, the rich are getting richer in this time by buying dirt cheap homes and flipping them. They can afford this, nobody else can. Credit also took a hit, the average family has a credit card debt of $2600, while 25% have no credit card debt. The medium family lost over $40,000 in annual income during the three year period as jobs were lost and employers are paying less than they did.
It was the implosion of the housing market that wreaked carnage on the poor and middle class because most rely on their home for 50% of their net worth. When the home was lost, so was much of their net worth and earning the medium income of $45K a year, is still not good in 2012. A decent wage for middle income families is $55-65K, but that is not the medium income today.
That is why they call the 2008-2011, the Great Recession.