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America’s Middle Class

America’s Middle Class

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America’s Middle Class

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  1. Richard Alm Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas America’s Middle Class In Crisis Or Comfortable?

  2. What is middle class? • Get an education • Get a good job • Own a home • Live the “good life” • Save for a rainy day

  3. Get an education America’s Middle Class In Crisis Or Comfortable?

  4. Get an education

  5. Get an education

  6. Get an education

  7. Get an education

  8. Get a good job America’s Middle Class In Crisis Or Comfortable?

  9. Get a good job

  10. Get a good job

  11. Get a good job Economic Downturns, 1855-2002

  12. Get a good job

  13. Get a good job

  14. Get a good job Stand in an assembly line. Operate dangerous machinery. Time-motion studies. Punch in and wait for the 5 o’clock whistle. 15-minute break, sack lunch and thermos. Smoke, soot and stale air. Dark, dank, dangerous conditions. Join a union to be heard. No phone, no window, no visiting. Work at the office, play elsewhere. Commute. Work your way up the company ladder. 50 years and a gold watch. Starched collar and necktie. Power is position and job tenure. Trade school and ratchet set. Blue collar, grease and Borax soap. A good job is hard to find. Search the local paper’s help-wanted ad. Look for a job. Boredom from repeated tasks. Just do what you’re told.

  15. Get a good job Sit in a cubicle. Operate a computer. Ergonomic workstations. Flextime, just get the job done. Go out to eat, outside to smoke. Constant indoor air-quality analysis. Indirect lighting, central heat and air. Employee empowerment. Access to e-mail, Ebay and coworkers. Work and play blur. Telecommute. Cultivate your core competencies. Portable 401(k) plans and an early out. Khakis and a polo shirt. Power is ideas and vision. Technical school and software certification. Lab coat and a clean-room suit. Four job offers and a signing bonus. Park your resume on the Net. Pursue a career. Interesting and meaningful work. Think and grow rich.

  16. Get a good job • Death and accident rates are down at work • Jobs are less repetitious and boring • Work is more interesting and meaningful • Work schedules are more flexible • Employees are freer to come and go • Workers are more independent • Finding a new job is easier than ever • Even stress levels have abated

  17. Initial Claims* Net Job Gains* End-of-year Employment* Unemployment Rate Productivity (1980=100) Get a good job

  18. Own a home America’s Middle Class In Crisis Or Comfortable?

  19. Own a home

  20. Own a home More affordable Less affordable

  21. Own a home

  22. Own a home

  23. 1996 $140,000 5.6 hr./sq. ft. Own a home

  24. 2003 $193,900 5.9 hrs./sq. ft. Own a home

  25. Own a home Percentage equipped with Dishwasher 2+ baths Garage Central air/heat Average size Median size

  26. Live the “good life” America’s Middle Class In Crisis Or Comfortable?

  27. Live the “good life” Percentage of households with:

  28. Live the “good life” Percentage of households with:

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  46. Live the “good life” Percentage of households with:

  47. “Queen Elizabeth owned silk stockings. The capitalist achievement does not typically consist in providing more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within the reach of factory girls in return for steadily decreasing amounts of effort.” Live the “good life” Joseph Schumpeter

  48. Live the “good life” “The cost of a thing is the amount of...life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” Henry David Thoreau

  49. Live the “good life” 12-Item Food Basket

  50. Live the “good life”