Two months ago my wife and I became official members of the middle class. On July 13, Jamey and I said “I do” and got married. You do the simple math of adding up our incomes and we just meet the lowest threshold for middle classdom. I didn’t realize that until I read a disturbing article today via Illinois’ top political blog.
The post referenced a Wall Street Journal article describing how Proctor & Gamble, a company that supposedly has a product in 98 percent of American households, has completely shifted how it markets products.
Companies like Tiffany & Co., Coach Inc. and Neiman Marcus Group Inc., which cater to the wealthy, racked up outsize sales last Christmas and continue to post strong sales … Firms catering to low-income consumers, such as Dollar General Corp., also are posting gains, boosted by formerly middle-class families facing shrunken budgets. Dollar stores garnered steady sales increases in recent years, easily outpacing mainstream counterparts like Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which typically are more expensive.
Now that is frightening. The booming middle class engine of the economy is giving way to something far different and far less equitable.
Add to these new U.S. Census numbers.
- The nation’s official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009 ─ the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate.
- There were 46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 ─ the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.
If that isn’t enough to make you loss some sleep, you’re either wealthy or drunk, or maybe your wealthy and drunk on $150 bottles of wine guzzled out of crystal glasses. Either way, you’re not me, my family or my friends.