Working Families Continue to Struggle as the Recovery Leaves them Behind
We've heard about the economic recovery that is expanding business and creating jobs, but few North Carolinians actually benefit from this growth. In a nation with astronomically high college tuition, tax increases on the shrinking middle class, and a low minimum wage, it looks like the only people that can keep up are the rich and wealthy (as always).
The balance is that for all the talk of recovering, millions of middle-class Americans haven’t ever recovered from the monumental downturn that began in 2008. They may have jobs, but the jobs are for lower compensation. The lost ground hasn’t been made up, and the struggle is harder. Businesses have continued to trim their sails – pensions are in many cases a thing of the past – and education is more expensive for their children. The Pew Research Center reports that in 1971, 60 percent of Americans were middle class; now the figure is less than 50 percent.
And in North Carolina, lawmakers have boasted of tax cuts, excessive tax cuts that have limited the state’s ability to do much for teachers or state workers, but the benefits go mostly to the wealthiest citizens. And, to make up the shortfall from those tax cuts, service taxes have been added on things like auto repairs. These amount to tax increases on the middle class.
Absent a change, North Carolina’s middle class will continue to lose ground, and will keep asking: Recovery? What recovery?