income

U.S. middle-class incomes reached highest-ever level in 2016, Census Bureau says

The incomes of middle-class Americans rose last year to the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau, as poverty declined and the scars of the past decade’s Great Recession seemed to finally fade.

Median household income rose to $59,039 in 2016, a 3.2 percent increase from the previous year and the second consecutive year of healthy gains, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. The nation’s poverty rate fell to 12.7 percent, returning nearly to what it was in 2007 before a financial crisis and deep recession walloped workers in ways that were still felt years later.

The new data, along with another census report showing the rate of Americans lacking health insurance to be at its lowest ever last year, suggest that Americans were actually in a position of increasing financial strength as President Trump, who tapped into anger about the economy, took office this year.

Yet the census report also points to the sources of deeper anxieties among American workers and underscores threats to continued economic progress.

Middle-class households are only now seeing their income eclipse 1999 levels.

Inequality remains high, with the top fifth of earners taking home more than half of all overall income, a record. And yawning racial disparities remain, with the median African American household earning only $39,490, compared with more than $65,000 for whites and over $81,000 for Asians.

Economists and policy experts wonder whether the gains will continue. The median income had surged since 2014 because millions more Americans found full-time jobs, but there is little evidence that employers are rushing to offer raises to those who already are employed. Without more wage gains, momentum could slow.

Meanwhile, the rate of people without health insurance declined only slightly last year, to 8.8 percent, the Census Bureau said.

The Trump administration is widely expected to cut back on programs that promote enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, meaning that the ranks of the 28.1 million uninsured Americans might grow.

“There’s a danger that this is as good as it gets,” said Peter Atwater, president of Financial Insyghts. “We are already at a 16-year low in unemployment. The likelihood of significant job growth from here is limited.”

Trump promised that a combination of tax cuts, infrastructure investment packages, renegotiated trade deals and the repeal of Obama administration regulations would deliver a burst of job creation and attendant economic growth.

So far, no such boom can be found.

In Trump’s first seven months, the U.S. economy has added about 25,000 fewer jobs per month than it did during the last seven months of Barack Obama’s presidency. In a more positive sign, the gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3 percent in the second quarter of 2017, according to a federal report issued in late August.

Much of Trump’s agenda remains pending, however, either awaiting action by his administration or bogged down in Congress. And while most economists think it is too early in Trump’s term for his administration to have a measurable effect on the economy, there are real doubts about whether he will be able to enact his agenda, particularly after his health-care effort died in the Senate. Both his tax reform and infrastructure efforts face significant hurdles in Congress.

“Where is the extra progress going to come from? You have growing uncertainty that Washington will be able to create any sort of tax relief or infrastructure plan,” Atwater said.

For now, though, the economy is returning to pre-recession levels, as indicated by several benchmarks. The national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in August, just about the same as pre-recession levels. And in July, U.S. employers had generated enough jobs to restore national employment to where it stood before the recession started in 2007, even after accounting for population growth in the intervening decade.

The household earnings are welcome news for the middle class, which, after leaps forward in the 1990s, struggled amid the slow overall growth of the early 2000s and was devastated by the recession.

The income increase extended to almost every demographic group, Census Bureau officials said. The figure the agency reported Tuesday was the highest on record. The agency reports that in 1999, median household income, adjusted for inflation, was $58,655. Agency officials cautioned that the bureau changed its methodology in 2014, complicating an exact historical comparison.

Julian West, of Phoenix, is one of the many Americans whose lives improved dramatically last year.

For much of the recovery, he could find only “dead-end” minimum-wage jobs at carwashes and discount stores.

“I was really struggling,” said West, 44, who was forced to move back in with his parents.

In 2016, he went to a temp agency in Phoenix and landed a job that paid $18 an hour. It did not last, but the recruiter called again and moved him to the job he has now at BB&T Bank monitoring car-loan payments and repossessions. The job pays $16 an hour, with ample opportunity for overtime pay, he said.

“I’m slowly saving and paying off bills,” West told The Washington Post. He recently moved into a small studio apartment, now that he’s earning $35,000 a year. “I’ll be middle class again if I keep my spending to bare bones.”

West credits Obama with bringing the economy back. He did not vote for Trump, but he hopes someone with the business experience of the president can help the working poor.

Many Americans are optimistic, as West is, that their fortunes will continue to improve. A Gallup poll released Tuesday found that 64 percent of Americans think their “standard of living” is improving, the highest percentage since the financial crisis, while only 19 percent feel their standard of living is declining.

“Today’s census report is unambiguously good news: on income, on poverty and on health insurance,” said Bob Greenstein, the founder and president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank. “The goal should be to continue this progress.”

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Updates December 2016

Graduation Has Arrived

After a long three year with, I have now graduated from my graduate program with a degree in Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in General Management.  Now that I have finished with my extra studies, I can fully focus my entire attention to attaining enough wealth to leave for a new life in Ecuador and expanding the audience members of this very website.  Of course, those plans might be put on hold if I am able to unite with the love of my life (a very distinct possibility with the way things have been going lately) but at long last, after 6 years of undergraduate studies and 3 years of graduate studies, I can say that I have completed one of my final goals that I set forth to do while I was on this earth.

 

Facebook Censorship Free……For Now….

It has been at least 6 weeks since I have been off my 5th consecutive 30 day post block thanks to the Jews who run Facebook.  It has not been without hiccups as one of my posts was reported but Facebook wisely knew that I was not targeting any groups of people so they merely warned me that the post was considered “insensitive and cruel” and that I should only consider sharing such posts with a different audience.  It has also helped that I have deleted the Jewish agent Anna Hassan from my friends list and have gone to great lengths to expose and block all shills and fake profiles of beautiful women on my profile.  I have also begun to de-link my website from my public page and have begun to share only selective content  on my public page for my website and my profile page, while leaving the most explosive content for my group members and of course on the very website itself.  It is a strategy that has been working and I will not leave it behind for as long as I try to remain under the radar from these Jews, then I can continue to recruit followers to My Cause.

 

No More Facebook Friends

I have reached the 5000 friend limit for Facebook and as such, I have been forced to open up my profile to allow anyone to follow me.  People have questioned the intelligence of such a decision because it would mean that more and more people would see my posts, but I have no choice since I refuse to make another Facebook profile and I am unable to add anymore friends so I am forced to open up and allow people to follow me so that I can continue to reach new minds and recruit more people to My Cause.  How odd that I was able to fill up my friends list without sending many friend requests in only a matter of 2 years.  Now I must continue my work to make way for zero to come, for a better way and a better world for the glory of nihility, the glory of an empty world to come!

 

Interviews To Start This Weekend

In an effort to diversify the content that I have on this website, I will be opening up a YouTube channel, but it will only be dedicated to giving interviews with members of The Cause to further discuss plans and ideas on how to combat the Jewish and Masonic problem that is plaguing this world. My thought process on how to do this would be to open up a Google Hangouts video chat and simply conduct the interview from there and then upload to YouTube.  I can also merely record the interview on my LG V20 phone with the amazing audio and sound qualities and then upload to YouTube from there. Either way I am open to suggestions from people with experience on this matter on what would be the easiest way to conduct a live interview and then uploading to YouTube.

 

An Increase In Income

Now that I have finished graduate school, I can re-open my side business and even attain more job prospects so that I can build up my wealth and savings with the ultimate goal to leave for a new life in Ecuador where I can spend the rest of my limited days on this earth before the gods of my ancestors take me away from this world.

 

A Return To The Old Ways

Next week I will return to composing hateful music, but I will also throw in some love poetry that I have been trying to write for the past few months.  I know that my subscribers loved that part of my website, but I just haven’t had enough time to push through that part of my content, until now!

U.S. Household Income Grew 5.2 Percent in 2015, Breaking Pattern of Stagnation

WASHINGTON — Americans last year reaped the largest economic gains in nearly a generation as poverty fell, health insurance coverage spread and incomes rose sharply for households on every rung of the economic ladder, ending years of stagnation.

The median household’s income in 2015 was $56,500, up 5.2 percent from the previous year — the largest single-year increase since record-keeping began in 1967, the Census Bureau said on Tuesday. The share of Americans living in poverty also posted the sharpest decline in decades.

The gains were an important milestone for the economic expansion that began in 2009. For the first time in recent years, the benefits of renewed prosperity are spreading broadly.

The data was released into a heated presidential race, where Democrats seized on the statistics to promote Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and undercut Donald J. Trump’s dark assessment of the nation’s well-being.

“It has been a long slog from the depths of the Great Recession, but things are finally starting to improve for many American households,” said Chris G. Christopher Jr., director of consumer economics at IHS Global Insight. He said the gains had continued this year.

The economic recovery, however, remains incomplete. The median household income was still 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, adjusting for inflation. It also remained 2.4 percent lower than the peak reached during the boom of the late 1990s. The number of people living in poverty also remained elevated, although it shrank last year by about 3.5 million, or roughly 8 percent.

Mark R. Rank, a professor of social welfare at Washington University in St. Louis, said the new data “is obviously good news.” But he noted that poverty and income inequality in the United States remained more extreme than in most developed countries. “It would take a lot to move that needle,” he said.

 

The Census Bureau also reported that the share of Americans with health insurance continued to increase. It said that only 9.1 percent of the population had no health insurance last year.

Household income rose significantly last year, but it is still slightly lower than it was before the last two recessions. The rate of those living in poverty fell to its lowest level since the Great Recession, but, as with income, the rate is higher than it was before.
Several states, including Alaska, Indiana and Pennsylvania, expanded their Medicaid programs in 2015, taking advantage of increased federal funding under the Affordable Care Act. Private sector coverage also increased as companies hired more workers and offered them better benefits.

With the presidential election looming in less than two months, the annual report provided immediate fodder.

“We lifted three and a half million people out of poverty, the largest one-year drop in poverty since 1968,” President Obama said on Tuesday at a rally in Philadelphia for Mrs. Clinton. “The uninsured rate is the lowest since they began keeping records. The pay gap between men and women shrank to the lowest level on record,” he said, adding, “Thanks, Obama.”

Mr. Trump, the Republican nominee, has repeatedly cited the stagnation of household income as evidence of a broader economic malaise. He did not address the new report directly at a rally in Clive, Iowa, but he said the Obama administration’s economic policies had failed.

“Poverty is beyond belief,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s time to break up the failed Democratic control over our inner cities, and provide real hope and opportunity to every single community in this nation.”

The Census Bureau’s annual report, based on a survey of 95,000 households, is the latest evidence that 2015 was a good year for the economy. Employers added more than three million jobs as the unemployment rate fell to 5 percent. Hourly pay increased by 2 percent, adjusting for inflation. Americans drove more miles in their cars. Even housing showed some signs of a revival.

The details of the bureau’s report revealed that the gains last year were both broad and deep. Notably, lower-income households saw the largest income gains in percentage terms. Real household incomes rose 7.9 percent for households in the 10th percentile and 6.3 percent for those in the 20th percentile. By contrast, the increase was only 2.9 percent for those households in the 90th percentile.

“You know the old saying, ‘When the economy sniffles, the least advantaged catch pneumonia?’” said Jared Bernstein, an economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington research organization, and a former adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “Well, that works the other way, too. The benefits of closing in on full employment disproportionately flow to the least advantaged.”

The increase in median income outpaced average income, which rose 4.5 percent to $79,263. The median income is the amount that divides households evenly between those that make less and those that make more. Average income is generally higher because some households make a lot more.

 

The gains, however, came mostly from job growth rather than wage growth. More people are working, but many of them are still struggling to maintain their standard of living.

Jeff Labruzzo, 56, said he was still earning significantly less than before the recession. Mr. Labruzzo, who lives in southwest Louisiana, treats building sites for termites before concrete is poured. The construction business remains soft, and Mr. Labruzzo said he faced increased competition from firms that employ illegal immigrants. He had five workers, but he recently let two of them go.

“Things are to the point where I’m thinking about just closing up the business and letting my income drop,” Mr. Labruzzo said. As a veteran, he said he could then qualify for government health benefits.

Last year’s income gains do not fundamentally alter the economy’s long-term trajectory. Growth remains slow despite the Federal Reserve’s campaign to stimulate the economy. Predictions of faster growth, followed a few months later by disappointment, have become an annual ritual.

Both Fed officials and outside economists argue that stronger growth requires action by fiscal policy makers. But Democrats and Republicans are at loggerheads over the best steps, and there is little suggestion that a breakthrough is in the offing.

“It is encouraging that our economic recovery is lifting Americans out of poverty and boosting wages,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader. “But instead of building on this progress, Washington Republicans want to turn back the clock.”

Republicans responded in kind, presenting the data as evidence Democrats should step aside.

“Today’s report is another disappointing confirmation that too many Americans are still struggling to provide for their families and reach their full potential,” said Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “The federal government invests billions of dollars each year in programs to help low-income Americans, but more than 43 million people continue to live in poverty.”

The distribution of income in the United States remains tilted toward the affluent. Last year’s gains by lower-income households were not enough to shift measures of income inequality.
The data also was a mixed bag for minority groups. Poverty rates fell most sharply for African-American and Hispanic households, but their income gains were smaller than for white households.

“One good year does not reverse decades of stagnation,” Mr. Bernstein said. “Middle- and low-income households need a lot more than one good year. We need to keep this going.”

Trump claims income of over $557 million in 2015, slams Sanders in FEC filing

NEW YORK, NYDonald Trump told the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that his income for 2015 exceeded $557 million, and he says his net worth remains “in excess of $10 billion dollars.”

In a press release, the GOP presumptive nominee said he had filed his personal financial disclosure (PFD) Monday and called it “the largest in the history of the FEC.”

He also took the opportunity to slam Bernie Sanders for requesting “an extension for his small report” and went on to say that it showed the difference between a business man “and the all talk, no action politicians that have failed the American people for far too long.”

The Center for Public Integrity’s Dave Levinthal first reported Sanders’ request for an extension in late April.

“The newly filed PFD shows a tremendous cash flow, and a revenue increase of approximately $190 million dollars (which does not include dividends, interest, capital gains, rents and royalties),” Trump said in the release, and it was used to fund construction projects, reduce debt and fund his presidential campaign.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton also filed her PFD, which shows that she made at least $6.4 million in 2015, and along with her disclosure, Clinton’s deputy communications director called on Trump in a statement to release his tax returns.

CBS News has requested a copy of Trump’s filing, which he says is 104 pages.

Sanders releases 2014 tax return, gave 4% of income to charity

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bernie Sanders released his full 2014 federal tax return Friday, revealing that he mostly lives off a six-figure government salary and donated about 4 percent of his family’s income to charitable causes.

Sanders and his wife, Jane, donated $8,350 to charity while reporting an adjusted gross income of about $205,000 that year, according to the couple’s joint tax return. The share of his family’s income that went to charity was about one-third the percentage of income that his primary opponent, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, gave to charitable groups.

The campaign didn’t immediately respond Friday evening to emailed questions seeking additional details about Sanders’ charitable giving.

Hillary Clinton greeting supporters at a caucus day event as her husband, former President Bill Clinton, looks on at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Feb. 20, 2016. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/via JTA)

Since 1976, every major party presidential nominee has released full tax returns. So far this year, though, Clinton is the only major-party presidential candidate who has released several years of full tax returns.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump hasn’t released any of his returns, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have only released partial returns.

Until Friday, Sanders had only released an excerpt from his 2014 tax return. During Thursday’s debate, Clinton attacked Sanders for failing to release more.

“I’ve released 30 years of tax returns, and I think every candidate, including Senator Sanders and Donald Trump, should do the same,” said Clinton, the Democratic front-runner.

Sanders fired back at Clinton, contrasting his modest wealth with Jane Clinton’s multimillion-dollar income, a significant portion of which has come in the form of paid speeches to corporate and interest groups.

“I don’t want to get anybody very excited. They are very boring tax returns,” Sanders said. “No big money from speeches, no major investments. Unfortunately, I remain one of the poorer members of the United States Senate. And that’s what that will show.”

According to the self-prepared return, Sanders and his wife reported about $205,000 in adjusted gross income, with about $156,000 coming from his Senate salary. The couple reported about $46,000 in Social Security benefits and an additional $5,000 annual pension.

Jane Sanders, a former college president, also reported $4,900 in income from her work as a commissioner on the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission, which manages the handling of certain types of radioactive waste in Texas and Vermont.

In 2014, the couple paid $27,653 in federal taxes, resulting in an effective tax rate of 19.6 percent on $140,994 in taxable income.

For comparison, the Clintons reported about $28 million in adjusted gross income in 2014. Combined, the Clintons earned more than $139 million between 2007 and 2014. They paid an effective federal tax rate of 39.4 percent on $111.4 million in taxable income during those years.

In 2014, the Clintons donated more than $3 million — nearly 11 percent of their income. Since 2000, the Clintons have given nearly $15 million to charity, tax returns show.

The release of at least one of Sanders’ full tax returns has put the Democratic presidential candidates ahead of their GOP rivals in terms of tax transparency.

On the Republican side, Trump has refused to release any of his tax returns, saying he won’t make them public them while he’s being audited by the IRS. Trump’s reluctance has fueled accusations from his political rivals — including 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney — that Trump has something to hide in his taxes.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump standing on with his wife Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner (left to right) at a campaign rally at the Ramada Waterloo Hotel and Convention Center in Waterloo, Iowa, February 1, 2016. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images, via JTA)

The lack of public returns has also made it impossible to verify some of Trump’s claims about his actual income and his personal charitable giving. Last summer, Trump’s campaign said the billionaire had given $100 million to charity in the past five years.

But an Associated Press review of his foundation’s finances found that none of the money over the time period came from Trump directly. The AP also found that many of the donations from Trump’s charity, The Donald J. Trump Foundation, were made with other people’s money, including some donations to seemingly opposing groups. For example, the foundation donated to the Billy Graham Evangelical Association — a group that opposes gay rights — while also donating to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

Cruz and Kasich have released portions of their taxes that contain summary information about their income sources. But they haven’t released full returns that would provide more detail about their finances, tax maneuvers and charitable donations.

Health Care Gains, but Income Remains Stagnant, the White House Reports

WASHINGTON — Nearly nine million people gained health insurance last year, lowering the ranks of the uninsured to 10.4 percent of the population. But there was no statistically significant change in income for the typical American household in 2014, the Obama administration said on Wednesday.

Median household income in the United States was $53,660 last year, the Census Bureau reported, and the poverty rate — 14.8 percent — also saw no improvement. About 46.7 million people were in poverty in 2014, the bureau said, the fourth consecutive year in which the number of people in poverty was not statistically different from the official estimate for the prior year.

Overall, the new census numbers suggest that one major government program, to provide health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, is working, but that for ordinary Americans, especially the poor, the economic recovery — now into its seventh year — has yet to deliver measurable benefits.

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“Despite decent employment growth in 2014, the persistent high unemployment yielded no improvements in wages and no improvement in the median incomes of working-age households or any reduction in poverty,” said Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research group influential with Democrats in Congress.
Percentage of Americans who are uninsured, by age. Nationwide, the average dropped to 10.4 percent in 2014.
“Anyone wondering why people in this country are feeling so ornery need look no further than this report,” Mr. Mishel continued. “Wages have been broadly stagnant for a dozen years, and median household income peaked in 1999.”

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the new numbers showed that Congress should revamp antipoverty programs.

“Rather than just treating the symptoms of poverty, our goal must be to help people move from welfare into work and self-sufficiency,” Mr. Ryan said

In its annual report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage, the Census Bureau said that the percentage of people without insurance was 10.4 percent last year, down from 13.3 percent in 2013.

The fraction of the population without health insurance decreased last year in every state, the bureau said.

Much of the change was attributable to the Affordable Care Act, officials said, but the Census Bureau could not say exactly how much.

In the last two years, the Obama administration has issued a steady stream of upbeat reports showing a big expansion of coverage and a sharp reduction in the number of uninsured.

To support its claims, the administration has cited estimates by the Urban Institute, the RAND Corporation, the Gallup organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.

None of those estimates, however, are as reliable or authoritative as the census data, which showed increases in both private and government coverage.

From 2013 to 2014, the bureau said, the overall rate of insurance coverage increased for all racial groups and for Hispanics, who may be of any race.

The increases were comparable for blacks, Asians and Hispanics (just over 4 percentage points) and lower for non-Hispanic whites (about 2 percentage points).
The lack of any significant change in median household income, after adjustment for inflation, was somewhat surprising to experts, who had expected to see some modest growth in income because of improvements in the economy last year.

Edward J. Welniak Jr., a Census Bureau statistician, said the income findings may reflect the fact that there were more “nonfamily households” in 2014.

These households — single people living alone or with roommates, and unmarried couples — “typically have much lower incomes than family households,” Mr. Welniak said.

Many households have still not regained the purchasing power they had before the recession that began in December 2007. Median household income was 6.5 percent lower in 2014 than in 2007, the bureau said. The number of households with income above the median is the same as the number below it.

■ About 10 percent of households had incomes above $157,480 last year, while 5 percent had incomes above $206,570. At the other end of the spectrum, 10 percent of households had incomes less than $12,280.

■ The pay gap between men and women has changed little in recent years. Among full-time year-round workers, median earnings for women were 79 percent of those for men last year, compared with 78 percent in 2007. By contrast, in 1964, the ratio was 59 percent.

None of the major racial and ethnic groups experienced a statistically significant change in their poverty rates or in the number of people in poverty.

The poverty rate for blacks (26 percent) is about two and half times that for non-Hispanic whites (10 percent).

A family of four was classified as poor if its income was less than $24,230 last year. For one person, the threshold was $12,070.

The biggest gains in health insurance coverage occurred last year among households with incomes less than $50,000 a year. For households with incomes of $100,000 or more, the gains were small.
The extremes of coverage, as often in recent years, were found in Massachusetts, where 3.3 percent of the people are uninsured, and Texas, where 19 percent lack coverage.

In Vermont, Hawaii and Minnesota, small shares of the population are uninsured.

The reverse is true in Alaska, Florida and Georgia. Florida significantly expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but 16.6 percent of Floridians were still uninsured last year, the bureau reported.