This week's numbers: 51%; 85%; 2.3%; 87%; 62%
51%... is a diminished number. That’s how many Americans were part of the middle class in 2011, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s down 10% since 1971 and represents the only way the U.S. has slimmed down in the middle since then.
85%... is a struggling number. That’s how many middle class Americans say their lifestyle is getting harder to maintain. Keeping up with the Joneses presents new challenges when the Joneses are underemployed and underwater on their mortgage.
2.3%... is a middling number. That’s how much the median net worth of middle class households has grown since 1983. The trickle-down effect Republicans started touting around then has turned out to be an awfully slow drip.
87%... is a bountiful number. That’s how much the median net worth of the wealthiest households has grown during the same period. Instead of lifting all boats, the rising tide seems to be lifting the luxury yachts and capsizing the canoes.
62%... is a frustrated number. That’s how many middle class Americans blame Congress for their hardships. But policymakers haven't completely ignored the problem; they’ve spent years discussing how their opponents aren’t doing anything about it.
Tim Price is Deputy Editor of Next New Deal. Follow him on Twitter @txprice.