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January 13th, 2012
01:13 PM ET

Suze Orman: 'Middle class will not exist'

Suzanne Malveaux highlights new stats on shrinking middle class as personal finance expert speaks out against poverty.

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Filed under: Anchors • Suzanne Malveaux
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. cacique

    It sure looks that way, at the rate of attrition we are now going. What is worse, American banks seem to be pushing that way, the same as the govt. agencies managing mortgages and all those ret. accounts that disappeared into thin air years past...and it did not start with the Obama administration as many choose to believe, but several before his.

    He is now the one with the apple on his head trying to stand very still without losing his cool.
    Why do you think no other democrats tossed their hats in the ring...oh, well it may be party loyalty

    January 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  2. Bob

    I have been told by a staunch Republican and champion of the rich and super rich that members of the middle class who are struggling right now are just a bunch of losers who could all be millionaires if they were willing to work hard and invest. I can only assume that this list of losers includes those of us who chose to teach or do research or defend our country or join the clergy instead of pursuing the almighty dollar. If this is what wealthy Republicans think of us, and some of the current crop of presidential wannabes seem to allude to it if not state it outright, I think we should give a long hard think to letting one of them in the White House again, or reelecting any of the Republicans currently serving in congress.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  3. mike

    And the Right -Wing accuses the 99% of Class warfare !
    One of these days Alice.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  4. GregHaus

    Looks like the President's class warfare is going nicely. Just as he planned. Divide and conquer.

    January 17, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  5. Sherri

    I have been hearing this for some time and I do believe it. The rich believe that if anyone is poorer than them, that they must have asked for it. Or didn't work hard enough. Well, I am a college educated person, I have relatives with Master's degrees who cannot find job. The rich figure that they got theirs and they don't care about anyone else. As for electing another millionaire, they are ALL millionaires. A 'regular' person could not run for President. You have to be a millionaire to run. It takes millions. So we'll never get a non-millionaire as President. The whole system needs to be revised, but I don't know the answer. I know that just working hard does not get you anything any more though

    January 18, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  6. kamarasune

    I think its time we save a buck or two and by-pass all this added interest owed to a private corporation for printing our money and start having our treasury do it again like they are constitutionally suppose to....

    January 18, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  7. shelou

    Do the rich know that soon there will be no American rich class either because they got so greedy that they destroyed their customer base. Additionally, it did not help that the rich dreamed of a workforce model like the illegal drug and sex trade industry – no rights, no voice, no safety, no fair wage, no healthcare, no pension, no retirement, no education, no government, no hope, and no plantations because that would be too much overhead...and would be socialism. What was the American Dream again? Does anyone remember?

    January 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  8. joe mama

    it is amazing, the ignorance of the posters on this site.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  9. Cynic

    As far as the Republicans are concerned, that's perfectly OK. And it's been OK with them since Ronald Reagan made war on the middle and working classes in the 1980s.

    How anyone earning less than $1 million can consistently vote Republican is beyond me.

    Let's face it though - the Democrats are no better. There really wasn't an opposition party during Ronald Reagan's reign, and the Democrats have been running a strategy of "me too" ever since.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  10. Cynic

    joe mama

    it is amazing, the ignorance of the posters on this site.

    No, what's amazing is that there are still people in this country who are too blind and too brainwashed to see that our government has been making war on the poor and middle classes in this country for decades.

    A culture shift is way overdue.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  11. seriousLE

    ::SIGH:: The citizens will ALWAYS complain no matter what the situation is. TRUE statement.

    January 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  12. David Crandall

    It is true because jobs have gone away. But even if you have a high income, taxes will eat you alive so you will end up with not much of anything to spend anyway.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  13. BlueDestiny

    – NOT TRUE – middle class will always exist, but not for sake of jobs to sustain them. Instead, middle class will exist through subsidies provided by taxes to the upper class. Socialism instead of a prosperous capitalist system. Our system is not effective, the 1% are gluttons and control the campaigns of government, who in turn serve the special interests, the 1%. Nobody is accountable, except to special interests, and nobody is doing anything to serve the future and Mankind. Nobody has a plan, nobody is held accountable to have a plan, or to perform to a plan.

    At this juncture, as we spiral out of control with a completely pandering and out of control government system, I'd vote for a Chavez to take power for 10 years with the authority to bypass Congress and the Rule of Law during that time, other than the bill of rights, and let such an individual make sweeping changes to put this country back on the right track through unilateral actions. How scary is that, that I'd be open to such a thing? We are lost.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  14. Dana

    What is the definition of "poverty?" As long as you have a cell phone, new car, television, a roof, and the other things then you are not in poverty–I believe the majority of people, expecially the OWS hoodlums, that fall into the popular defintion of "poverty" have misspent their resources, gone into debt for material things, foregone education (or performed poorly as a result of not dedicating time to study), and although they still have the opportunity are more ready for a pitty party.

    I am 40 and make $140,000 a year. When I got married at age 21 I made barely $10,000 a year and worked hard. We lived in apartments for years. I went to school and earned degrees. We have three kids yet, I drive vehicles built in 1993 and 1975; I don't go to Las Vegas on vacation and gamble; I don't buy lottery tickets; I save my money and when it is spent it's done wisely. What Suze calls "poverty" is in my opinion largely a result of poor decisions by people and/or a defitnition without meaning anymore despite the fact people have enough of what they need (not want.)

    January 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  15. Ryan

    The middle class will always exist. When a majority of people fall into poverty, all they have to do is decide that someone in poverty does not need a car and the threshold is lowered.

    We live in a time where if you study and work hard, you will go as high as your degree says you can. Teaching with a family of four? Sorry, you chose poverty. Doctor? Good choice, upper middle class. Rich parents? Go straight to CEO! Then, to politics where you can preach to the rest of us how you studied and worked hard to get to where you are today.

    January 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  16. Bill inSanDiego

    Im 56,unemployed worked hard all my life
    I got laid off for being honest about theft in my work place
    I began working at age 13, 2 jobs
    I guess I was the equivalent of today's Mexican worker
    I worked my way up the economic ladder,by busting my butt and working many 60 plus hour weeks
    Nobody respects honesty/integrity anymore
    Its all about getting as much as you can,as fast as you can,backstabbing anybody you can along the way
    I can honestly say,I dont envy the young people.
    There are no scruples
    College means nothing really,UNLESS you go for advanced degrees
    We allowed them to break the unions and take way pensions,now everyone is broke with their 401k nightmare
    Politicians arrested everyday for corruption
    Face it,,,we all have been fleeced
    The RICH became SUPER rich,while the middle class is trying to hold on until 65
    Its VERY sad...

    January 21, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  17. J. Stevens

    The elite seem to be grabbing power and wealth by their own inner group law breaking. They insider trade. They give book deals. They protect them from the law, taxes, etc.

    Are they going to rob the upper middle class (working class) such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc. with their taxes and fraud? The Communists took land and wealth for their wars and "division of wealth". The upper elite are corrupt and don't believe in any system of government. It is "self" they worry about.

    January 21, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  18. NoDoubt

    Part of the reason I don't see myself getting married (I'm 35), is because my generation is the first one that didn't fare better than our parents when it comes to jobs/wealth. Used to be that getting married made things better all around, but it doesn't. I make more money than most men I know, so why should I get married? I'd be supporting them. True love is worth it, yes, but men feel lost and women feel unsatisfied.

    January 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  19. Leonard Lang

    The way the Fed is printing money, we could all have a million $ and still be poor. Wealth is relartive.

    January 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  20. Bluestocking

    As much as I hate to say it, this is our reward for allowing our political process to reach a point at which it is so expensive to run for federal office that an ordinary middle-class citizen has little if any hope of being successful no matter how good his or her ideas are. Most if not all of the people in Congress these days were already wealthy or at least extremely well off financially before they were elected...but what this means is that we no longer have a representational democracy but a plutocratic oligarchy. Unfortunately, when only people who are wealthy have the opportunity to lead the country, the probability increases that they will write legislation which favors the interests of their own class above those of the people as a whole. After all, how can the wealthy truly claim to represent the concerns of the middle class when they have no experience of these concerns and no reason to share them? Not only that, it seems clear that many of our elected officials grow more and more out of touch with the needs of their constituents the longer they serve because the perks of being in Congress spare them and isolate them even further from many of the day-to-day concerns that ordinary Americans face. These days, people in Congress seem far more interested in serving themselves and the people who can fill their campaign coffers than they are in serving the people.

    January 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  21. Glenn

    Speaking for my household, this recession and two layoffs in 3 years have lowered our household income enough to drop us from the median income for our state, to well under the 400% federal poverty line.

    January 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  22. Glenn


    In checking my numbers, we're actually now well under the 300% federal poverty guideline.

    For people not familiar with the federal poverty guidelines, anything above the 200% line is essentially the government acknowledging that you don't make a lot of money, but you also don't qualify for any assistance.

    Goodbye middle class, it was fun while it lasted

    January 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  23. Cashun Please

    I have been sayin' forever but know one gets it. Its not about race (black/white) anymore. Its about money.....the have's and have nots. If you fall into the latter group like me your in trouble..........

    January 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  24. joke

    One in three are in poverty. That is a pretty telling statistic, and one that will leave Americans ripe for the next war, the one against China. Fear not. It is coming.

    January 21, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  25. Swordsaint

    There is only a few ways to fix this. Higher taxes on the rich, a much higher minimum wage, and much higher taxes on goods "imported" from china, and other countries. You have to force these huge corporations to make less profits because they certainly will not give it up freely. They'd sooner have 200 million Americans living the streets then report a quarterly statement showing less profit. We as Americans must use force, weather we use votes, or guns. It needs to happen.

    January 22, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  26. Paul

    If you follow Suze Orman's advice it will be a certainty that the middle class will shrink to oblivion. She failed to comment on the results of following her innumerable wealth creating (for Suze) advice. The latest is an expensive debit card that is endorsed by guess who? Suze Orman!

    January 22, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  27. Coug9

    Main point of this: Net INCREASE in CONFLICT since Obama took office. Adversity always presents itself, and is always present. Great leaders will take that adversity and use it to UNITE the country. Barak Obama has FAILED this country. His policies and his message both DIVIDE us and create CONFLICT.

    January 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  28. Coug9

    Way out of poverty: 1. Graduate High School. 2. Marry before you have children. 3. Get a job (ANY job). This formula means you will have a 98% chance of NEVER being in poverty! "Poverty", is a social problem, not an economic one (In the United States......not the case in the rest of the world).

    January 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  29. David

    Money will not make you happy. Rich people are the most misearable people in the world.

    January 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  30. Richard

    Thought for a minute we might have a Roosevelt. Turns out to be just another Hoover and the middle class is dying.

    January 23, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  31. Rufus

    The best thing us middle class folks can do is.Stop buying all the stupid stuff they are importing or making overseas. if we only buy stuff made by small "American" companies,then "Real and Positive" wealth distribution will take place.I know for a fact,that I can live without an Iphone or any of the other crap so much of us buy everyday. If the corporate enclave wants to use consumerism as a weapon against the working folks,then "STOP BUYING THEIR STUFF"!!! You want a job? "BUY AMERICAN" survival of the fittest in it's truest form.

    January 23, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  32. Rainman

    So many tiresome complaints about how the "system" is out to get us all, weather you're rich or somewhat rich (there aren't any "poor" in USA by world standards). Guess what ... We buy overseas stuff because it's cheaper ... duh. We pay more for for healthcare because there are more healthcare lawsuits in the US than anywhere on the planet ... duh. The rich keep getting richer because there is more opportunity to do so in the US than anywhere else ... duh. The somewhat rich keep getting less rich because somebody has to pay for all the rich people to get richer ... duh. Try an alternative system (like somewhere in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, Antarctica ...) for about 6 months and you'll really have something to complain about.

    January 23, 2012 at 2:13 am |
  33. Satan

    Funny when someone says a phone, car, TV and place to live are not necessities in this day and age.

    January 23, 2012 at 7:07 am |
  34. SoSorry

    You know over population, the industrialization of the rest of the world, dwindling resources have not gone away. Can the US continue to have a disproportionate share of the world's resources forever? Wonder why your standard of living (expressed as higher prices) is plummeting? When the Fed prints money, your dollar buys less, like an invisible tax. The disappearing middle class and the impoverishment of the 99% will continue until the people stop being so complacent...but I think the middle class will be defined differently in the future.....

    January 23, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  35. Mike

    You Obama voters crack me up. You complain about how bad it is for the middle class, about how the millionaires aren't doing their part, and how the evil rich people are soooo bad. We tried to tell you all along that Stealing and Socialism are NOT going to work. You cannot take their money. Wealthy people will always be wealthy. That is a fact....when you punish them, they hide. They do not grow jobs, or participate. Your "Change" has come home to roost. How does it taste?

    January 23, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  36. Hometown Postville

    TO COUG:" Way out of poverty: 1. Graduate High School. 2. Marry before you have children. 3. Get a job (ANY job). This formula means you will have a 98% chance of NEVER being in poverty! "...
    What rock do you live under? I did all of those AND was the first in my family to graduate from college. There are no guarantees in life! I choose to live in an impoverished rural area where people celebrate getting a job that pays more than $8 hr. So we work 2-3 crappy jobs to make up the difference. Where I live IS my choice, but I know/trust all my neighbors, am blessed with a close-knit church family, and can grow much of our own food in an area where the cost of living is at least 1/3 less than large cities . Unfortunately, it's NOT my choice that large corporations run by greedy CEO's have a stranglehold on our gov't. In an age where my salaries have remained stagnant in comparison to the rise in cost of living and fuel/health-care costs, how many of us ARE thriving, unless we work for one of those greedy corps? I avoid places like WalMart as much as possible because after Sam Walton died, his heirs sold out to China. Unfortunately, if you're poor and have to shop at any number of other discount stores, you support China anyway.
    I have followed all "your" criteria for not being in poverty. I have no credit card debt, drive a 1999 Bravada(15mpg) with 150k miles on it, and live in a modest 3 bdrm ranch valued at $70k/financed by Fannie Mae. Guess what? Because of out of pocket medical expenses, increases in prop taxes, and dum luck with vehicles, we're filing bankruptcy and going thru foreclosure. Being the sole breadwinner, I'm going to have to pack up my disabled husband AND disabled daughter and move to a rental that will likely be almost as much as the house payment. The stress of that is enough to put ALL of us in the hospital. THAT'S reality Coug!

    January 23, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  37. EH

    Of course the middle class is dying. Every time this country hits hard times the middle class is made to give something up for the 'greater good' by politicians who want to obliterate us and turn us into a 'servant class' for the wealthy. Private pensions went down the drain. Cheap healthcare is going away. Local and state pensions are under attack. Oil and food are going up. And now they're setting their sights on federal pensions and benefits. The very people who swear they are allies of Middle Class Americans are the ones who are screwing us all. They re-label various sections of the middle class so it's easier to get away with making us look like greedy fatcats who have more than we deserve, and to pit us all against eachother for this reason. They do it with teachers and other local public servants. They do it with federal employees. They attack anybody who still gets anything good and then leave us with only one option: To put our long term financial security and our hopes and dreams in the hands of their Wall Street buddies, who bought us good times such as ENRON, the mortgage security scandal, the banking collapse, the automotive collapse, etc... It is a tremendous theft, a shift of wealth from the middle to the upper class: The gutting of defined benefits so all that money gets put into the financial markets, where it can be taken off the table and put right into the wallets of the powerful and the wealthy.

    Those of us who keep this country going end up sacrificing our financial well-being and quality of life for 'the greater good' so that the rich can get richer. When the dust clears we all end up with less than before and everybody forgets why.

    January 23, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  38. beezers

    Earth to Suze Orman... the middle class never existed. People who live in their own homes on mortgages they can't afford, watching big screen TV's and playing with IPads that were all purchased with credit cards, driving in SUV's that they're still paying off, while going to jobs where they don't really enjoy their work (hint hint... "work" = "working class") are not middle class.

    January 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  39. Squeezebox

    Unions have been an important social safety valve to keep the middle class alive and avoid a socialist revolution. The greedy attacked union labor, the sheep fell for it, and look at where we are now. The 1% will soon find themselves with armed gangs at their door demanding their money or their lives. Learn from Marie Antoinette before it's too late!

    January 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  40. Anonymous010

    What she says is true and I think people are slowly becoming aware of it. My Anthropology professor in college warned us 10 YEARS AGO that this was happening. She also said that once the middle class is gone, and the poor have no legal way to pull themselves out of poverty, revolution is inevitable. After that, the whole system resets, maybe to something better, maybe to something worse. I just hope we don't get that far gone and that we can turn things around before it's too late.

    January 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  41. Starnexus

    Its depressing but I'm really glad people of influence are finally starting to talk about this...

    January 25, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  42. Iconoclast

    I love it when the folks who are doing ok, making money, living in comfortable homes say people in poverty are just lazy. Didn't take the right college classes, didn't study hard enough, what of those who had no opportunity to even go to college? What of the hundreds of thousands of college grads searching for a job that isn't there? Poverty is not a choice for most, it's a circumstance people find themselves in. You have no clue what it's like to be on the other side and have no compassion for you fellow man. What you suggest amounts to Social Darwinism, ironic since I'd be willing to bet a majority of you are so called "christians". If you're unfamiliar with the term, look in wikipedia, and see how the theories of Malthus and others were used by Hitler. Fascism is alive and well in the United States of America folks, wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground though, our choice is to be either completely subsidized by the government, or complete slaves to our corporate masters. I choose the third option, FIGHT FOR WHAT IS RIGHT! But like Jesus, Kennedy and Peter Pumpkinhead, I'm likely to find myself nailed to a chunk of wood for my efforts.

    January 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  43. Wendy

    I LOVE it when a Rich politician claims to be for the middle class and poor families of this country. When you say the Rich get are including the ones that have a D after their names on TV too...Talk about the blind leading the blind! You are all so party blind. Take a step away from your pary beliefs that have been drilled into your head forever and look at all the facts. It is not black vs white or poor vs middle class, it is rich vs everyone who is not rich. The rich run this country, regardless of what political party they are with...they are still part of the problem.

    January 25, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  44. glenda

    I don't agree with Bruce's new song, We Take Care Of Our Own. We can't take care of our own, because we're so busy taking care of everybody else. Billions and billions of dollars to foreign governments, while people here live in tents or on the streets. The middle class is gone, we're now considered the new working poor. Our politicans have deliberately ruined our country.

    January 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  45. FlyGuyInSJ

    @Cynic – how can I consistently vote Republican while making less than a million – indeed, less than a hundred thousand – a year? Simple – every time the Democrats are in power, they want to take more of my freedom and more of my money, while the economy gets worse. When the Republicans are in power, they (usually) don't increase the taking as much, and sometimes they even reduce it. Bush (a false Republican anyway) was a mixed bag. He took more of my freedom, but less of my money, than most Democrats. He had substantial cooperation from Democrats in those endeavors, especially the taking of freedom. Few in Congress stood up to the PATRIOTIC Act or the TSA. Few do now, either.

    Are the GOP and Democrats both ruining the country? Yes, except for the Tea Party faction. Time to vote Libertarian and Tea Party only. No more holding my nose and voting for either Democrats or RINOs, both of whom are the enemy.

    January 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  46. Pete

    I have found that quite often the Republican tactic is to try to pin the tag on the Democrats before it can take hold on them – like when they tried to make the Dems the "Party of No". Well, that one didn't work, but the class warfare tag has worked pretty well for them, and I have to say, all signs point to the Republicans/Rich having started this battle. Our country is at this point so tilted towards guaranteeing their profits are safe at the expense of the working classes that it is beyond ironic for them to be pinning this tag on the left.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  47. Alabambob

    I was born in Canada (strong middle class) where I lived for 40 years. After visiting Mexico a few times (almost no middle class), I began to understand why Canada was a better place, to learn, earn a living, raise a family, retire etc.. During the '90's I lived in Costa Rica, Central America where there is a well supported emerging middle class. Of all the Central American countries, Costa Rica is by far the most socially developed, because everyone has access to education, health care, work, etc.. In 2002 I moved to the USA and have been living here since then. I have witnessed the constant and increasing pressure on the middle class.

    What used to be 'upper' mid class is now 'mid' class, middle class has moved to working class, and working class are now the homeless. I'm a semi-retired contractor and my wife is a surgeon but guess what? We don't have children because we couldn't afford to raise them. At least Mr. Obama is trying to re-distribute wealth. The Republicans seem to only want another kick at looting the treasury.

    January 26, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  48. fistface

    Got news for the idiots that are pointing at decisions made by people being the problem. The real issue and FACT is that Salaries have been stagnant for the Middle Class and the opportunity to get into and MAINTAIN a middle class income, wage and so forth is SEVERELY hindered by Legislation Since Regan. That is fact. In fact, that very definition of what THEY call Middle Class is even way off base in regards to the income required to be in such a position. They do the same thing with Social Security since Regan. Cant afford it? Hell lets just raise the age rate of retirement and insure a lot of people die before they get it! Great IDEA! "Because they are all Rich anyway, doesnt affect them". Same applies to how they classify middle class and Rich...

    January 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  49. Food for thought

    I think most people are feeling the effects of the economy and the reality is that we are all the blame. (rich, poor, middle class) I consider myself middle class but my husband and I both are doing ok at this moment. That could all change if one of us lose our jobs. I believe as American's we forget that we live in the land of opportunity. For some of us, yes it is much harder to get jobs, break sterotypes, and reach our financial goals. However, we are not living in a place were women Don't have rights, can't work, or can't start businesses. I work a full time job, a side business, and a blog. Lord knows I am tired of working at 33 but I have to keep striving in order to live the lifestyle that I want. Bottom line is Education is key. I can tell you that, I am a black woman, and I have relatives that are uneducated and well educated. You can not think outside the box without an education or make good informative choices. I believe that politicans will never clearly understand society until they walk in the shoes of "have nots' . Personally, what I see is the land of opportunity you can sell anything to anyone in this Country. Find your niche, utilize your skills, and make your own money. Just dont deposit in the banks because they will rob you blind. Also, stop blaming the President for the ecomony, lets not forget about W. Dumb Bush who can't even spell President!

    January 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  50. Jan

    What some of you are says in your post is the same things that was said when the communist came to power. My son in Law is Russian and his family warns of US Citizens allowing the goverment to have so much control over our daily lives. We expect our goverment to hand out SS benefits, medicare, medicaid, food stamps, unemployment benefits, etc to support the lower class but as a Social Worker, I see so many people on public assistance who are so demanding on what is their "right" but will make ever imaginable reason why they cannot come in to look for a job. I have even filled out the applications for them and got them the jobs but yet, they will not even go to work. Both my husband and I work full time, yet our family does not have the benefits that these losers have. I know some people do need an extra helping hand but when you can get better benefits and money being unemployed something is wrong with the system. It seems so many people can throw out the, " I am depressed or I have a mental illness" and that means a free meal card paid for by the working class and the weathly. There are jobs out there if you want to work. It might not be the perfect job, but it is work. If you still cannot find work, invent something that will bring in income to your family. Necessity is the mother of invention.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  51. To Jan

    It's a shame when "Bad Apples" rear their heads and ruin it for everyone else - and they're usually the most vocal and selfish kind of opportunists. Unfortunately, the only way to challenge these "Bad Apples", is through better (if not more) regulation and the employment of people who can root-out those who take advantage of consumers or our welfare assistance systems. This is public money well spent, as it reduces waste in social services and protects against situations like the housing bust, something that was the result of unregulated behavior from banks that bundled bad mortgages inside attractive packages, thus throwing our economy into a tailspin when the bunk products were revealed for what they were.

    The point is, no government interference, at all, is idiotic because it's self-defeating and it allows the selfish opportunists to do what they do best - take, take, take, at everyone else's expense - without censure or consequences. America is not Russia. We have a different system of checks and balances that works perfectly well, when irresponsbile opportunists are not in power. We do need some regulations because in 2012, America has too big a population of citizens, to put all our country's faith in the goodness of greedy opportunists...those who have already proven they have no inherent sense of duty or responsibility to this country.

    Bad character and lack of responsibility is not something exclusive to one class of people, but those with the most greed, money and power and the least self-control, will devour all wealth in this country if noone wil check them. Right now, our country is tilted squarely towards all benefits rolling to the very richest and most opportunistic amongst us. That needs to be addressed. Honest, hardworking, responsible people, can not compete against a handful of multi-billionaires that have no scruples because these hardworking, honest people are, both; limited by having their spending power tied to their labor and are too honest to sink as low as their competition (leaving The Public to cover any abatement costs from their company's activities and finding ways to avoid tax by shifting wealth to offshore accounts).

    January 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  52. meinillinois

    Suze Orman "approves" people to buy her sponsored shoes on Home Shopping Network, has a low(?) cost prepaid debit card that is marketed to low income people with 18 different fees including a $2 fee to talk to customer service (per CBS news), so should anyone really be listening to her?

    January 27, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  53. SurRy

    Most people refer to themselves as "middle class" when they are actually the "working poor". But who is going to admit they are poor?

    January 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  54. FatherRussell

    GregHaus writes:
    "Looks like the President's class warfare is going nicely. Just as he planned. Divide and conquer"

    Shocking, but typical Republican attempt to blame the other guy for what the Republican are exactly doing (less government), and then they think they are getting away with it.
    Behaving badly while being very, very stupid at the same time!

    Just like the person with bad gas at a public gathering thinking they are getting away with stealth flatulating while the bottom of their trousers is badly stained and nasty.

    meinillinois writes:
    "Suze Orman "approves" people to buy her sponsored shoes on Home Shopping Network, has a low(?) cost prepaid debit card that is marketed to low income people with 18 different fees including a $2 fee to talk to customer service (per CBS news), so should anyone really be listening to her?

    Sounds like full disclosure to me – transparency is not part of the Republican's lexicon... and it provide opportunity for those with another chance to get ahead. Another assault at the Republican hypocricy. With a smaller economy the Repugs have gotten vicious selfish – the chance someone else can make it means something they feel is taken away from them – wow!

    January 27, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  55. Broken and sad

    There is not going to be one solution that everyone will be happy with. Let's just be fair. Tax me 30% along with all my fellow americans, with no reductions or exemption other than dependent. Tax the immigrants with businesses in our country or that come here to work 35 -40% same exemptions. Place a luxury tax on every product being sold in the US that is not built or grown in the US. (The UK calls this a VAT tax) the luxury tax alone will stimulate US jobs.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  56. laskerknight

    Tyranny in it's most simple form Is Special Interest Groups and Lobbyist .If You don.t have money You can't buy legislation and that My friend is Tyranny in it's simple form .We don't have a chance .We have a Socialist State ....

    January 28, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  57. namrecob

    She mentioned the cost of food, what about energy? Wait till memorial day and $4.00 per gallon gas! And Obama still won't build the pipeline to help provide good paying jobs and affordable gas. Typical Democrat, beholden to the enviro-wackos!! Maybe if the CEO of that company wrote out a $10,000 campaign contribution, we'd have more of Obama's crony capitalism!

    January 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  58. Sliponvans

    I have a tough time with this middle class disappearing. I agree that it is but it's because of our own choices. When I find guys who make 13 dollars an hour who have a better cell phone plan than I do, who drive a better vehicle than I do, who have the better cable or satellite tv package than I do, who purchase more soda, beer, and other garbage than I do, I honestly don't feel bad. I make personal choices every day so that my dollar goes farther. It's because the middle class thinks that they need th latest iPhone or iPad and waste their money when they could save it for an education that will truly provide greater opportunities or a business that will drive greater income to them. Instead, they spend it on stuff that brings no value. That is the downfall of the middle class. It is because we are a consumer economy and that's the only way we grow. By people spending all their money. Gas will continue to rise, food will continue to rise but you don't have to make all the other expenses rise with them.

    January 29, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  59. golfer1

    "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."

    January 30, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  60. Peter Q Wolfe

    I'd like to also tell you guys that Mrs Sue Orman helped indirectly with a political science professor at Auburn University to become a millionaire. He quotes her in class all of the time on how to retire healthily and prosperously in your later years in life. So, the notion that Mrs. Sue isn't financially making sense is a misnumer and lie at worse. Also, it is also true that some regulations are good for the economy and certain programs funded by the government are beneficial in business. Moreover, the cadaliac standards of the seventies have actually made gasoline prices go down. This isn't partisan just reality that clunkers are a waste on not only American roads but everybodies. By the way, you guys voting this year put money into the campaign for Obama $200.00 bet to match you here!

    January 30, 2012 at 2:31 am |
  61. Gene

    With out the poor, how could we tell who is rich?

    January 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  62. Bringamericaback

    This is exactly what Obama wants. Get your head out of the sand people.

    January 31, 2012 at 6:53 am |
  63. RepubRocker

    What is poor in the US? From a collection of federal household consumption surveys collected finds that 74 % of the por own a car or truck, 70% have a VCR, 64% have a DVD, 63% have cable or satellite, 53% jave a video game system, 50% have a computer, 30% have two or more cars and 23% use TiVo. About 40 million Americans are officially defined as living below the poverty line. Yet most of those have adequate levels of food, shelter, clothing and medical care. Is this living in poverty? This administration has changed the eligibility for welfare and as announced yesterday is pooring more of our hard earned tax dollars into food stamps. I don't believe that most Americans know what poor really is. More rhetoric from this socialist President on who is rich and who is poor. Who defines that? I guess if we keep telling you that you are poor you will believe it and then start hating the rich because this President says so. If this President and administration can keep more folks receiving government benefits, then aren't those that vote them back into office.

    January 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  64. StopBeingSheep

    I am part of the "working middle class" with alot of the toys like "sliponvans" above, have mentioned. Sure, we can all quit buying consumer goods, Hmm... guess who that affects, business who wont need as many employees now. Lets all buy only food and salvation army clothes until we are rich and then most everyone who is still employed can be layed off, and us few tightwads can look at all that cash in our safes and laugh. Tip the waitress? not when I can hoard it. You better thank your educated ass that some people are still consuming.

    January 31, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  65. M.F. Luder

    Reagan's getting his wish.

    February 1, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  66. rhofwi

    We are the working poor.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  67. orlop

    There are only 4 true necessities in life. Food, clothing, a place to live and a way to pay for the first three. Most people get a job and when they earn enough, move out and pay for their own food and housing. When they have extra money left over they buy other things that they want and build themselves up economically and socially. The problem is that we are developing a class of society that has given up on the job part and is more than happy to accept the food and housing from the Federal Government. With those needs covered there is no real necessity to work at all. But for those individuals they push to emphasize that they have less than the masses and deserve a car, phone, TV, internet etc as basic staples to compete for jobs. Lets face it, they are not competing for anything but more free things and our government should not give these to them unless they are willing to work for them by cleaning public buildings or maintaining parks. Doesn't seem like too much to ask for as a taxpayer does it?

    February 2, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  68. joe

    Im here to say the poor are getting poorer because they are uneducated. The jobs are out there for hard workers. 2 years ago the company i was working for had to close down for 6 months and the boss told everyone the paperwork was ready at the unemployment office, i heard this and was disgusted, instead of getting a hand out i went and got a business license, my business didnt do well but i didnt get a hand out. I used my knowledge to my advantage. The poeple who are poor will stay poor and the middle class will move to poverty because the system we have in place. Change peoples mind and you will change our situation. The blame is on the people themselves. I think its great people born into classes have to work to keep their class status nowadays. When i left high school i tried to look at life as a game and when i understood the rules i can move forward not backwards whatever the situation. Thanks for listening. peace, love and hard work will see us through to the other side

    February 2, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  69. dhananjay

    How can the nation be strong if the middle class is not strong and prospering???

    February 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  70. ss

    The middle class is failing. Not thru their own fault, but by manipulation from above. Typically, they don't pay much attention to what the wealthy have or control – or how bad the poor have it. But when they see jobs going away, or being replaced by $12/hr jobs, they realize how quickly they can lose the house and fall thru the cracks. And they start to dislike the power and control by that .1%.
    We've all read the story of that Apple factory in China – where workers toil 12+ hours a day, for 30 cents(?) an hour, live in factory dorms – with 7 others whose names they don't own, are hit with sticks if they don't work fast enough. And these are dream jobs in China. So dreamy, they string netting between the buildings so people can't jump from the roof. THIS is the Republican dream – controlled workers – semi-slaves... as long as any of them aren't the ones toiling, but holding the stick, instead. 'I am not envious of what the wealthy own – except when they own my political representatives, too!'

    February 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  71. DallasNE

    What has happened was both predictable and predicted. There is a finite amount of money floating around. When that money floats in droves to the super rich it has to come at the expense of somebody else. The poor are already poor so there is a limited amount that can be extracted from that group, although that group expands as the near poor sink down to the ranks of the poor. That means that the bulk of the money transfer is coming from the large middle class, or the middle 3 quintiles and that is exactly what these charts confirm.

    February 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  72. Jerry

    The rich ARE miserable people though. However, I'd rather be miserable and rich, then miserable and poor. 😦 Alas, I'm the poor.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  73. lawyersAretheCause

    When you elect LAWYERS who operate and enrich themselves unethically via a corrupted auction house court system... a crap system that steals rights and money in favor of highest bidding litigant... you elect people who will continue to rob you of your opportunity, equity, and rights. WAKE UP AMERICA. LAWYERS ARE THE #1 problem facing this country. WAKE UP.

    February 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  74. Matthew Bright

    They voted themselves out of existence, turning their back on FDR's legacy and letting a bunch of sleazy crooks, starting with Nixon and culminating in Bush Jr., take it all away and give it to their friends.

    They've got nobody but themselves to blame.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:18 am |
  75. MidwstrnGrl

    The concentration of wealth is the single biggest contribution to the destruction of a free market. The concentration of wealth is corrupting our governmental, judicial and political systems. These systems are the underpinning of a free market economy. Without these UNBIASED systems a free market becomes fixed. Your ability to rise up the ladder of success is greatly determined by it. Democracy also fails when the concentration of wealth is so great. Even Aristotle knew this. Name one well functioning democracy in the third world? That is what we are becoming....

    February 7, 2012 at 5:57 am |
  76. Kyser

    Start making your money work for itself and stop panicking.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  77. Kyser

    But alas, we really do need a third party system to be the tipping point within our Government, because right now it's like two kids yelling back and forth at each other.

    February 7, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  78. John C

    Capitalism is going exactly as Karl Marx said it would. Revoulution is the next phase, and then a socialist Utopia-not likely, just chaos and hell.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  79. jj

    Corporate greed is destroying the lives of our middle and lower class citizens. A good education and hard work used to be the means to rise economically. But that is no longer true today. Our children are having a worse life-style than we did because of corporate greed.

    February 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  80. jj

    This includes the corporate greed of pharmaceutical companies and health care providers.

    February 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  81. AgentG

    The fundamental problem is globalized wage arbitration, an aspect of globalization that brings considerable downside for national economies. This needs to be stopped and reversed, with American corporations given *huge* disincentives for hiring oversees to import back to the USA and for exporting jobs. We should also give *huge* incentives for investing here in the USA, both in terms of cap. ex. and human capital. The problem with chasing short-term profits is that you leave the economy barren, and American capitalism has an enormous and fatal defect that prevents investing for the future and cultivating real profits for upcoming generations. Put another way, our presently over-financialized business practices are leading us into ruin, because in the last 20 years, and 10 years in particular, we have seen the largest misallocation of both capital and human resources ever in the history of humankind. I am talking about our real estate market and the mortgage-back securities that still lurk and will yet explode again to send us into calamity.

    We need to wake up and realize the value of things and pay for that: the value of qualified labor, the value of having a place to live, the value of having adequate health care when you are sick, the value of having a secured retirement. These used to be a given in the American labor market. But we now have laid all these risks on employees, while corporate profits have ballooned, and their investments in our nation have plummeted. Time to recognize these trends and reverse, otherwise we are all doomed.

    February 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  82. AgentG

    To further clarify, I am not against profits or capitalism. But we need to focus on profits generated from making things and creating new innovative industries and the human capital ecosystems that go with that. And we need to get away from quick profits made from speculation and purely financialized transactions, because these are always illusions of wealth that other segments of the economy pay dearly for. We need a new ethos in business that values creation and real investment over speculation and pure financialized instruments.

    February 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  83. fistface

    I love how the out of touch Republicans and ignorant talk radio listeners are so quick too put an Obama stamp on anything. Including this latest "Class Warfare". Lets get this straight... There is no class warfare... the houses of the rich have yet to burn in the Revolution.... Best pay attention too the unequal taxation and over taxation of the Middle Class Citizens. We pay way more in Fed, State, and Hidden Taxes in percentages than anyone else... and our quality of living is unquestionably in decay since Regan. Republican Legislation and Democratic Big Government Values have both lead toward this problem. .. Thomas Jefferson – "The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations."

    February 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  84. pray

    I love how the left and right have so craftly devised the division between the left and right, and throw in class war fare and wallah it becomes like a magician, keep peoples eyes trained on the left hand while the right does whatever it wants. Congrats you lemmings you fall for it every time.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:31 am |
  85. Skeptic

    I live in poverty all my life, and it's a great feeling that I never have to pay tax.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  86. Caroline

    ...hang on until age 65? I'm 33 y/o and won't be able to reach retirement (by law) until I'm 72. That's a long way off. I have a Master's degree in Neuroscience and started my first research job @$20k with not much in raises over the next 7 years. To make matters worse, the financial stress, added with it the fact that i had a frustrating job, culminated in a severe bought of anxiety and depression. I've only been able to take part time jobs that pay$10/hr, maybe. Right now, I'm so far behind, I will never catch up. And I'm exhausted. So, i deserve to be poor b/c i can't catch my breath and be the energetic social butterfly that you seem to need to be to be well off enough that you don't have to worry about how you will pay your bills? Something is really wrong with our system when the standard is for the rich to not pay the poor what they are worth in terms of education and experience. American workers earn so little these days as the alternative to offering better wages seems to be to ship our jobs off to third world countries.

    February 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  87. donn

    All you have to do is look at the top ten poorest states they are RED States last in education healthcare wages but to ignorant to stop voting these bums in office.

    February 10, 2012 at 3:02 am |
  88. Henry

    my mtehor's goal was to be comfortable' but that he personally believed she spelled the word comfortable' r-i-c-h. It's taken me a long time, but I've realized that I will not find happiness in being comfortable, but in being uncomfortable (at least for a time) and acting bravely and creating outcomes that I can be proud of.

    February 24, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  89. golfer1

    My husband's bonus check was taxed at 42%. Part of that was taxes to the State of Califoria which has been and is still the 8th highest taxed state out of 50 and is a blue state. Part of those taxes go toward paying for free condoms for teenagers. I would rather teenagers pay for their own condoms. 47% of the population in the United States pays no Income Tax. The solution is to overhaul the tax code, get rid of loopholes that favor the very wealthy, and everyone pay something. Maybe a flat tax would be best.

    February 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  90. beechnut79

    Isn't it obvious by now that the requiem for middle class prosperity as we knew it took place when Reagan busted the unions three decades ago. Today there are many who still consider the very work "union" to be a five-letter obscenity. It is true that the big unions may have overstepped their bounds in their heyday by going too far in telling companies how they should run their business. But the pendulum has swung way too far in the oppostite direction, and today workers for the most part have to check their rights at the door when they go to work. Every US state except Montana is considered "at will" which means a company can fire workers for silly reasons or no good reason at all. And now many are asking potential hires for their Facebook passwords, which is a real travesty of justice if there ever was one. I have written a new book which, although technically a novel, should be a "must read" for anyone concerned with restoring a sense of fairness to the workplace. "Judas Times Seven", published by AuthorHouse, is a saga of greed, betrayal and jealousy in the modern workplace where office politics and political correctness trump reason; where petty jealousies can and often do result in real-world consequences. Hope you will check it out.

    April 23, 2012 at 10:56 am |
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    With out the Middle Class who will buy anything special interest has to sell !!! Made in U S A or China, etc.

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