How many times have you heard President Obama express concern for the middle class? More than you can count. Even his website begins “Learn more about Barack Obama and why he’s fighting for the middle class.”
But if we look at Obama’s actual record rather than his rhetoric, it is plain that the middle class has been one of the leading victims of his presidency.
The decline in median family and median net worth that began during George W. Bush’s presidency has continued under Obama. Citing recent Census Bureau data, the Pew Research Center published data showing that the only one of nine income levels whose net worth increased in the 2009-2011 period was the highest-earning cohort—those earning over $500,000 per year.
Income, too, showed a similar pattern: During Obama’s first term, the wealthiest 20% of households eked out a 2% gain while incomes for the rest fell. Obama may talk tough about “the rich,” but they have been the only group that have gotten richer on his watch.
Further evidence of Obama’s silent war on the middle class is the explosion in the number of Americans receiving food stamps. When Obama took office in January 2009, there were approximately 32 million Americans on food stamps; as of April 5, 2013, that numbered had swollen by nearly 50% to 47.3 million. Poor Americans already had been receiving food stamps before Obama became president; the increase came from members of the middle-class Americans that his policies had initiated into hard times.
Another dramatic indicator of economic hardship has been the unprecedented increase in the number of Americans receiving federal disability payments—8.8 million, a 19% increase in only four years. Working conditions haven’t become more dangerous; the disturbing rise in these numbers means that many have found it easier to get on disability than to get a job. The 1.4 million net increase in disability enrollments is five times greater than the growth in net jobs during the same period—a meager 291,000 jobs.
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