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Middle Class

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NEWS
February 26, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
PHILADELPHIA'S middle class has withered over the past four decades, creating challenges for a city facing budget cuts and a need not to shortchange its burgeoning poor, a new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts finds. In 2010, 42 percent of the city's adults were middle class, compared with 59 percent in 1970 - a time when Philadelphia had 400,000 more residents. Philadelphia "used to consist of entirely majority middle-class neighborhoods,re" but that is no longer the case, Larry Eichel, project director of Pew's Philadelphia Research Initiative, said yesterday.
NEWS
June 8, 1992 | BY MIKE ROYKO
He was picked up and brought in for questioning after a pollster provided a tip to the Media Patrol. They shoved him into a chair in an unused studio, aimed a bright light at his face, and a member of the Media Patrol said: "We have received a report that in response to a question from a pollster as to the level of your discontent, you said: 'I am quite happy.' Is that true?" The man smiled and said: "Yes, that's what I said, all right. " The interrogator glared at him, then barked: "Why did you say that?"
NEWS
February 26, 2014 | By Maria Panaritis, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia middle class, a backbone of economic vitality that once made up the majority of residents in most of the city's neighborhoods, has declined in steep numbers since 1970, from 59 percent to 42 percent by 2010, according to a report released Monday, the first of its kind. The precipitous decline of adults within this long-celebrated class occurred widely across the city and most sharply before 2000, sparing only chunks of Far Northeast Philadelphia and Roxborough and smaller pockets elsewhere.
BUSINESS
November 25, 1990 | By R.A. Zaldivar, Inquirer Washington Bureau
The economic slide of the 1990s is hitting middle-class America after a decade in which it ran harder to stay in place. That fact of economic life is causing considerable political discomfort for President Bush and the Republicans, as a growing body of research tarnishes the GOP's golden image of the '80s. Government statistics show that middle class has come to mean "middle crunch. " Widespread gains in prosperity were not to be had in the '80s. It was a decade in which middle-class families sent more workers into the labor force to maintain living standards, while the richest Americans accumulated more wealth than ever.
NEWS
February 27, 2014
AT FIRST glance, the latest Pew report on Philadelphia's middle class looks like mostly cloud and little silver lining. For starters, as the report notes, the number of people who could be considered middle class fell from 59 percent of the population in 1970 to 43 percent today. For another - as the maps that ran with the report show - while most Philadelphia neighborhoods were middle-class blue in 1970, only a relative handful remain blue today. But a second look at the report tells a different and certainly more hopeful story.
NEWS
January 30, 2015 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
PRESIDENT OBAMA flew into Philadelphia last night to invigorate a diminished House Democratic caucus and sketch out the party's national agenda for the next two years. Speaking to a somewhat rowdy crew at the Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel, on Dock Street below 2nd, Obama called for new infrastructure investment and middle-class tax relief, closing special-interest tax loopholes and ending the across-the-board "sequestration" cuts in effect since 2013. "The ground that middle-class families lost over the last 30 years still has to be made up, and the trends that have squeezed middle-class families - and those striving to get into the middle class - those trends have not been fully reversed," Obama said.
NEWS
August 18, 1987 | By William Raspberry
The Houston Housing Authority has been buying up foreclosed homes and renting them to low-income families. The novel program is, first of all, a clever attempt to reap some good from Houston's economic woes. In very few cities would it make economic sense to purchase middle-class housing for the use of the poor. In economically depressed Houston, the units are a bargain. Second, the initiative avoids one of the problems that has plagued public housing: the tendency to turn public-housing complexes into concentrations of failure.
NEWS
October 27, 2011 | ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON - The richest 1 percent of Americans have been getting far richer over the last three decades while the middle class and poor have seen their after-tax household income only crawl up in comparison, according to a government study. After-tax income for the top 1 percent of U.S. households almost tripled, up 275 percent, from 1979 to 2007, the Congressional Budget Office found. For people in the middle of the economic scale, after-tax income grew by just 40 percent. Those at the bottom experienced an 18 percent increase.
NEWS
December 3, 2012 | ASSOCIATED PRESS
PRESIDENT OBAMA, during a visit to Montgomery County on Friday, argued that allowing taxes to rise for the middle class would amount to a "lump of coal" for Christmas, while in Washington, Republican House Speaker John Boehner declared that negotiations to surmount a looming fiscal cliff are going "almost nowhere. " Obama took his case to an audience in Hatfield, saying that a middle-class tax increase would present a "Scrooge Christmas" for millions of wage-earners. Speaking at a toy factory, Obama said Republicans should extend existing Bush-era tax rates for households earning $250,000 or less and allow increases to kick in for the more well-off.
NEWS
February 18, 2008 | By Moiss Nam
The middle class in poor countries is the fastest-growing segment of the world's population. While the planet's total population will increase by about a billion people in the next 12 years, the ranks of the middle class will swell by as many as 1.8 billion - 600 million just in China. This is, of course, good news - but it also means humanity will have to adjust to unprecedented pressures. The rise of a new global middle class is already having repercussions. Homi Kharas, a researcher at the Brookings Institution, estimates that by 2020, the world's middle class will grow to include 52 percent of the total population, up from 30 percent.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
March 23, 2015
ISSUE | LESSONS Bensalem knows The school district's gifted program, which a parent said attracted her to Bensalem, should be a priority for all communities, so districts retain top students and high home values ("A lively, diverse, convenient community," March 15). On the state level, the aim should be to separate funding for gifted education from special education, and to require that all educators take six college credits in strategies for serving gifted students. |Rose Jacobs, former president, Bensalem Association Dedicated to Gifted Education, Trevose, Rose4kids@verizon.net Phila.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 17, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Along with time in Nashville as a behind-the-scenes songwriter, Angaleena Presley is known as one of the Pistol Annies with bad-girl superstar Miranda Lambert and nice-girl crooner Ashley Monroe. The 2014 release of Presley's solo debut, American Middle Class , and intimate gigs such as Friday's Ardmore Music Hall showcase should shift the factors of recognition. It's not as though she lacks country credibility. Presley lays claim to being a coal-miner's daughter from Beauty, Ky., and a descendent of the McCoys (of Hatfields feud fame)
NEWS
February 4, 2015
ISSUE | SAFE HOME Hard-hitting spot could save lives During the Super Bowl broadcast, the No More campaign to end domestic violence aired a powerful spot that I'm sure many viewers are still thinking and talking about. For 30 seconds, more than 100 million people were asked to consider what it's like to live in fear in their own home - while far too many members of this same audience knew what it was like from personal experience. Issues of domestic violence have made international headlines at various points throughout the pro football season, but the truth is that these incidents persist as a silent epidemic despite the glare of public scrutiny.
NEWS
January 30, 2015 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
PRESIDENT OBAMA flew into Philadelphia last night to invigorate a diminished House Democratic caucus and sketch out the party's national agenda for the next two years. Speaking to a somewhat rowdy crew at the Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel, on Dock Street below 2nd, Obama called for new infrastructure investment and middle-class tax relief, closing special-interest tax loopholes and ending the across-the-board "sequestration" cuts in effect since 2013. "The ground that middle-class families lost over the last 30 years still has to be made up, and the trends that have squeezed middle-class families - and those striving to get into the middle class - those trends have not been fully reversed," Obama said.
NEWS
January 22, 2015 | By Thomas Fitzgerald, Inquirer Politics Writer
President Obama did not sound as if he expected the Republicans who control Congress to actually do anything with the economic policies he proposed Tuesday night in his sixth State of the Union speech. Instead, Obama seemed determined to influence the debate over income inequality and the diminishing fortunes of the middle class at the center of the developing 2016 campaign to choose his successor. "Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?"
NEWS
December 11, 2014 | Inquirer Editorial Board
More than half the states have raised their minimum wages above the federal rate, while the richest 1 percent have consumed an increasing share of income growth. But little has been done to prop up the stagnant wages of the middle class, whose real wealth is lower than in 1969. It's no coincidence that middle-class incomes have barely improved since the federal government began letting overtime standards lapse in the 1970s. Back then, more than 65 percent of Americans were required to be paid at the overtime rate - 1 1/2 times regular pay - for working more than 40 hours a week.
NEWS
September 24, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
  HARRISBURG - In what essentially was a warm-up for Monday's gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidate Tom Wolf found himself playing defense on some of his key campaign positions. Speaking before a packed crowd at the monthly Pennsylvania press club luncheon Monday, Wolf reiterated his position that he would boost education funding through a 5 percent tax on the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. But he found himself having to explain his position on other issues, namely his idea of replacing the state's across-the-board personal income tax with a graduated tax. Wolf, a wealthy businessman from York, said he believes that would ease the tax burden on the middle class and shift the burden to wealthier taxpayers.
NEWS
September 5, 2014 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
Sen. Cory Booker launched his reelection campaign Wednesday at Camden County College, portraying himself as a pragmatic problem-solver whose "prosperity agenda" to lift the middle class contrasts sharply with his Republican opponent's "defunct and debunked" economic ideas. Booker, a 45-year-old Democrat and the former celebrity mayor of Newark, is seeking his first full, six-year Senate term after winning a special election last year to complete the term of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
NEWS
March 28, 2014 | BY JOHN M. CRISP
AT A TIME when many students still see college as their best hope for a rewarding career, higher education has become more expensive, far outpacing the steady increase in the cost of living. As a consequence, average student debt at graduation is pushing $30,000. In some cases, student debt reaches a disheartening six figures. But falling beyond the reach of these daunting statistics are many capable students who don't accumulate student debt because they can't scrape together the means to go to college in the first place.
NEWS
March 8, 2014
Raising all boats One implication of the decline of Philadelphia's middle class is that changes must be made to encourage middle-income people to remain in the city ("Philadelphia needs to stop loss of middle class," March 2). Another is that we must address the conditions that increased poverty - not just as a moral imperative, but as a necessity for the city's well-being. The recently formed Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity is crucial to meeting this goal. Attracting jobs is a prerequisite, but not enough.
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