Senate Democrats

REID: THE MIDDLE CLASS DESERVES A NEW DIRECTION

Washington, DCSenate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement today on new data released by the Census Bureau that shows real earnings for average Americans decreasing and the number of Americans living without health insurance increasing. With costs rising and the Republican Congress doing nothing to help a middle class that is struggling to get by, it is time for a new direction. A fact sheet on economic troubles facing middle-class Americans is attached below.

“Today’s numbers are more proof that middle-class life is growing less affordable and less secure under this Republican Congress. Across the country, average Americans are watching their real earnings go down, and even more are now living without health insurance. Meanwhile, the costs of gas, health care, and college are skyrocketing. It is time to take this country in a new direction, with a Congress that responds to the challenges the American people face every day.”

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Under President Bush, American life is growing more expensive

  • Since President Bush took office, the price of gas has increased 104 percent [Energy Information Administration, 8/28/06], the cost of health insurance premiums has increased 71 percent [Kaiser Family Foundation, 9/05], and the cost of attending a four-year public college has increased 44 percent [College Board, 10/05].

Unfortunately, family income is not keeping up with the increased costs.

  • The real earnings of men who work full-time declined from 2004 to 2005 by 1.8 percent, and the real earnings of women who work full-time declined last year by 1.3 percent. Real median household income has declined $1,273 or 3 percent since 2000, and about 37 million Americans continue to live in poverty–a 17 percent increase since 2000. [Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005," US Census Bureau, August 2006]

Meanwhile, the number of Americans without health insurance keeps going up.

  • The number of Americans without health insurance rose from 45.3 million to 46.6 million. [Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005," US Census Bureau, August 2006]

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