Senate Democrats

Middle-Class Life Under Bush: Less Affordable and Less Secure

For (y) millions of hard-working, middle-class families, life under the Bush presidency has grown less affordable and less secure.  President Bush’s record of fiscal incompetence and mismanagement, and Republicans’ close ties with special interests, have helped lead to both lower wages on the one hand and skyrocketing costs for basic necessities like gas, health care, and college tuition on the other.  Unfortunately, instead of producing solutions to the problems facing the middle class, Bush Republicans have ignored them and pushed for policies that would make matters even worse.  

In addition to tightening the squeeze on families, Republican policies have made our entire nation less financially secure.  Republicans increased our debt to nearly $9 trillion and have insisted on spending billions of dollars every year on budget-busting tax breaks for special interests and multi-millionaires.  The Bush Administration also continues to compromise our economic security by increasing our reliance on foreign investment from in China, Japan, and Dubai.

Middle-class families, and our nation, deserve better.  Under Democratic leadership, the Senate has already passed legislation that would begin to make college more affordable and accessible, by increasing Pell Grants.  We also came together in a bipartisan fashion and passed The America COMPETES Act,legislation to maintain America’s competitive advantage by ensuring that America keeps its edge in science, research and technology.  In addition, Senate Democrats are working on other measures to make college more affordable, ensure fair prices for Medicare prescription drugs, and provide more affordable and sustainable sources of energy.  Finally, House and Senate Democrats have approved balanced budgets to restore fiscal responsibility and help promote the economic growth that provided so many benefits to middle-class families during the 1990s. 



Middle-Class Families Squeezed By Skyrocketing Costs

Health care premiums have increased by over 80 percent.  The cost of family health insurance has skyrocketed 80.8 percent since 2000.  Premiums are rising twice as fast as wages and inflation.  The typical family health insurance premium is now $11,480 a year compared with $6,348 in 2000.[1]  The number of uninsured Americans has increased every year since President Bush took office, from 39.8 million in 2000 to a record high of 46.6 million in 2005.[2]

Gas prices have climbed over $3 a gallon.  Prices at the gas pump have jumped 107 percent from $1.47 per gallon the week President Bush took office in January 2001[3] to $ 3.05 in the latest week of energy price data.[4]  The price for a barrel of oil has more than doubled during the Bush Administration from $30.63 in January 2001 to $65.26 in April 2007.[5]  The average household with children will spend about $3,887 on transportation fuel costs this year, an increase of 104 percent or $1,984 over 2001 costs.[6]

College education costs have risen by 44 percent.  Average tuition, fees, room, and board costs at four-year private universities have increased by $6,786 from $22,240 in the 2000-2001 academic year to $29,026 in the 2005-2006 academic year.  Tuition, fees, room, and board charges at four-year public colleges grew more rapidly between 2000-2001 and 2005-2006, after adjusting for inflation, than during any other five-year period since 1975.  Total costs jumped from $8,439 in 2000-2001 to $12,127 in 2005-2006 – an increase of $3,688, or 44 percent.[7]  

The cost of a college education is rising faster than family income, but key federal tuition assistance programs such as the Pell Grant program have failed to keep pace with the rising cost of college.  While the maximum Pell Grant covered 51 percent of the cost of tuition, fees, room and board at a public four-year college during the 1986-1987 school year, it covered only 35 percent of those costs in 2004-2005.[8]  Democrats have already enacted a modest increase in Pell Grants this year, but much more remains to be done to help families better afford college.



Housing affordability has reached a 15-year low.  In 2006, housing affordability reached its lowest level since 1991.[9]  According to the Washington Post, “the scarcity of affordable housing is a deepening national crisis, and not just for inner-city families on welfare.  The problem has climbed the income ladder and moved to the suburbs, where service workers cram their families into overcrowded apartments, college graduates have to crash with their parents, and firefighters, police officers and teachers can’t afford to live in the communities they serve.”[10] 

In addition, the Post reports that “[o]ne of every 92 U.S. households faced foreclosure last year and the number is expected to get larger.  Over the next two years, monthly payments on millions of loans will surge as their low introductory interest rates balloon by as much as 50 percent.  The nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending predicts that one in five subprime mortgages taken out in the past two years – those marketed to borrowers with poor credit histories and limited incomes – will end up in foreclosure.  The crisis may eventually cost as much as $164 billion…There is considerable fear that the pace of foreclosures, which jumped again in the first three months of this year, will continue to rise and jeopardize the entire economy.”[11] 

Middle-Class Families Squeezed By Declining Income and Fewer Job Opportunities

While families work harder, their wages continue to decline.  Middle-class families are working harder and earning less today than they were at the start of the Bush Administration.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “Since the end of the recession of 2001, a lot of the growth in GDP per person – that is, productivity – has gone to profits, not wages.”[12]  Median household income, adjusted for inflation, has declined $1,273 from $47,599 in 2000 to $46,326 in 2005.[13]  

The real median earnings of both male and female full-time, full-year workers declined between 2004 and 2005 by 1.8 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.[14]  Median weekly earnings have risen only 0.9 percent between 2000 and 2006 compared with 7.1 percent growth between 1996 and 2000 under the Clinton Administration.[15]  

Meanwhile, employment compensation has lagged behind productivity gains.  While the productivity of the American worker rose by 17.5 percent between the first quarter of 2001 and the fourth quarter of 2006, real compensation per hour increased by only 8.7 percent.[16]  In the first quarter of 2007, productivity in the non-farm business sector further improved by 1.7 percent, while real weekly earnings increased by only 1.2 percent.[17]  Therefore, Americans have worked harder – and more productively – for their families, but are not receiving the proportionally increased rewards for their hard work.  

Earnings for workers with college degrees declining.  The LA Times has reported that: “Wage stagnation, long the bane of blue-collar workers, is now hitting people with bachelor’s degrees for the first time in 30 years.  Earnings for workers with four-year degrees fell 5.2 percent from 2000 to 2004 when adjusted for inflation, according to White House economists…Not since the 1970s have workers with bachelor’s degrees seen a prolonged slump in earnings during a time of economic growth…trends for people with master’s and other advanced degrees…have found that their inflation-adjusted wages were essentially flat between 2000 and 2004.”[18]

Worst job creation record since Hoover Administration. A growing economy should be good news for those seeking jobs.  But over the course of President Bush’s term in office, his Administration has the worst overall job creation record since Herbert Hoover more than 70 years ago.[19]  

Overall non-farm payroll employment has increased by just 5.2 million since President Bush took office in January 2001 compared with 22.7 million during the Clinton presidency.  Overall employment growth has averaged just 70,000 per month under President Bush – much lower than the approximately 150,000 jobs needed each month to keep up with population growth.  It was not uncommon to see monthly job gains of 300,000 and even 400,000 during economic expansions under previous Administrations. [20]

Private sector job creation has been especially poor during the Bush presidency, with an average annual job growth rate of only 0.5 percent per year since 2001.[21]  Just 3.8


million private sector jobs have been created during the Bush presidency, compared with over 20 million private sector jobs during the Clinton presidency.[22]  

The manufacturing sector, often the source of jobs with good pay and benefits, has lost three million jobs since the start of the Bush Administration.[23]  Nearly half of the jobs created since 2001 were part-time and freelance positions without benefits.[24]  This slow pace of private sector job creation is particularly troubling given that we are so far into the economic recovery.  

Unemployment has increased 7.1 percent and long-term joblessness has nearly doubled.  In part because of this failure to create a sufficient number of jobs, the national unemployment rate stands at 4.5 percent,[25] which is 7.1 percent higher than the 4.2 percent rate when President Bush took office.  Unfortunately, once unemployed, America’s workers also are staying unemployed longer.  In 2006, over one in six of the unemployed had been out of work for more than 26 weeks.[26]  The number of long-term unemployed has increased by 61 percent since President Bush took office.[27]

Bush’s deficit-financed tax cuts have widened the income gap between millionaires and middle-class workers.  In testimony before the Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned against rising income inequality:  “[T]o the extent that incomes and wealth are spreading apart, I think that is not a good trend.”[28]  Bernanke’s predecessor as Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, expressed similar concerns in congressional testimony in July 2004.[29]  In January 2007, for the first time, President Bush finally acknowledged that “income inequality is real; it’s been rising for more than 25 years.”[30]  The Wall Street Journal, however, has attributed the widening income gap to President Bush’s tax policies:  “[I]t appears that the highest-salaried workers – executives, managers and professionals – are widening their lead on the typical worker…The Bush tax cuts appear to have widened the income gap, according to many analyses.”[31]  

In fact, President Bush’s capital gains and dividends tax cuts will cost $197 billion over ten years, with most of the benefits going to multimillionaires.  In an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, economists found that the immediate effect of the Bush tax cuts has been “skewed in favor of those with high incomes,” benefiting the most wealthy households the most.[32]  In 2006, for example, “families making more than $1 million a year saw their after-tax income increase by 6 percent because of the tax cuts, while families making $40,000 to $75,000 saw after-tax income rise by about 2.5 percent.”[33]

More American families and children face severe financial problems.  The average annual increase in the poverty rate during President Bush’s first term is second only to that during George H.W. Bush’s administration and contrasts sharply with the declines in the Clinton and Kennedy-Johnson Administrations.[34]  The poverty rate has increased 12 percent to 12.6 percent since 2000.[35]  Nearly thirty-seven million Americans were living in poverty in 2005,[36] an increase of 5.4 million over the 2000 level, the year before President Bush took office.[37]  Poverty has hit America’s children particularly hard.  According to the latest Census report, almost one out of every six American children lives in poverty.[38]  The number of children living in poverty has increased 6.5 percent during the Bush Administration.[39]  

Middle-Class Families Squeezed By Record Levels of Debt

Bush Republicans turned record budget surpluses into record deficits.  President Bush inherited a unified budget surplus of $236 billion from President Clinton, the largest surplus in American history.[40]  Budget surpluses were expected to continue for another ten years when President Bush took office in January 2001.[41]  By 2002, however, the unified federal budget had returned to a deficit of $158 billion and has reached historic highs.  Last year, the budget deficit was $248 billion, or 1.9 percent of GDP.[42]


Bush Republicans, addicted to borrowing, increased the national debt by $3 trillion.  President Bush is the most fiscally irresponsible American president, having presided over the largest explosion of debt in our nation’s history.  Every year since taking office, President Bush asked Congress to increase the statutory debt limit, resulting in a $3 trillion, or 51 percent, increase.[43]  At the end of 2006, the federal debt totaled $8.68 trillion.[44]  By 2012, the President’s budget would increase the public debt to 12.2 trillion.[45]

Enormous trade deficit is undermining U.S. competitiveness.   In 2006, the U.S. trade deficit was at an alarming record high of $765.262 billion – twice the size of the trade deficit in 2001.[46]  Even more troubling, our trade in Advanced Technology Products, a strong indicator of U.S. competitiveness, which was in surplus as recently as 2001, experienced a deficit of more than $38 billion in 2006.[47]

 

Debt owed to foreigners climbs to record levels.  In order to finance record budget deficits, the United States has had to borrow at unprecedented rates from foreigners.  As of February 2007, the United States had accumulated $1.1 trillion more in debt to foreigners than this country had accumulated in its first 224 years.[48]  By contrast, during the last three years of the Clinton Administration, the United States paid off more than $200 billion in debt to foreigners.[49]

Record government and personal debt levels threaten economic future.  Record federal deficits and debt create record interest costs for Americans.  In 2006, interest costs on the federal debt  amounted to $405.9 billion and this figure will grow to $614.9 billion by 2016.[50]  “Flat wages and rising debt nationally have converged to leave millions of middle-class households feeling acutely vulnerable to bumps in their financial planning…According to a study by the Federal Reserve Board, the ratio of financial obligations — primarily mortgage and consumer debt — to disposable personal income rose to a modern record of 18.7 percent…”[51]

Average student loan debt soared to more than $19,000.  Interest rates for Stafford student loans have risen substantially over the past two years, from 3.4 percent to 7.14 percent for outstanding loans and 6.8 percent on new loans.[52]  As a result, loan payments will be considerably higher for students taking out new loans and for those who did not consolidate loans in recent years.  Without adequate federal grants funding, students and their parents must rely more on student loans to finance their college educations.  More than 60 percent of undergraduates at four-year colleges have to take out loans, and the average amount of federal student loan debt upon graduation has increased from $7,650 in 1992-1993 to $17,400 in 2003-2004.  When private loans are factored in as well, average student loan debt in 2003-2004 was more than $19,000.[53]

Erosion of employer-provided pensions threatens Americans’ retirement security.  Workers should be able to count on the retirement promises made by their employers.  Increasingly, that is not the case.  An analysis by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal entity created by Congress to protect employee pensions, found that nearly 10 percent of pension plans halted benefit accruals in 2003 alone, the latest year for which complete data is available.  According to PBGC Executive Director Bradley Belt, anecdotal evidence suggests that this number has been even higher since then.  Unfortunately, Bush Administration proposals to expand tax-favored savings accounts that primarily benefit the wealthy risk further pension plan erosion.[54]

President Bush Should Join Democrats in Helping Middle-Class Families

Democrats will make college more affordable and accessible.

·        Democrats Will Expand Pell Grants.  Democrats recognize that Pell Grants have not kept pace with the rising cost of college and will raise the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,100.

·        Democrats Will Cut Student Loan Costs and Make Payments More Manageable.  Democrats recognize that graduates are struggling with increasing student loan debt, and will work to make student loan payments more manageable.

·        Democrats Will Expand Deductions for College Tuition.  Democrats recognize that tax deductions are essential in financing a college education, and will expand tax breaks for college tuition and make them permanent.

Democrats are working to ensure fair prices for Medicare prescription drugs and improve the drug benefit for beneficiaries.  When it comes to the Medicare prescription program,Democrats want to put seniors, people with disabilities, and taxpayers first.  Democrats are seeking to eliminate the current-law prohibition on drug price negotiations in order to help ensure that all people with Medicare have access to the fairest prices for their medicines Unfortunately, to date, Republicans have sided with special interests, and blocked the legislation through a filibuster.

Democrats will work to provide Americans with more sustainable and affordable sources of energy.  Democrats are working to pass legislation that will enhance America’s security by reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign and unsustainable energy sources and the risks of global warming by requiring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; diversifying and expanding our use of secure, efficient, and environmentally friendly energy supplies and technologies, by repealing tax giveaways to big energy companies; reducing the burdens on consumers of rising energy prices; and preventing energy price gouging, profiteering and market manipulation.

The Democratic Senate has rejected funding cuts to energy and environment programs. Democrats took a first step toward a national energy policy that promotes energy independence, protects the environment, and confronts global climate change by increasing funding for energy and environment programs in Fiscal Year 2007.  H.J.Res.20, the Revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2007, increased funding for basic science research at the Department of Energy by $200 million and for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs by $300 million.  Efficiency and conservation are the cheapest and fastest ways to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

In theS.Con.Res.21, the Fiscal Year 2008 Senate Budget Resolution, Senate Democrats increased funding for energy and environmental programs, which have sustained dramatic cuts during the Bush Administration.  Among many other cuts, the Bush Administration reduced funding for clean water, public lands, oceans, climate research, energy efficiency and conservation, and energy cost assistance for low-income Americans.  While the Administration has cut these important programs, the President, in his 2008 Budget Request, failed to repeal lucrative subsidies for oil and gas companies.

Democrats will raise the minimum wage.  In February, after a ten year battle, both houses of Congress have passed versions of H.R.2, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007.  The bill, which will raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15/hour to $7.25/hour in three steps over two years, will benefit 13 million workers and help reverse years of wage stagnation without harming the economy.  Of those who would be directly or indirectly benefited, nearly 59 percent are women and 46 percent are their family’s sole breadwinner.  Moreover, this raise of $2.10 per hour will benefit well-over six million children whose parents will receive an increase in earnings.  As the House and Senate work to clear the bill for the President’s signature, the nation can be assured that Democrats are dedicated to giving workers their long overdue raise.

Democrats will restore fiscal responsibility to Washington, while providing tax relief to the middle class.  As an important first step in restoring our nation’s fiscal security, S.Con.Res.21 would bring the budget back into balance by 2012.  Under the resolution, gross debt as a share of gross domestic product will begin to fall after 2009.  And spending as a share of gross domestic product will decline in every year after 2008.  The plan also restores crucial budget enforcement provisions such as strong pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budget rules that proved to be highly effective in promoting fiscal discipline and producing record surpluses in the 1990s.  In addition, the budget calls for providing meaningful tax relief to the middle class.

Democrats are also working to eliminate unfair tax burdens on middle-class Americans.  Skyrocketing health care, education, housing, and gas costs have placed middle-class families in a tight economic squeeze.  Making matters worse, more and more of these families are being forced to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which was originally intended only for the super-wealthy to ensure that they paid a minimum tax.   S.Con.Res.21 includes AMT relief for middle-class taxpayers, to prevent millions of Americans from being subjected to the tax.



[1]     Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, 2006 Employer Health Benefits Survey, available at http://www.kff.org/insurance/ehbs-archives.cfm.

[2]     U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 and 2006 Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (August 2007), Figure 7, available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-231.pdf  (revised March 23, 2007) (see U.S. Census Bureau, Census Bureau Revises 2004 and 2005 Health Insurance Coverage Estimates (March 23, 2007), Table A1, available at http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/health_care_insurance/009789.html); U.S. Census Bureau, Health Insurance Coverage:  2001, Table B.3, available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p60-220.pdf.

[3]     Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Navigator, available at http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/mg_rt_usw.htm.

[4]     Energy Information Administration,Household Vehicle Energy Use:  Latest Data and Trends (2005), available at http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/rtecs/nhts_survey/2001/; Weekly Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices(updated May 7, 2007), available at http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_gnd_dcus_nus_w.htm.

[5]     Spot Prices for Crude Oil (updated April 23, 2007).

[6]     Energy Information Administration,Household Vehicle Energy Use:  Latest Data and Trends; Short Term Energy Outlook (May 2007).

[7]     The College Board, Trends in College Pricing 2006 (October 2005), available at http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/press/cost06/trends_college_pricing_06.pdf.

[8]     Analysis of Department of Education data contained in “The College Cost Crunch: A State-by-State Analysis of Rising Tuition and Student Debt” at 2, available at http://democrats.senate.gov/dpc/dpc-new.cfm?doc_name=sr-109-2-91.

[9]     National Association of Realtors, Housing Affordability Index (updated February 9, 2007), available at http://www.realtor.org/Research.nsf/Pages/HousingInx.

[10]    Michael Grunwald, “The Housing Crisis Goes Suburban,” Washington Post at B01 (August 27, 2006). 

[11]    Michael R. Crittenden, “Bracing for Default Day,” CQ Weekly at 1168 (April 23, 2007).

[12]    Greg Ip, “Wages Fail to Keep Pace With Productivity Increases, Aggravating Income Inequality,” Wall Street Journal at A2 (March 27, 2006).

[13]    U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005, Figure 1 (August 2006), available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-231.pdf.

[14]    U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey:  Historical Data for the Tables of the Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers, available at http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpswktab1.htm.

[15]    U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey:  Historical Data for the Tables of the Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers, available at http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpswktab1.htm.

[16]    U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Productivity Data, available at ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/news.release/History/prod2.03062007.news and ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/news.release/History/prod2.06052001.news.

[17]    U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Productivity and Costs: First Quarter 2007, preliminary, available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/prod2.pdf and U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Weekly and hourly earnings data from the Current Population Survey, available at http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpswktab1.htm.

[18]    Molly Hennessy-Fiske, “That Raise Might Take 4 Years to Earn as Well: Those with bachelor’s degrees are finding their incomes stagnate despite a growing economy,” Los Angeles Times at A1 (July 24, 2006).

[19]    U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary, available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.toc.htm.

[20]    See e.g., Speech of Gary H. Stern,President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Perspectives on the Economy (March 29, 2007), available at http://www.minneapolisfed.org/news/pres/Stern03-29-07.cfm.

[21]    U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industry at a Glance, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, available at http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab5.htm (visited April 26, 2007).

[22]    Id.

[23]    U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industry at a Glance, available at http://www.bls.gov/iag/manufacturing.htm.

[24]    Molly Hennessy-Fiske, “That Raise Might Take 4 Years to Earn as Well: Those with bachelor’s degrees are finding their incomes stagnate despite a growing economy,” Los Angeles Times at A1 (July 24, 2006).

[25]    U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary (May 4, 2007), available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm and Employment Situation:  January 2001, available at ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/news.release/History/empsit.02022001.news..

[26]    U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, Table A-9, http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab7.htm

[27]    Id.

[28]    Testimony of Ben Bernanke before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, (July 19, 2006), available at http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/hh/2006/july/testimony.htm

[29]    Testimony of Alan Greenspan before the Joint Economic Committee (June 4, 2005), quoted in Peter Grier, “Rich-poor gap gaining attention,” Christian Science Monitor (June 14, 2005), available at http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0614/p01s03-usec.html ("As I’ve often said, this is not the type of thing which a democratic society – a capitalist democratic society – can really accept without addressing").

[30]    Speech of George Bush on the State of the Economy, New York, NY (January 31, 2007), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/01/20070131-1.html (“I know some of our citizens worry about the fact that our dynamic economy is leaving working people behind.  We have an obligation to help ensure that every citizen shares in this country’s future.  The fact is that income inequality is real; it’s been rising for more than 25 years”).

[31]    Greg Ip, “Wages Fail to Keep Pace With Productivity Increases, Aggravating Income Inequality,” Wall Street Journal at A.2 (March 27, 2006).

[32]    Greg Leiserson and Jeffrey Rohaly, “The Distribution of the 2001-2006 Tax Cuts: Updated Projections, November 2006,” The Tax Policy Center (November 15, 2006), available at http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411378_tax_cuts.pdf.

[33]    Michael Abramowitz and Lori Montgomery, “Bush Addresses Income Inequality,” The Washington Post at A04 (February 1, 2007), citing “The Distribution of the 2001-2006 Tax Cuts: Updated Projections,” supra.

[34]    Joint Economic Committee analysis of data maintained by the Bureau of the Census and U.S. Department of Commerce from 1959-1995. 

[35]    U.S. Census Bureau, CPS 2005 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, POV01 (August 29, 2006), available at http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/pov/new01_100_01.htm.

[36]    Id.

[37]    U.S. Census Bureau, CPS 2000 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, POV01 (December 11, 2001), available at http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032000/pov/new01_001.htm

[38]    U.S. Census Bureau, CPS 2005 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, POV02 (August 29, 2006), available at http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/pov/new02_100_01.htm

[39]    U.S. Census Bureau, CPS 2000 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, POV02 (December 11, 2001), available at http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032001/pov/new01_003.htm.

[40]    President Bush’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2002, A Blueprint for New Beginnings at 201(February 28, 2001), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/usbudget/blueprint/blueprint.pdf.

[41]    Id. at 7.

[42]    Congressional Budget Office.

[43]    Philip D. Winters, “The Debt Limit: The Ongoing Need for Increases,” Congressional Research Service Pub. No. RL31967 (updated March 21, 2006).

[44]    U.S. Department of the Treasury, “The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It,” available at http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np.

[45]    Congressional Budget Office and analysis by Senate Committee on Budget Democratic Staff.

[46]    U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Foreign Trade Statistics, U.S. Trade in Goods and Services – Balance of Payments (BOP) Basis, available at http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/historical/gands.txt.

[47]    U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics, Advanced Technology Product Data, available at http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/2007pr/02/exh16.txt.

[48]    U.S. Department of Treasury, Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities (updated April 23, 2007), available at http://www.treas.gov/tic/mfhhis01.txt and http://www.ustreas.gov/tic/mfh.txt.

[49]    Id.

[50]    Congressional Budget Office (March 2007).

[51]    Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Chris Cillizza, “‘Mortgage Moms’ May Star in Midterm Vote; With Wages Stagnant and Debt Growing, Democrats See an Opportunity,” Washington Post at A01 (September 5, 2006).

[52]    David P. Smole, “Stafford Loan Interest Rate Reduction: Background and Issues,” Congressional Research Service Pub. No. RS-22568 (January 30, 2007).

[53]    National Center for Educational Statistics, 2003-04 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:04), Undergraduate Financial Aid Estimates for 2003-04 by Type of Institution (June 2005), available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005163.pdf, and 1993 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:93) (October 1995).

[54]    Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, “Study of Frozen Defined Benefit Pension Plans,” available at http://www.pbgc.gov/docs/frozen_plans_1205.pdf and http://www.pbgc.gov/media/news-archive/2005/pr06-12.html (December 21, 2005); Joel Friedman and Robert Greenstein, “Boosting Income And Contribution Limits For Pension Savings Would Swell Deficits, Do Little For Middle-Class Families,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (May 18, 2005).

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