Senate Democrats

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

For 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 and skyrocketing costs for basic necessities like gas, health care, and college tuition.  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 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, and the Democrats’ initiative to raise the minimum wage has been signed into law.  We also reached out to Republicans in a bipartisan fashion to pass The America COMPETES Act,legislation to maintain America’s competitive advantage by ensuring that America keeps its edge in science, research and technology.  Senate Democrats are working on other measures to ensure fair prices for Medicare prescription drugs and provide more affordable and sustainable sources of energy.  In addition, House and Senate Democrats have approved balanced budgets to restore fiscal responsibility and help promote the type of 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 doubled.  Prices at the gas pump have jumped 101 percent from $1.47 per gallon the week President Bush took office in January 2001[3] to $2.96 in the latest week of energy price data.[4]  The price for a barrel of oil has increased 160 percent during the Bush Administration from $30.63 in January 2001 to $72.79 in July 2007.[5]  The average household with children will spend about $3,987 on transportation fuel costs this year, an increase of 110 percent or $2,084 over 2001 costs.[6]

College education costs have risen by over 50 percent.  Average tuition, fees, room, and board costs at four-year private universities have increased by $8,127 from $22,240 in the 2000-2001 academic year to $30,367 in the 2006-2007 academic year.[7]  Tuition, fees, room, and board charges at four-year public colleges grew more rapidly between 2000-2001 and 2006-2007, after adjusting for inflation, than during any other five-year period since 1975.  Total costs jumped from $8,439 for the 2000-2001 academic year to $12,796 for the 2006-2007 academic year – an increase of $4,357, or 51.6 percent.[8]  

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.[9]  

Housing affordability remains pervasive problem.  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] 

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University recently reported that housing affordability will continue to be a “pervasive problem.”[11]  Between 2004 and 2005, the number of households with housing cost burdens in excess of 30 percent climbed by 2.3 million, hitting a record 37.3 million in 2005.”[12]   According to the Center, “five years of stagnating or declining incomes have added to housing affordability problems”[13] and “the need to address housing affordability problems is intensifying as the pressures grow more acute and spread up the income scale.”[14]

Meanwhile, there has been an alarming increase in foreclosures as subprime borrowers’ loans reset to higher rates.[15]  Congressional Quarterly reported 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.”[16]  An analysis by the Center for Responsible Lending estimates that, of subprime mortgages made in recent years, an alarming one out of every five (19 percent) will fail, resulting in a 2.4 million in projected foreclosures on homes purchased with subprime loans made during 1998-2006.[17]  And “[d]ata is beginning to reveal that it was not only, not even mainly, the credit unworthy taking out exotic mortgages.  Rather many middle- and upper-middle-class people with good credit took out exotic mortgages.”[18] 

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.  Median household income, adjusted for inflation, has declined $1,273 from $47,599 in 2000 to $46,326 in 2005.[19]   

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.[20]  Between the first quarter of 2001 (when President Bush took office) and the first quarter of 2007 (the most recent period for which data is available), median weekly earnings (adjusted for inflation) fell 1.23 percent, compared with 7.1 percent growth between 1996 and 200 under the Clinton Administration.[21]

Meanwhile, employment compensation has lagged behind productivity gains.  While the productivity of the American worker (output per hour) rose by 17.5 percent between the first quarter of 2001 and the fourth quarter of 2006, average hourly compensation (wages plus benefits, adjusted for inflation) increased by only 8.7 percent during this period.[22]  Productivity in the non-farm business sector further improved by one percent in the first quarter of 2007, but hourly compensation decreased by one percent.[23]  Thus, Americans are working harder – and more productively – but are not receiving proportionally increased rewards for their hard work.  

This is counter to historical trends:  “Economic theory holds that when output per worker rises, so should wages, and hence living standards.  In practice, that’s what transpired so impressively in the United States during much of the last century.  But recent data suggests that for many workers, the elixir has lost its potency…many observers contend that the link between productivity and pay is broken.  Employees are working


harder and smarter, they charge, but are reaping no reward for the extra effort.”[24]

So who has benefited from these productivity gains?  The New York Times reported that:  “an outsized share of productivity growth, which expands the nation’s total income, is going to Americans at the top of the income scale.  In 2005, the latest year with available data, the top 1 percent of Americans – whose average annual income was $1.1 million – took in 21.8 percent of the nation’s income, their largest share since 1929.”[25]  According to the Wall Street Journal, “[s]ince 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.”[26]  Economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that:  "[t]o the extent that the productivity growth ‘explosion’ of 2001-2004 was achieved by cost-cutting, layoffs, and abnormally slow employment growth…the historical link between productivity growth and higher living standards falls apart.  Not only have the bottom 90 percent of American workers failed to keep up with productivity growth, many have been harmed by it."[27]

Earnings for workers with college degrees declining.  The New York Times recently observed that “a college degree does not ensure a bigger share of the economic pie for many graduates.”[28]  The Los Angeles Times has reported that: “[w]age 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″[29]   And, according to recent U.S. Census data, “the number of college graduates earning below the poverty line has more than doubled in the past 15 years to almost 6 million people.”[30]

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.[31]

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 52,000 per month under President Bush[32] – 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.[33]

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.[34]  The Washington Times noted that this represents an increase of only 4.1 million private sector jobs under the “Bush era,” compared with the creation of more than 21 million private sector jobs during the Clinton presidency (a 23 percent increase).[35]  And nearly half of the jobs created since 2001 were part-time and freelance positions without benefits.[36]  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.[37]  

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,[38] 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.[39]  The number of long-term unemployed has increased by 61 percent since President Bush took office.[40]

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.”[41]  Bernanke’s predecessor as Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, expressed similar concerns in congressional testimony in July 2004.[42]  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.”[43]  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.”[44]  The St. Louis Post Dispatch summed it up:  “The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have thrown the federal budget deeper into deficit while doing little for ordinary Americans.”[45]

In fact, President Bush’s capital gains and dividends tax cuts will cost $2.349 trillion billion over ten years,[46] with most of the benefits going to the richest one percent of Americans.[47]  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.[48]  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.”[49]

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.[50] 

The poverty rate has increased 12 percent to 12.6 percent since 2000.[51]  Nearly thirty-seven million Americans were living in poverty in 2005,[52] an increase of 5.4 million over


the 2000 level, the year before President Bush took office.[53]  

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.[54]  The number of children living in poverty has increased 6.5 percent during the Bush Administration.[55]  

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.[56]  Budget surpluses were expected to continue for another ten years when President Bush took office in January 2001.[57]  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.[58]

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.[59]  At the end of 2006, the federal debt


totaled $8.68 trillion.[60]  By 2012, the President’s budget would increase the public debt

to 12.2 trillion.[61]

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.[62]  As 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.[63]

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.[64]  By contrast, during the last three years of the Clinton Administration, the United States paid off more than $200 billion in debt to foreigners.[65]

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.[66]  Personal debt levels have reached a modern record.  “Flat wages and rising debt nationally have converged to leave millions of middle-class households feeling acutely vulnerable to bumps in their financial planning.”[67]  According to the Federal Reserve, last year the ratio of financial obligations to disposable personal income reached an all-time high since the data was first collected in 1980.[68]  The ratio, which accounts for mortgage, consumer, and other obligations, has remained high.  in the first quarter of 2007, 19.18 percent of disposable income was spent on debt.[69]

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.[70]  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.[71]

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, determined 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.  A recent study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that in the past two years, over one-third of surveyed companies froze their pensions and another one-third will be looking to close or freeze their pensions in the next two years.[72]  Unfortunately, Bush Administration proposals to expand tax-favored savings accounts that primarily benefit the wealthy risk further pension plan erosion.[73]




[1]    Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, 2006 Employer Health Benefits Survey, available here.

[2]   U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 and 2006 Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (August 2007), Figure 7, available here (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 here; U.S. Census Bureau, Health Insurance Coverage:  2001, Table B.3, available here.

[3]    Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Navigator, available here.

[4]    Energy Information Administration,Household Vehicle Energy Use:  Latest Data and Trends (2005), available here; Weekly Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices (updated July 23, 2007), available here.

[5]    Energy Information Administration, Spot Prices for Crude Oil (updated June 2007), available here.

[6]    Calculations based on data available from Energy Information Administration,Household Vehicle Energy Use:  Latest Data and Trends; Short Term Energy Outlook (July 2007), available here, Household Vehicles Energy Use: Data Tables, Table A2 (released November 2005),available here.

[7]    The College Board, Trends in College Pricing 2006, available here.

[8]    Id.

[9]    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 here.

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

[11]   Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, The State of the Nation’s Housing 2007 (June 11, 2007) at 19, availableS.On2007/S.On2007.pdf">here.

[12]   Id.at 1.  Housing cost burdens measure the share of income devoted to housing, including rent or mortgage payments, utilities, property insurance, and property taxes.  Traditionally, housing is considered affordable if it accounts for less than 30 percent of income.  Housing cost burdens of between 30 and 50 percent are considered moderate, while those of 50 percent or more are severe.”  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The Homeownership Experience of Low-Income and Minority Families (February 2006) at 30, available here.

[13]   Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, The State of the Nation’s Housing 2007 (June 11, 2007) at 26, availableS.On2007/S.On2007.pdf">here.

[14]   Id. at 30.

[15]   See e.g. Joint Economic Committee, Sheltering Neighborhoods from the Subprime Foreclosure Storm” (June 22, 2007), available here.

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

[17]   Center for Responsible Lending, “Subprime Lending: A Net Drain on Homeownership,” CRL Issue Paper No. 14 (March 2, 2007), available here.

[18]   Hans G. Despain, “Housing crisis causing bleak economic future for Worcester,” Telegram & Gazette (June 8, 2007) at A11.

[19]   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 here.

[20]   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 here.

[21]   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 here.

[22]   Joint Economic Committee analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (April 25, 2007), available here.

[23]   U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Productivity and Costs:  First Quarter 2007, revised (June 6, 2007), available here.

[24]   Edward Teach, “A Productive Debate,” CFO Magazine (December 31, 2006), available here.

[25]   Editorial, Economic Life After College,” New York Times at A18 (June 11, 2007).

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

[27]   Ian Dew-Becker and Robert J. Gordon, Where Did the Productivity Growth Go? Inflation Dynamics and the Distribution of Income (December 2005) at 62, available here.

[28]   Editorial, Economic Life After College,” New York Times at A18 (June 11, 2007).

[29]   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).

[30]   AP, “College degree may not be enough to protect against poverty” (April 29, 2007).

[31]   U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary (July 6, 2007), available here.

[32]   Id.  See also Editorial, “Job Figures in Context,” Washington Times (July 23, 2007), available here.

[33]   See e.g., Speech of Gary H. Stern,President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Perspectives on the Economy (March 29, 2007), available here.

[34]   U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industry at a Glance, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, available here(visited April 26, 2007).

[35]   Id.  See also Editorial, “Job Figures in Context,” Washington Times (July 23, 2007), available here.

[36]   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).

[37]   U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industry at a Glance, available here.

[38]   U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation:  June 2007 (July 8, 2007), available here and Employment Situation:  January 2001, available here.

[39]   U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, Table A-9, available here.

[40]   Id.

[41]   Testimony of Ben Bernanke before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, (July 19, 2006), available here.

[42]   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 here ("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").

[43]   Speech of George Bush on the State of the Economy, New York, NY (January 31, 2007), available here (“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”).

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

[45]   St. Louis Post Dispatch, "Falling Behind Dad” (May 30, 2007).

[46]   Citizens for Tax Justice, The Bush Tax Cuts:  The Latest CTJ Data (March 2007) at 2, available here.

[47]   Id.  [based on income group].

[48]   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 here.

[49]   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.

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

[51]   U.S. Census Bureau, CPS 2005 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, POV01 (August 29, 2006), available here

[52]   Id.

[53]   U.S. Census Bureau, CPS 2000 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, POV01 (December 11, 2001), available here.

[54]   U.S. Census Bureau, CPS 2005 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, POV02 (August 29, 2006), available here.

[55]   U.S. Census Bureau, CPS 2000 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, POV02 (December 11, 2001), available here.

[56]   President Bush’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2002, A Blueprint for New Beginnings at 201(February 28, 2001), available here.

[57]   Id. at 7.

[58]   Congressional Budget Office.

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

[60]   U.S. Department of the Treasury, “The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It,” available here.

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

[62]   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 here.

[63]   U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics, Advanced Technology Product Data, available here.

[64]   U.S. Department of Treasury, Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities (updated April 23, 2007), available here and here.

[65]   Id.

[66]   Congressional Budget Office (March 2007).

[67]   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).

[68]   The Federal Reserve, Household Debt Service and Financial Obligations Ratios (updated June 13, 2007), available here.

[69]   Id.

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

[71]   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 here, and 1993 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:93) (October 1995).

[72]   Jack VanDerhei, Retirement Income Adequacy after PPA and FAS 158:  Part One – Plan Sponsors’ Reactions, Employee Benefit Research Institute (July 2007), available here.

[73]   Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, “Study of Frozen Defined Benefit Pension Plans,” available here and here (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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