October 1, 2019

CHANGE: Trump’s Middle-Class Economic Progress: A new study indicates median incomes are rising far faster than they did under Bush or Obama.

President Trump’s critics can’t deny that the economy is doing well, so instead they insist all the benefits have gone to the rich and large corporations. “America’s middle class is under attack,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren asserted in her presidential campaign announcement last December.

The latest data from the Census Bureau monthly surveys tell a different story. Real median household income—the amount earned by those in the very middle—hit $65,084 (in 2019 dollars) for the 12 months ending in July. That’s the highest level ever and a gain of $4,144, or 6.8%, since Mr. Trump took office. By comparison, during 7½ years under President Obama—starting from the end of the recession in June 2009 through January 2017—the median household income rose by only about $1,000. . . .

Sentier’s income data dates to 2000 and tells the story of the past two decades. The recession of 2008-09 crushed middle-class incomes so dramatically that the median income when Mr. Obama left office was no higher than it was when George W. Bush arrived. That was the middle-class and blue-collar squeeze Donald Trump tapped into.

Mr. Obama inherited a financial mess, but the median income continued its decline during almost all of his first term and rose only slowly in his second term—the weakest recovery from a recession since the 1930s. “We never saw a recovery where incomes took such a long time to recover the lost ground,” says Sentier founder Gordon Green.

Well, it’s been a war on the middle class.

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