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Trillions poured into fighting poverty since 1965, yet the lower income percentage hasn't varied more than +/-1%.

December 24, 2012

Rich Man, Poor Man

According to The Pew Center, the class “share” of the total U.S. aggregate household income from 1970 to 2010 trended as follows:

Lower income: from 10% in 1970, to 9% in 2010 (was not more than 10% or less than 9% in the entire 40 years).

Middle income: from 62% in 1970, to 45% in 2010 (down by 17%).

Upper income: from 29% in 1970, to 46% in 2010 (inversely up by 17%).

It is interesting to me that in spite of the billions/trillions of dollars we’ve poured into fighting poverty, as well as having the worst economic disaster since the great depression, that the lower income percentage has varied so little.

Many studies have confirmed that those classified as lower income in our country not only have all basic necessities, but also have most amenities that those in higher income groups have, including TVs, computers, and cell phones. A recent report from The Bureau of Labor Statistics (sampling three different income groups – 15k-20k, 50k-70k, and above $150k) shows that all groups spend roughly the same percentage of their income in each expense category – food, auto, housing, utilities, etc.. The only place where the percentage varied significantly was that those in the over $150k group spent a considerably greater percentage on education and on savings for retirement.

But what about the growing upper income base? They’re Republican, right? I mean, that’s what we’ve heard for years: Republicans, the party of the rich. Here’s what a Pew Center report for the last 20 years showed regarding party affiliation/income level (upper income sample of the top 20% defined as $102k and above; middle income sample 20% defined as $39k-$62k; and lower income bottom 20% defined as $20k and below):

When Bill Clinton won in 1992 the UPPER INCOME was:
25% Democrat
38% Republican
37% Independent/Other (hereafter stated as Independent)

In September of 2012, the upper income was:
31% Democrat
31% Republican
38% Independent

That’s +6% Democrat, -7% Republican, and +1 Independent.

What changed in those 20 years? Ideology, income, or both? In 1992, upper income Republicans and Independents almost tied, with upper income Democrats coming in a distant 2nd at 25%. But 2012, Independents led with 38% (only one percent higher than in 1994), with Democrats and Republicans tying for 2nd at 31%.

OK, but what about the LOWER INCOME? Most are Democrats, right? Not so.
In 1992:
41% Democrat
19% Republican
40% Independent

In 2012:
34% Democrat
16% Republican
51% Independent (>100% because of rounding)

That’s -7% Democrat, -3% Republican, and +11% Independent.

Independents in the lower income category now equal Democrats and Republicans combined!

OK, now to the great MIDDLE INCOME, the group that everyone “cares” so much about.

In 1992:
33% Democrat
28% Republican
39% Independent

In 2012:
33% Democrat
28% Republican
40% Independent (>100% because of rounding)

That’s +0% Democrat, +0% Republican, and +1% Independent.

Nearly identical to middle income statistics when Bill Clinton was elected in 1992.


In 1992:
33% Democrat
28% Republican
39% Independent

In 1992, the General Party affiliation was identical to Middle Income affiliation.

In 2012:
33% Democrat
24% Republican
43% Independent

That’s +0% Democrat, -4% Republican, and +4% Independent.

The general affiliation percentage of the Democrat Party is the same in 2012 as it was in 1992. This is also in agreement with current party affiliation among income groups – Upper, 31%; Lower, 34%: Middle 33% = average 32.67.

The general affiliation percentage of the Republican Party is less in 2012 than it was in 1992, mostly among upper income and lower income, but about the same in middle income.

Assuming the statistics are within reasonable limits, Independents have become the dominate force among all income groups, increasing dramatically among low income voters. The facts show: Independent/other is the party of the rich, and the middle income, and the lower income. So who are they, who are they voting for, and most importantly, why?


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