Senator Bernie Sanders: Earth to Bush: The Middle Class is Shrinking

AUGUST 8, 2007
3:32 PM

CONTACT: Senator Bernie Sanders 
Michael Briggs (202) 224-5141 or

Earth to Bush: The Middle Class is Shrinking

CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 8 - Senator Bernie Sanders said the latest claims by President Bush about “our thriving economy” are further evidence that he is totally out of touch with the realities facing America’s shrinking middle class.

“What planet is he living on? I am sick and tired of the president telling us how great the economy is when every working American knows that is not true,” Sanders said. “The millionaires and billionaires he showered with special tax breaks may be making out alright, but the Bush economy has been a disaster for everyone else.”

The president’s comments came at the conclusion of a meeting with economic advisors at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Sanders was in Vermont for a week-long, statewide series of meetings on jobs and public works needs in economically hard-pressed communities.

“While the president tells us how the economy is ‘thriving,’ the American people understand how wrong he is,” Sanders added. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, he noted, found that more than two-thirds of Americans believe the U.S. economy is either in recession now or will be in the next year.

Since the president took office, Sanders added, 5.4 million Americans have slipped out of the middle class and into poverty; nearly seven million Americans have lost their health insurance; median household income has gone down by nearly $1,300; three million manufacturing jobs have been lost; the real earnings of college graduates have gone down by about 5 percent; entry level wages for male and female high school graduates have fallen by 3.3 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively; and three million American workers have lost their pensions.

Home foreclosures are now the highest on record; the personal savings rate is lower than at any time since before the Great Depression; wages and salaries are at the lowest share of gross domestic product since 1929; and the top 300,000 Americans now earn nearly as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

A member of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders has cited the president’s disconnect with economic reality in opposing confirmation of former Rep. Jim Nussle to be the White House budget director. The Senate has scheduled three hours of debate on the Nussle nomination as the first order of business when Congress reconvenes on September 4.