Moral Outrage
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Economic insecurity at 25 year high

Insecure about your finances? You’re not alone. Economic insecurity in the U.S. is at its highest point in 25 years, according to a new report. Almost one in five Americans are estimated to be insecure in 2010, compared with less than one in eight in 1985, according to the report from the New York-based philanthropy Rockefeller Foundation, and Jacob Hacker, a political science professor at Yale University.

“While economic insecurity is substantially higher for less affluent and educated Americans than for other groups, it has risen across virtually all parts of American society — it’s an issue squarely confronting the American middle class,” Hacker said in a statement.

The report defines the economically insecure as those whose available household income fell by at least 25%, after adjusting for inflation, from one year to the next due to a decline in household income, and/or an increase in out-of-pocket medical spending. The economically insecure also lack an adequate financial safety net.

“Lower-income households have roughly double the prevalence of economic insecurity, compared to those with the highest incomes,” the report said.

Between downturns, economic security has not returned to prior levels, the report said. “The ‘new normal’ in each subsequent economic cycle has featured a higher level of economic insecurity,” the report also said.


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