Thursday, February 23, 2006

Now It's Official: Middle-Class Salaries Are Losing Ground

If you think that your paycheck isn't going as far as it used to, you're right:
Average U.S. family income fell for the first time in 12 years and net worth barely budged between 2001 and 2004, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday in a surprisingly bleak report on household balance sheets.

While soaring home values added to family wealth in the three years to 2004, Americans also took on far more debt and shed stock market holdings, leaving the average household just 6.3 percent richer than in 2001 after adjusting for inflation, the report showed.

The growth in net worth was the smallest three-year gain since 1992 and suggests the 28.1 percent rise in the average home value since 2001 was largely eaten away by a drop in the value of other assets and a 33.9 percent surge in family debt.

Net household worth averaged $448,200 in 2004, up from $421,500 three years earlier. The number looks high because it is skewed by very wealthy households. Median net worth -- the point at which half of the nation's households are richer and half poorer -- rose just 1.5 percent to $93,100.

Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, said American families have seen no advance in their finances in the last three years.

"And if their homes had not appreciated significantly in value, they would have moved backwards," Brobeck said.
Classroom teachers in our California district haven't received any sort of pay increase in over four years and due to rising health insurance costs have had a net decrease in take-home pay.

All administrators, on the other hand, continue to receive their yearly pay increases as well as fully-paid health, dental, and vision insurance.
District-level administrators even receive automatic cost-of-living adjustments in addition to their annual pay increases.

One administratrix tried to justify this special treatment because, and I quote here, "They work so hard."

Is it any surprise that teacher morale in our district is at an all-time low?
See this week's Carnival Of Education right here and our latest education-related posts over there.