The Wealth Is Not Trickling Down

President Donald Trump prepares to sign the Tax Cut and Reform Bill in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC on December 22, 2017. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images)President Trump prepares to sign the Tax Cut and Reform Bill in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on December 22, 2017. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images)

If we are to believe President Trump, his presidency has resulted in a smashing economic turnaround for the nation. “There has never been a better time to start living the American dream,” the president said in his State of the Union address last week before echoing calls from Republicans to slash social safety nets.

Wages are not rising quickly with the economic tide, but the cost of living is.

Trump’s speech prompted a debate among economists over whether lower unemployment rates and stronger markets are truly the result of Trump’s pro-business agenda and GOP tax cuts, or the long-term benefits of Obama-era policies. The president was uncharacteristically silent about his ability to influence markets as the US stock market took a steep nosedive on Monday, according to reports. 

Put the partisan conversation aside, however, and hard data reveals that a growing economy has not made “living the American dream” easier for everyone.

For many working-class families — including the “forgotten men and women” Trump has claimed to champion — current indicators of economic growth have not translated into shared prosperity, according to a new report from Prosperity Now, a group that tracks economic prosperity among lower-income Americans and communities of color.

In short, wages are not rising quickly with the economic tide, but the cost of living is.

Unemployment rates have fallen below pre-recession levels in many parts of the country, but nearly one in four jobs pays below the federal poverty level, according to the report. The rate of low-wage employment has fallen only 2 percent since peaking at 25.6 percent in 2013.

Despite the apparent economic upturn, nearly 37 percent of households in the United States are considered “liquid asset poor.”

Increases in average annual pay are not…

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