In short, the facts are that middle class incomes have remained flat for over 40 years. Over that same period the share of wealth of the top brackets has increased exponentially. Only in the years leading up to the Great Depression have we seen income disparity like that which we are experiencing now. The middle and lower classes have been so affected, that we now have the highest level of child poverty in the industrialized world.
Our greatness lies in our people. Only when Americans do well does America do well. The struggles our nation faces now, reflect the decades long struggles of the great American middle class. Ninety percent of Americans have failed to realize any real income gains since the 1970s. We work more hours, increasingly both parents work to provide for the family, yet with this increased effort, increased hours, and increased earners, middle class households have fallen farther and farther behind amassing enormous debts for their struggle.
The middle class is our very heart and soul, and economically the middle class is our economic engine. With 70% of our economy driven by consumer spending, there can be no more pressing economic goal than stengthening our middle class. We need more than jobs, we need wage increases that will put money in our pockets and drive our economy forward.
While our wages have remained stagnant tax cuts for the top brackets have placed increasing pressure on the middle class in the form of unfair fees and hidden taxes. Increased bus fares, increased bridge tolls, and unequal pay for women are only a few examples of the shifting of burden to the struggling middle class.
We need more than jobs, we need good, high paying jobs that will drive our economy now and into the future. Our greatness has long been measured in the greatness of our middle class, the greatest middle class in the history of the world. Strengthening middle class families strengthens our core. Strengthening our core means restoring the American Dream where hard work earns a better future for our children, our grandchildren, and New York can lead the way.