Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Part 2: Knollenberg's Economic Policies Hurt Middle Class Families

Middle-Class Families Squeezed By Skyrocketing Costs

Health care premiums have increased by over 80 percent.
  • The cost of family health insurance has skyrocketed 80.8 percent since 2000.

  • Premiums are rising twice as fast as wages and inflation.

  • The typical family health insurance premium is now $11,480 a year compared with $6,348 in 2000.[1]

  • The number of uninsured Americans has increased every year since President Bush took office, from 39.8 million in 2000 to a record high of 46.6 million in 2005.[2]

Gas prices have more than doubled.

Prices at the gas pump have jumped 102.7 percent from $1.47 per gallon the week President Bush took office in January 2001[3] to $2.87 in the latest week of energy price data.[4]

  • The average price of gas for this summer is estimated to be $2.97 per gallon, 84 percent higher than the average price for the summer of 2001.[5] (And given that it is over $3.00 now, that is probably a low estimate!)

  • The price for a barrel of oil has more than doubled during the Bush Administration from $30.63 in January 2001 to $65.26 in April 2007.[6]

  • The average household with children will spend about $3,743 on transportation fuel costs this year, an increase of 97 percent or $1,841 over 2001 costs.[7]

College education costs have risen by 44 percent.

  • Average tuition, fees, room, and board costs at four-year private universities have increased by $6,786 from $22,240 in the 2000-2001 academic year to $29,026 in the 2005-2006 academic year.

  • Tuition, fees, room, and board charges at four-year public colleges grew more rapidly between 2000-2001 and 2005-2006, after adjusting for inflation, than during any other five-year period since 1975.

  • Total costs jumped from $8,439 in 2000-2001 to $12,127 in 2005-2006 – an increase of $3,688, or 44 percent.[8]

  • The cost of a college education is rising faster than family income.

Housing affordability has reached a 15-year low.

  • In 2006, housing affordability reached its lowest level since 1991.[10]

  • According to the Washington Post, “[o]ne of every 92 U.S. households faced foreclosure last year and the number is expected to get larger.

  • Over the next two years, monthly payments on millions of loans will surge as their low introductory interest rates balloon by as much as 50 percent.

  • The nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending predicts that one in five subprime mortgages taken out in the past two years – those marketed to borrowers with poor credit histories and limited incomes – will end up in foreclosure.

  • The crisis may eventually cost as much as $164 billion…

  • There is considerable fear that the pace of foreclosures, which jumped again in the first three months of this year, will continue to rise and jeopardize the entire economy.”[12]

    Knollenberg's Positions HURT Middle Class Families



[1] Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, 2006 Employer Health Benefits Survey, available at http://www.kff.org/insurance/ehbs-archives.cfm.
[2] U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 and 2006 Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (August 2007), available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p60-231.pdf, (revised March 23, 2007) (see U.S. Census Bureau, Census Bureau Revises 2004 and 2005 Health Insurance Coverage Estimates (March 23, 2007), available at http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/health_care_insurance/009789.html.
[3] Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Navigator, available at http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/mg_rt_usw.htm.
[4] Energy Information Administration, Household Vehicle Energy Use: Latest Data and Trends (2005), available at http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/rtecs/nhts_survey/2001/; Weekly Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices (updated April 30, 2007), available at http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_gnd_dcus_nus_w.htm.
[5] Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (April 2007), available at http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html.
[6] Spot Prices for Crude Oil (updated April 23, 2007).
[7] Energy Information Administration, Household Vehicle Energy Use: Latest Data and Trends; Short Term Energy Outlook (April 2007).
[8] The College Board, Trends in College Pricing 2006 (October 2005), available at http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/press/cost06/trends_college_pricing_06.pdf.
[9] Analysis of Department of Education data contained in “The College Cost Crunch: A State-by-State Analysis of Rising Tuition and Student Debt” at 2, available at http://democrats.senate.gov/dpc/dpc-new.cfm?doc_name=sr-109-2-91.
[10] National Association of Realtors, Housing Affordability Index (updated February 9, 2007), available at http://www.realtor.org/Research.nsf/Pages/HousingInx.
[11] Michael Grunwald, “The Housing Crisis Goes Suburban,” Washington Post at B01 (August 27, 2006).
[12] Michael R. Crittenden, “Bracing for Default Day,” CQ Weekly at 1168 (April 23, 2007).

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