Economic insecurity affected 12.2 percent of Americans in 1985 and spiked to 17 percent during the 2000 downturn. In 2007, when economists were celebrating "the Great Moderation," insecurity was higher than in 1985, affecting 13.7 percent of Americans. In 2009, after the downturn, Hacker estimates that one in five Americans was hit with a 25 percent decline in available household income. And the report estimates that between 1996 and 2006 -- before the collapse -- fully 60 percent experienced such loss.
What happened? Incomes stagnated for most Americans. Medical costs rose far faster than inflation or incomes. Fewer people received pensions or health care at work. Households took on rising levels of debt to try to make ends meet. Hacker found that a majority of Americans have almost no savings to fall back on at a time of an emergency.
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