Despite repeated promises that he would build prosperity from the bottom up, President Obama has presided over three years of income losses for the middle class, according to the latest household income data from the Census Bureau.
Since 2009, the middle 20% of American households saw their average incomes drop 4%. In 2011 alone, they fell 1.7%. The poorest 20% have fared even worse under Obama, Census data show. Their incomes have dropped more than 7% since 2009, and are now lower than they've been at any time since 1985, after adjusting for inflation.
Meanwhile, the wealthiest have managed to eke out gains in two of the past three years. In 2011, the top 20% saw their average income climb almost 2%, the Census data show.
These results are in direct contrast of what President Obama said his policies would produce when he ran for president in 2008.
At a high profile speech in March of that year at Cooper Union in New York City, for example, Obama said "I've put forward a series of proposals that will foster economic growth from the bottom up."
Later that year, he said the country faced "a choice between more of the same policies that have widened inequality, added to our debt," or policies that "will restore balance to our economy; that will invest in the ingenuity and innovation of our people; that will fuel a bottom-up prosperity."
And in his first budget, released in February 2009, Obama said his policies would bring about "bottom-up growth that empowers hardworking families to climb the ladder of success."
But so far, none of that has happened during Obama's recovery, which started in June 2009 and has produced historically low rates of economic growth.