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Wisconsin is choking its middle class

Welcome to Wisconsin: Where the middle class has shrunk the most in the nation.

Welcome to Wisconsin: Where the middle class has shrunk the most in the nation.

The group of Americans politicians most love pandering to is dying. Or at least seeing its membership decline.

Despite signs of a post-recession economic rebound, the Pew Charitable Trusts' Stateline crunched some numbers and found that the middle class is getting slimmer — particularly in two of Minnesota's neighboring states.

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How much money do you need to be middle class in Minneapolis?

[jump] Between 2000 and 2013, all 50 states saw their number of middle-class households reduced. But as the Cheat Sheet points out, Wisconsin — destroyer of white picket fences — had the worst dip, with a 5.7 percent decrease. While the cost of living in dairy land has risen, the median income is down nearly $9,000 and people are devoting more of their wages to rent or mortgages. Writer Sam Becker lobs a chunk of the blame at Wisconsin's union-hating governor.

“There have also been many political battles that have not worked in the middle class’s favor,” Becker writes. “Governor Scott Walker gutted many of the state's unions — which has a big effect on the middle class — and all signs seem to indicate that he will aim to implement similar policies.”

Even with all its newfound oil money, North Dakota turns up on the sucks-to-be-you list. Following Ohio, North Dakota had the third worst middle-class decline, tumbling by 5.1 percent. While college and healthcare costs have gone up, Becker says the Nodaks are poised to turn it around.

In compiling its middle-class map, Pew defined middle class as those making 67 to 200 percent of the state's median income.

To be fair, Minnesota and Wisconsin have the same percentage of middle-class households, at 48.9 percent. But our 4 percent drop doesn't look quite as bad, plus on the median income scoreboard, Minnesota's $60,702 is more than $9,000 higher than Wisconsin's.

So, if you're cool with making more money and not buying beer in grocery stores, c'mon over, Sconnies.

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