What does middle class mean for most folks these days? It probably means you’re hurting, and it’s a growing problem.

Incomes for 90% of Americans have been stuck in neutral for years now, and the blame doesn’t lie solely with the Great Recession. Middle-class incomes have been stagnant for at least a generation, while the wealthiest tier of Americans has surged ahead at lighting speed, reports Analynn Censky for CNN Money. [The Pros and Cons of ETFs.]

In 1988, the income of an average American taxpayer was $33,400, adjusted for inflation. Fast forward 20 years, and not much has changed: The average income was still just $33,000 in 2008, according to IRS data. Meanwhile, the richest 1% of Americans – those making $380,000 or more – have seen their incomes grow 33% over the last 20 years, leaving average Americans in the dust. [More Advisors Are Putting ETFs to Work.]

The rest of the article – while not directly related to ETFs – is worth a read. If this gap continues to widen, we could have a real problem.

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.