The 99ers are facing homelessness. Our troops are returning to no jobs. Our recent college graduates are going back home to live. However, there is good news for some of us. Michael Snyder from BLN looked into the facts. http://www.blacklistednews.com/news-10366-0-5-5–.html As of 2007, the top 1 percent of all Americans was taking home 24 percent of the national income. This was a level that had not been seen since the days of the Great Depression.
Incomes have been growing in the United States, but those at the very top of the pyramid have been gobbling up almost all of the income growth. According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
Even official government figures bear out the fact that the rich are getting richer. An analysis of income-tax data by the Congressional Budget Office a few years ago found that the top 1% of all American households own nearly twice as much of the corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago. Since money supply is finite that means they TOOK that wealth from somewhere and I think we all have a sense of where that is.
Most Americans have suffered during the last few years, but not the boys and girls down on Wall Street. New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says that Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008. 2008 was the most lucrative year for bonuses on Wall Street. No one on the “Street” got the memo the rest of us are really hurting out here. It speaks volumes to lack of morality in the Halls of Money. Greed has always been with us, but this is getting to the point of vulgarity.
Even as the number of Americans living in poverty sky-rockets, the number of millionaires just keeps growing. In fact, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million during 2009. The contrast to this is that 1 in 6 Americans are receiving some kind of government assistance and homelessness among families has tripled in the last 18 months. Government anti-poverty programs are exploding in size in response to the recent economic difficulties. USA Today is reporting that a record one in six Americans are now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program. Over 50 million Americans are on now Medicaid. That figure is up more than 17 percent since the beginning of the recession. The number of Americans in the food stamp program rose to a new all-time record of 40.8 million in May. That number is up almost 50 percent since the beginning of the recession. The number of Americans who cannot afford even the basic necessities is absolutely staggering. A whopping 50 million Americans could not afford to buy enough food in order to stay healthy at some point over the last year.
The amount of money some of these Wall Street hot shots are making is incredible. Back in 2005, the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of 9 billion dollars. That would be bad enough, but even in these hard economic times the rich just keep getting richer. One year after the recent financial collapse the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of approximately $25 billion. That breaks down to an average of $1 billion each. I am supposed to support continuing the tax cuts to the rich because…… Really, where is our collective head?
Compared to other industrialized nations, the United States is doing very poorly. The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The saddest part of this is what we are doing to our children. According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010.
But the American people cannot provide for their families if they don’t have jobs. Today there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone. In 2010, it takes the average unemployed American worker over 8 months to find a job. Approximately 10 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment insurance, which is a number that is nearly four times higher than what it was at back in 2007.
The truth is that we are creating a permanent underclass of Americans that cannot get jobs. The number of Americans receiving long-term unemployment benefits has increased over 60 percent in just the past year.
Increasingly, the wealth of the United States is being held in fewer and fewer hands. One study found that as of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets. It is not a good time to be living in “the bottom half” in America. The size of “the pie” being divided up among those at the low end of the wage scale is becoming really, really small. In fact, the bottom 40 percent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
Even those Americans that still do have decent jobs are seeing their wealth fade rapidly. For example, U.S. families have $6 trillion less in housing wealth than they did just three years ago. Home ownership used to be a sign that one had arrived in the middle class, but in 2010 an increasing number of Americans are finding out that they simply can’t afford their homes anymore. One out of every seven mortgages were either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.
The reality is that incomes have just not kept up with housing costs. This has put an incredible amount of pressure on the middle class. Just how much pressure? Well, only the top 5 percent of all U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975. The debt binge middle class Americans have been on over the past couple of decades has drained many of them completely dry, and now more Americans than ever have bad credit scores. Over 25 percent of Americans now have a credit score below 599, which means that they are a very bad credit risk.
A rapidly rising number of Americans are actually choosing bankruptcy as a way out of their financial problems. Nationwide, bankruptcy filings rose 20 percent in the 12 month period ending this past June 30th. The middle class manufacturing jobs that once defined so many American cities are rapidly disappearing. Despite the fact that the U.S. population has dramatically increased, less Americans are employed in manufacturing today than in 1950.
These days it seems like almost everyone is looking for a good job, but very few people are finding them. According to one recent survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job. Even many of those Americans that still have decent jobs have been hit hard by this economic downturn. A recent Pew Research survey found that 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.
The number of jobs that are evaporating is absolutely stunning. According to one analysis, the United States has lost a total of 10.5 million jobs since 2007. So where are the jobs going? It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. China’s trade surplus (much of it with the United States) climbed 140 percent in June compared to a year earlier.
The truth is that “globalism” and “free trade” have put middle class American workers in direct competition with the cheapest labor in the world. This is what middle class American workers must now compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
Due to these difficult economic conditions, the middle class is being squeezed as never before. According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans ”always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck. That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
So what kind of future do our young people have in front of them? Unfortunately, things don’t look pretty. Many fresh college graduates can’t even get a job that will allow them to be independent. One recent survey of last year’s college graduates discovered that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation. That was up significantly from 63 percent in 2006.
This is the real picture. The question is what next. When do we, as a nation, come to the Pearl Harbor moment. To realize we are in deep do-do and come together, put politics aside and get down to the business of restoring our economy. When is enough enough?
Here is Uncle Willie’s thought: