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Rich Man, Poor Man: Ain’t Life Grand?

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We keep hearing how well "the economy" is doing (up 3.8% last year) but somehow or other that doesn’t seem to translate into our lives, or those of our neighbors.

That’s because the gains are going to the rich, the losses are creating even more poor.

And even the business press is starting to notice:

Business Week 08/08/2005 (Story links open in new windows)

"The Rich Get (Much) Richer

"The top 1% take a fatter slice now than at any time since the 1920s

"Hooray for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal for returning the problems of class in America to the front page. Shame on the rest of us, passive witnesses to the emergence of a second Gilded Age, another Roaring Twenties, in which the fruits of economic success have gone not to the broad populace but to a slim sliver at the top.

"We can debate a lot of economic data but not income inequality. Every serious study shows that the U.S. income gap has become a chasm. Over the past 30 years, the share of income going to the highest-earning Americans has risen steadily to levels not seen since shortly before the Great Depression.

"Economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez calculated [pdf] (using data from the Internal Revenue Service, hardly a hotbed of partisanship) that the share of income going to the top 1% of households nearly doubled, to 14.7% in 2002, up from a low of 7.7% in the early 1970s.

"[T]he share of the top 0.01% — the 13,000 or so households with an average income of $10.8 million in 2002 — has multiplied nearly four times." [Business Week 08/08/2005]

The trend continues and seems to have accelerated since 2000. Here’s how another leading business publication describes it:

The Wall Street Journal 08/31/2005

"Recovery Bypasses Many Americans
"Despite Economic Growth, Median Household Income And Wages Fell Last Year

"Although the U.S. economy grew robustly last year, the income of the median household slipped a bit, wages of full-time workers fell, the number of Americans living below the poverty line rose and more Americans went without health insurance, the Census Bureau said in its annual report on consumer income.

"The snapshot suggests that the recovering economy, while adding jobs and showing productivity gains since the recession of 2001, isn’t paying dividends to everyone.

Last year, 37 million Americans were living in poverty, about 1 million more than the year before and 5.4 million more than in 2000 when poverty bottomed out as the economy peaked." [The Wall Street Journal 08/31/2005]

But "the economy" is doing very well [Corporate Profits Rise Sharply The Wall Street Journal 09/01/2005].

Why is this happening? Uncontrolled globalization, huge and untenable tax cuts for the wealthy, and a very non-partisan display of greed by your elected representatives, manipulating tax breaks and subsidies for deep-pocket special interests. (In 2000 there were 16,342 registered lobbyists in Washington, DC; today there are 34,785.)

Write your Senators and House Representative and give them some ‘tude. They’re supposed to be working for you.

 

 

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About Hal

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I believe that if you look at the actual numbers, broken down by economic sector you’ll find that ALL income groups have become richer in the past year, but that the numerical increase is higher in higher income groups because they have a higher base level of wealth in the first place. As I recall the percentage increase is actually highest in the middle income groups.

    Dave

  • http://jmaximus.blogspot.com John Bill

    Thats the Walmart economy for you. Illegals and outsourcing are the real problem. Take drywalling for example, it used pay about $22/hr plus benefits. Now it is mostly illegals doing it and for maybe $10/hr cash no benefits or taxes.

  • Eric Olsen

    Hal’s back! Hi Hal, welcome

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I do have to say that when I had illegals do my drywall they did a better job, cheaper and faster than the anglo guys I had do drywall in my old house.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Dave, you just aren’t going to face reality until and unless BushCo makes an official pronouncement on this, are you?

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    If there are real gains, Katrina will take care of them.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Nancy, what the hell does Bush have to do with anything? He’s achieved near total irrelevancy.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Because you keep mouthing his Little Mary Sunshine bullshit about how the economy is just peachy, we’re all doing fine, and completely ignoring information/reality checks like the ABOVE (hint hint – READ IT, dammit) which present data from the most neutral experts available (who know a hell of a lot more about it than you do, altho you won’t admit it) that the ONLY ones gaining are the ultra rich and big business. Wake up & smell the coffee grounds … or the oil slops, more realistically.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Nancy, I just read the data and come up with conclusions. It’s not hard to do. You could do it to if you had any interest in the truth rather than your ongoing hatefest.

    Dave

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    No, Dave.

    Your beliefs have no effect on the facts.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    Nalle: “I believe that if you look at the actual numbers, broken down by economic sector you’ll find that ALL income groups have become richer in the past year, but that the numerical increase is higher in higher income groups because they have a higher base level of wealth in the first place. As I recall the percentage increase is actually highest in the middle income groups”

    This article says: “Family income stagnated last year and more Americans slipped into poverty, the Census Bureau said Tuesday in a report that raised questions about which Americans were enjoying the fruits of an economic expansion that began in 2001. It was the fourth straight year that the report found an increase in the U.S. poverty rate.”

    Interesting. Read the data and make the necessary conclusions, I guess.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Did you read the part where the increase in the official poverty level more than accounts for the number of people who ‘slipped’ into poverty?

    Dave

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    And so, your point is people who “slip” into poverty aren’t really in poverty at all?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    No, my point is that they probably increased slightly in income, but the poverty level also went up.

    Dave

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    Whatever Dave.

  • manish

    poorman are very high in india