The American Dream
Oct 28, 2010
In the United States today, the only group that is “doing better” each year financially is the folks at the very top of the income pyramid. Everyone else has seen their incomes decline. Once upon a time, America had a relatively egalitarian system where just about anyone could “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” if they just worked hard enough. But today, there are millions of Americans that can’t seem to get jobs no matter how hard they try. Millions of others feel their tenuous hold on the American Dream slipping out of their grasp just a little bit more each month. The truth is that we don’t have true capitalism in the United States anymore. Over the past several decades, the financial system in the U.S. has been carefully molded and shaped in such a way that all the wealth is funneled to the elite at the very top and to the monolithic predator corporations that now dominate the global economy. Power has become concentrated in the hands of very few individuals, and they are nearly impossible to compete against. If you doubt this, go set up a general store right next to your local Wal-Mart and see how long you can survive. In America today, the elite are becoming fabulously wealthy and the middle class is being ripped to shreds. One of the things that our Founding Fathers were extremely concerned about was not allowing too much power to be accumulated in the hands of any one person or institution, but today we have turned our backs on that principle and now we are paying the price.
So what is the solution? Well, Democrats tell us that we just need to “spread the wealth” a bit more. But raising taxes and giving people more handouts is not going to solve a thing. What the American people need are good jobs.
Republicans tell us that if we will just lower taxes on corporations and on the rich that they will hire more American workers and that wealth will “trickle down” to them.
But as we have seen, that is simply not true in today’s world. The elite have figured out that they don’t really need expensive American workers anymore. Instead, they can just set up shop on the other side of the world and pay workers less than a tenth of what American workers make.
This new “global economy” is really great for increasing the bonuses of corporate executives, but it is a really bad deal for middle class Americans. Most Americans do not have any other way to make money other than their labor. But if millions of our jobs are going to keep being shipped overseas, then where are all of those middle class Americans going to find good jobs?
For decades, our politicians promised us that “free trade” and “globalism” were going to be incredibly beneficial for us. Well, free trade and globalism have been great for the elite, but they have devastated middle America.
Middle class Americans were never told that they were being merged into a one-world labor market where they would be forced to directly compete for jobs with the cheapest labor on the globe.
If you listen really, really carefully you can hear that “great sucking sound” that Ross Perot once warned us so diligently about.
Once great manufacturing cities that were the envy of the world such as Detroit now resemble post-apocalyptic war zones.
America is being deindustrialized at a blinding pace, and the wealthy are making a lot of money in the process.
So in 2010, the elite are once again bringing in huge bonuses and they are living the high life. Spending on luxury goods is skyrocketing and the privileged few are enjoying all of the wonderful things that this life has to offer.
Meanwhile, millions of American families are trying to figure out how they are going to pay for heat this winter.
The following are 22 statistics that prove that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer in America today….
#1 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.
#2 In 2009, total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined in the United States.
#3 The only group that saw their household incomes increase in 2009 was those making $180,000 or more.
#4 According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010.
#5 In 2009, the median annual wage for a U.S. worker was just $26,261.
#6 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.
#7 In 2009, the 74 Americans that earned over 50 million dollars combined to bring in as much as the 19 million lowest paid Americans combined.
#8 According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
#9 Total student loan debt in the United States is climbing at a rate of approximately $2,853.88 per second.
#10 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008.
#11 In 1976, the top 1 percent of earners in the United States took in 8.9 percent of all income. By 2007, that number had risen to 23.5 percent.
#12 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.
#13 New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says that Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
#14 One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.
#15 The number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program passed the 41 million mark for the first time ever in June.
#16 The number of Americans in the food stamp program increased a staggering 55 percent from December 2007 to June 2010.
#17 Over 50 million Americans are on now Medicaid. That figure is up more than 17 percent since the beginning of the economic downturn.
#18 Only the top 5 percent of all U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
#19 According to one recent survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.
#20 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 economic downturn began.
#21 The number of Americans working part-time jobs “for economic reasons” is now the highest it has been in at least five decades.
#22 The bottom 40 percent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
This article was posted: Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 4:14 am