Wednesday, May 26, 2010

And the rich keep on getting richer....

Never before in American history has so much wealth been concentrated in the hands of so few. For tens of millions of ordinary Americans, the American Dream has become the American Nightmare. Some statistics .

1) In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to 1 .

2) A USA Today analysis of government data has found that paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of 2010. During the same time period, government benefits (Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, food stamps, etc.) rose to a record high.

3) According to the United Nations, the United States now has the highest level of income inequality of all of the highly industrialized nations.

4) Four of the biggest banks in the United States (Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup) had a "perfect quarter" with zero days of trading losses during the first quarter of 2010.

5) According to economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, two-thirds of income increases in the United States between 2002 and 2007 went to the wealthiest 1% of all Americans.

6) 39.68 million Americans are now on food stamps, which represents a new all-time record. But things look like they are going to get even worse. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting that enrollment in the food stamp program will exceed 43 million Americans in 2011.

7) For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.

8) Over just one three day period, approximately 10,000 people showed up to apply for just 90 jobs making washing machines in Kentucky for $27,000 a year.

9) Younger generations of Americans are particularly struggling. For example, according to a National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey, only 58% of those in "Generation Y" pay their monthly bills on time.

10) Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.

11) Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008. Not only that, more Americans filed for bankruptcy in March 2010 than during any month since U.S. bankruptcy law was tightened in October 2005.

12) An analysis of income tax data by the Congressional Budget Office a couple years ago found that the top 1% wealthiest households in the United States now own nearly twice as much of the corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.

13) A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.

14) The bottom 40 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth. So what does that say about America when nearly half the people are dividing up just one percent of the pie?

The truth is that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Workers are working harder and harder for less and less. As long as we allow the rich to dominate, we will have to be content with the crumbs which fall to the floor.

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