Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New but still the old poverty

In the American state of New Jersey it’s official. The rich do get richer while the poor do get poorer. Money continues to flow to the wealthy, making the gap between the rich and everyone else wider than at any time since the Great Depression of the 1920s.  According to the new study conducted by the Poverty Research Institute of Legal Services of New Jersey.

The distribution of income between 2000 and the end of 2009 was extremely one-sided, with more than three quarters of the income gains going to the wealthy in only 20 percent of the state’s households. An estimated 75,000 ( the top one percent of the population in New Jersey) live very comfortably with incomes of at least $570,000 made up more than a quarter of the gains.  On the other end of the spectrum, approximately 3 million people in the state made up 40 percent of households with salaries under $34,300 and witnessed their incomes take a beating during the recession.

"It was a decade when people with money made money and everybody else didn’t,” said Harvey Fisher, spokesman for Legal Services.

Nationally, the income gap mirrors what occurred in the Great Depression. Families with the top 10 percent of income drew 49.3 percent of all income in the United States in 1928. In 2007, it was 49.7 percent, according to research cited in the report.

 In New Zealand in a new report on income inequality the Council of Christian Social Services has reported Maori unemployment rose from 9.6 per cent in March 2009 to 14.6 per cent in March this year, while Pacific Island unemployment increased from nine per cent to 14 per cent. Between 2008 and 2011 European family median income increased by $NZ10 a week while the income of Maori families dropped $NZ40 and Pacific Island families dropped $NZ65. The latest rich list shows that collective wealth of the wealthiest New Zealanders rose by $7 billion, or 18%, in the last year. The average wage growth is forecasted to be only 3-4% for the foreseeable future, yet the rich listers' wealth is growing at a phenomenal rate of 18%. The 2011 OECD report Divided we stand showed that the income gap had grown faster in New Zealand than any other OECD country.

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