Saturday, December 17, 2016

Poor in work...poor in retirement

Nearly 40 percent of low-income Californians lack consistent access to enough food — more than 4.1 million households. An estimated 645,000 low-income California seniors are food insecure.

The average pretax earnings of an American in the bottom 50 percent by income was $16,197 in 2014, a nearly invisible 2.6 percent gain over 40 years. Over the same period, the top 10 percent of Americans saw their pretax incomes grow by 231 percent. Even for the upper-middle-class group, which the authors define as adults with incomes between the bottom half and the top 10 percent of Americans, pretax incomes haven’t grown over the past 15 years. Only rising public spending on benefits like health care has allowed upper-middle-class incomes to grow.

Forty years ago, the top 1 percent of earners took home 10.5 percent of the total national income, and the bottom half earned 20 percent of it. By 2014, those percentages effectively flipped, with the top 1 percent earning a 20 percent share and the bottom half dropping to 12.5 percent.

While many Americans are facing poverty in their senior years a 100 CEOs can look forward to monthly retirement checks of over $250,000 for the rest of their lives. These 100 CEOs have retirement funds that total $4.7 billion. That's as much as the retirement savings of the 41 percent of U.S. families with the smallest nest eggs—that's 116 million people.  The report also notes that 37 percent of U.S. families have no retirement wealth at all. The retirement divide is even greater when accounting for race. The CEOs' combined retirement funds are equal to the retirement savings of 59 percent of African-American families and 75 percent of Latino families.

 "While slashing jobs and benefits for ordinary workers, CEOs of large companies have been feathering their own nests," stated Sarah Anderson, report co-author and director of The Institute for Policy Studies Global Economy Project. "This is not the result of executives working harder or investing more wisely. Instead, this gap is one more example of rule rigging in favor of the 1 percent." Pension rules allow CEOs to put unlimited funds into tax-deferred plans, the erosion of traditional pensions, and a tax code loophole that allows for so-called "performance-based" pay.

Topping the list is Progressive CEO Glenn M. Renwick, who can expect a monthly retirement check of $1,035,733. How does that compare with regular workers lucky enough to have 401(k) plans? With an average balance at the end of 2013 of $18,433, these workers can count on a monthly check of just over $100.

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