Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Facts reveal the truth

The top thousandth (the 0.1 percent, not just the 1 Percent) possesses more wealth than the bottom U.S. 90 percent and three absurdly rich U.S.-Americans – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett – possess more wealth between them than the bottom half of the country. There are 540 billionaires in the USA.

15 million children – 21% of all U.S. children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to be drastically below the minimally adequate family budgets families require to meet basic expenses.

Thanks to declining unionization (down to 6.5% of the private-sector workforce due to decades of relentless employer hostility), inadequate minimum wages, globalization, automation, and outsourcing. A third of the nation’s workers make less than $12 an hour ($24,960 a year assuming full-time work) and 42% get less than $15 ($31,200 a year). 

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently reported that a record 7 million U.S.-Americans are three months or more behind on their car payments. A car loan is typically the first payment people make because a vehicle is critical to getting to work, and someone can live in a car if all else fails. When car loan delinquencies rise, it is a sign of significant duress among low-income and working-class Americans.

Six corporations – Comcast, FOX, Disney, Viacom, CBS, and AT&T – together own more than half of traditional U.S. media content print, film and electronic. The Internet giants Google, Facebook, and Amazon rule online communication and shopping.

The U.S. Black-white wealth gap is stark: 8 Black median household cents on the white median household dollar. Equally glaring is the nation’s level of racial segregation.  In the Chicago, New York, Detroit, and Milwaukee metropolitan areas, for example more than three in every four Black people would have to (be allowed to) move from their nearly all-black Census tracts into whiter ones in order to live in a place whose racial composition matched that of the broader region in which they reside. 

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, fueled by the racially disparate waging of the so-called War on Drugs. The racial disparities are so extreme that 1 in very 10 U.S. Black men is in prison or jail on any given day. One in 3 Black adult males are saddled with the permanent crippling mark of a felony record – what law professor Michelle Alexander has famously called “the New Jim Crow.” Blacks make up 12% of the U.S. population but 38% of the nation’s state prison population.

Among full-time U.S. workers, women make 81 cents for every dollar a man is paid. The gap is worse in part-time employment since women more commonly work reduced schedules to handle domestic labor. Women ‘s median retirement savings are roughly one third of those of men. Households headed by single women with children have a poverty rate of 35.6 percent, more than double the 17.3 percent rate for households headed by single men with children. Women comprise just 27 percent of the nation’s top 10 income percent, 17 percent of the upper 1 percent, and 11 percent of the top 0.1 percent. By contrast, women make up nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of U.S. workers paid the federal minimum wage.

One in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives in the U.S.

The Native American poverty rate (28%) is double that of the nation as a whole and is particularly high in most of the commonly isolated and high-unemployment reservations where just more than a fifth of the nation’s Indigenous population lives. Native American life expectancy is 6 years short of the national average. In some states, Native American life expectancy is 20 years less than the national average. In Montana, Native American men live on average just 56 years.

 Fully 40,000 people died from shootings in the American “armed madhouse” in 2017 (we are still waiting for the grisly statistic for 2018). The U.S. was home to 322 mass shootings that killed 387 people and injured 1,227 in 2018. Twenty-eight mass shootings, killing 36 and wounding 92, took place in January of this year. 

 More than 30 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level.

The nation’s expensive but very unequally funded schools deliver terrible outcomes. Among the world’s 34 ranking OECD nations, U.S. schools are the fifth most expensive, but the U.S. ranks scores far below average in math.  It ranks 17th among in reading and 21st in science.

The United States’ corporate-owned/-managed for-profit health care system is the most expensive in the world but ranks just 12th in life expectancy among the 12 wealthiest industrialized countries. The U.S. spends almost three times more on healthcare as do other countries with comparable incomes. Reflecting poor, commercialized and corporate-imposed food systems and lethally sedentary life styles, 58 percent of the U.S. population is overweight, a major health risk factor.

The US has the third highest rates of depression and anxiety and the second highest rate of drug use in the world. “One in five adults in the U.S. experiences some form of mental illness each year,” according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. That estimate is certainly absurdly low.

“Every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children. The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect…A report of child abuse is made very ten seconds.”

Undocumented immigrants make up 55% of hired labor on farms, 15% of laborers in construction, and 9% in both industry and the service sector. “These workers,” CBS reported earlier this year, “play vital roles in the U.S. economy, erecting American buildings, picking American apples and grapes, and taking care of American babies. Oh, and paying American taxes.”  Their technically illegal status makes them easily exploited by employers and undermines their ability to organize and fight for decent conditions both for themselves for other workers.

 Eight hundred thousand people living in the U.S. were brought to the country as children by parents without U.S. citizenship.  These “Dreamers’” legal status is stuck in limbo.  They are not allowed to vote. They live in the shadow of possible future deportation.

The United States gives 54 percent of its federal discretionary to the Pentagon System, a giant subsidy to high-tech “defense” (war and empire) corporations like Raytheon and Boeing. Six million U.S, children live in “deep poverty,” at less than half (!) the federal government’s obscenely inadequate poverty level, while the U.S, government maintains 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories around the world (Britain, France, and Russia together have a combined 30 foreign bases) and accounts for nearly 40 percent of all global military spending


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