Thursday, May 2, 2013

Debtors Prisons Are Punishing the Poor Across America

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22 Facts That Prove That The Bottom 90 Percent Of America Is Systematically Getting Poorer

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The mainstream media is not telling you this, but the truth is that most Americans are steadily getting poorer.  The middle class is being absolutely eviscerated, and poverty is soaringto unprecedented heights.  The fact that 90 percent of the population is constantly sliding downhill is not good for our society.  The United States is supposed to be a land of opportunity with a vibrant free market system that enables average people to make better lives for themselves.  Unfortunately, free enterprise is being strangled to death in the United States today.  Entrepreneurs and small business are being pounded into oblivion by rules, regulations, red tape and oppressive levels of taxation.  At the same time, millions of jobs have been shipped out of the United States by corporate giants and sent to countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.  All of this has happened under both Democrats and Republicans.  Meanwhile, wealth and power continue to become even more heavily concentrated in the hands of big government and big corporations.  Our founding fathers warned that we should not allow such large concentrations of wealth and power, because they tend to funnel the rewards of society into the hands of a select few.  We need to change the rules of the game so that entrepreneurs, small businesses and average workers can thrive in this country once again.  If big government and big corporations continue to gobble up even more wealth and power, the wealth inequality that we see right now will only get even worse.

The following are 22 facts that prove that the bottom 90 percent of America is systematically getting poorer...

#1 According to the Pew Research Center, the top 7 percent of all U.S. households own 63 percent of all the wealth in the country.

#2 Between 2009 and 2011, the wealth of the bottom 93 percent of all Americans declined by 4 percent, while the wealth of the top 7 percent of all Americans increased by 28 percent.

#3 On average, households in the top 7 percent have 24 times as much wealth as households in the bottom 93 percent.

#4 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#5 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wealthiest one percent of all American households have 288 times the amount of wealth that the average middle class American family does on average.

#6 According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

#7 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.

#8 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.

#9 In the United States today, corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high, but wages as a percentage of GDP are at anall-time low.

#10 In 1980, CEOs at S&P 500 companies made 42 times as much as their employees did on average.  Today, CEOs at S&P 500 companies make 354 times as much as their employees do on average.  In fact, there are many CEOs that make more than 1000 times what the average employees in their companies make.

#11 According to a report recently issued by the Pew Research Center, Americans over the age of 65 have 47 times as much wealth as Americans under the age of 35 on average.

#12 U.S. families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

#13 Back in 2007, about 28 percent of all working families were considered to be among "the working poor".  Today, that number is up to 32 percent even though our politicians tell us that the economy is supposedly recovering.

#14 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

#15 Today, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

#16 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

#17 As I mentioned yesterday, the homeownership rate in America is now at its lowest level in nearly 18 years.

#18 The United States now ranks 93rd in the world in income inequality.

#19 Approximately one out of every five households in the United States is now on food stamps.

#20 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.

#21 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either "poor" or "low income".

#22 At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

Even if your income just stays the same, you are still getting poorer because inflation is a tax that is constantly chipping away at the value of every single dollar that you own.  The cost of everything that we buy on a regular basis (food, gas, health insurance, etc.) is constantly going up, and if your income is not keeping pace that means that you are getting poorer.

That is just one reason why the Federal Reserve system is so insidious.  They are killing the middle class with inflation.  For much more on the Federal Reserve and why it should be abolished, please see this article: "10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve".

So if most Americans are getting poorer, then why aren't our politicians doing something to fix it?

Well, the sad truth of the matter is that the big corporations fund the campaigns of our corrupt politicians.  They know that the candidate that raises the most money almost always wins, and so it provides an incentive for our politicians to be very good to those that have the money.

Plus, many of our politicians are way too busy having a good time to be bothered with doing anything for us.  Take Barack Obama for example.  According to The Telegraph, Barack Obama has spent twice as much time playing golf and vacationing as he has on attending economic meetings...

In an analysis of the presidential diary and newspaper reports, the Government Accountability Institute found that Mr Obama has spent 976 hours since his January 2009 election on holiday and playing golf.

In contrast, he has only spent 474.4 hours in economic meetings.

"As a government watchdog group, we just tabulate the numbers and let others decide how to interpret them," said Peter Schweizer, president of GAI, which compiled the report.

But this is a problem that is not going away.  The bottom 90 percent of the country is systematically getting poorer, and if this continues it will inevitably result in massive social problems.  The video posted belowdoes a great job of graphically illustrating the crisis that we are facing..

WORKERS OF THE WORLD: These 3 Charts Show How You're Getting Totally Shafted

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It's May Day.
In America, to the extent anyone notices May Day, they notice the sunshine and spring weather.
Elsewhere in the world, however, May Day is all about celebrating the cause (and grievances) of the world's employees.
And because most people in the world are (or want to be) employees, May Day is something a lot of folks can relate to.
And, boy, do the world's employees have something to be annoyed about this year!
In case you don't immediately know what that is, here are three charts for you. They're based on America's economy, but it's the same story in a lot of countries around the world.
1) Corporate profit margins just hit another all-time high. Companies are making more per dollar of sales than they ever have before. If you're a shareholder, that seems like good news (in the very short term, anyway). Alas, most people aren't shareholders. And for folks whose investment horizon is longer than "this quarter" and "this year," it's actually bad news. Companies are under-investing in their employees and the future.

2
) Wages as a percent of the economy just hit another all-time low. One reason companies are making so much money is that they're paying employees less than they ever have as a share of GDP. That's bad news for everyone, by the way, not just employees. Low employee wages are one reason the economy is so weak: Those "wages" represent spending power for consumers. And consumer spending is "revenue" for other companies. So the short-term corporate profit obsession is actually starving the rest of the economy of revenue growth.

3) Fewer Americans are working than at any time in the past three decades. The other reason corporations are so profitable is that they don't employ as many Americans as they used to. As a result, the employment-to-population ratio has collapsed. We're back at 1980s levels now.

 
In short, our current obsessed-with-profits philosophy is creating a country of a few million overlords (shareholders) and 300+ million serfs (employees).
It is also resulting in employees sharing less of the corporate wealth that they spend their lives creating than they ever have before.
That's not what has made America a great country. It's also not what most people think America or other lands of opportunity are supposed to be about.
So we might want to rethink that.
Specifically, we might want to have the goal of our corporations be to create long-term value for all of their constituencies (customers, employees, and shareholders), not just short-term profit for their shareholders.