Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Rich Are Getting Much Richer . . . But It's a Secret

It's not really a secret. But you would think it was. The facts of the matter are perfectly plain and easy to discover. But as I've noted before, the facts don't matter. For all kinds of reasons, the huge, huge majority of the American people, let's say about 95 percent of the populace who are not rich and never will be, refuse to believe that they are being snookered and hornswoggled into believing that anybody in this country can be rich. Well, brothers and sisters, that's mythical. It's simply not so. The one or two examples of modern day Horatio Algers don't prove anything, except maybe how utterly gullible the American people are when it comes to embracing national myths.

And what's happened over the past few decades is that that same vast majority exists solely for the purpose of making the very richest people in this country even more rich. Want some facts? Well, there is a ton of them, all documented, in this article. I'm going to share just a few of them with you:
  • The US now has the highest number of poor people in 51 years. Official poverty rate is 14.3 percent (46.3 million people). That's one in five children, one in ten senior citizens.
  • Fifty million people in the US don't have health insurance.
  • About 3.5 million people and over a million of them children are homeless at some point.
  • 49 million people in this country live in households which eat only because they receive food stamps, goto food pantries or soup kitchens for help. Sixteen million are so poor they have skipped meals at some point last year.
  • One or two generations ago, middle class families could live on one income. No more. Adjusted for inflation they have lost ground. Cost of housing, education, healthcare have all increased at a much higher rate than wages and salaries.
  • 2.8 million homes were foreclosed in 2009; it will be over 3 million for 2010.
  • Eleven million homeowners (about one in four houses) are "under water" on their mortgage.
  • The wealth of the richest 400 people in the US grew by 8 percent in the last year- last year, at the height of the recession everybody else is experiencing--to $1.37 trillion.
  • Of the top ten hedge fund managers in 2009, the tenth one on the list made $825 million. The top guy made $4 billion.
  • From 1979-2006 the richest one percent better than doubled their share of the total US income pie: from 10 percent to 23 percent. The average income for these people is $1.3 million. For the last 25 years, over 90 percent of the total growth in income in the US went to the top 10 percent. That left 10 percent of the increase in income to be shared by the bottom 90 percent.
  • Since 1992, the average tax rate on the richest 400 taxpayers in the US dropped from 26.8 percent to 16.62 percent.
  • The US has the greatest income inequality between rich and poor among all the Western industrialized countries and it's been getting worse for 40 years. 
And we have just installed a whole bunch of politicians in Congress who want to make the rich people even richer yet. It's unbelievable. 
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