Monday, July 29, 2013
The Gulf of America
One of the greatest issues facing America is the increasing disparity between the rich and poor and the government's inability to save the Middle Class. Between 1947 and 1972, average hourly wages increased by 72%. Since then, the average hourly wage has increased by only 4%. There are more households living at or below the poverty line...some 47 million...since the Commerce Department started keeping records in 1959, and that's regardless of which party was in power. Meanwhile, the disparity between the well off and the working poor continues to widen. It was once part of the American Dream that a college education was considered a way up the economic ladder. No longer. The average 4 year graduate starts off with a debt of $32,500 with less job security than their parents. Since 1969, the top 1% saw their after tax income gains increase 155% while the middle 60% saw only a 37% increase. The next 19% fared better with a 58% increase and bottom 20% has an increase in the after tax income of 45%, Translated, it means the top 1% far out stripped the rest of America while everyone else pretty much balanced out, with less distinction between the Middle Class and the working poor. Welcome to the Gulf of America.
Wages for top CEOs have since an increase of 354% over that of the average employee (40 years ago it was only 20%). In Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, it's 147% while in Japan, it's 67%. Companies who had the deepest cutbacks in jobs also had the highest increase in executive compensation; 42% for S&P 500 companies. Overall profits have increased by 20%. Meanwhile, since 1990, the cost of living has gone up 67% and despite the Great Recession, productivity has increased amid all the closures and layoffs, meaning the average American worker is doing just what you thought...working more for less. It would seem to that this dramatic decline of real growth of wages, the Middle Class, and jobs also appears to coincide with the decline of union membership. Between 1983, when union membership was about 20% of the workforce. It's dropped to only 12% by 2007. As an aside, you may be interested to know that the pay for several of Labor's top leaderships, would also put them in that same top 1% category they so decry. Kettle meet pot.
There are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the US right now, perhaps more. Despite opposition by the majority of Americans, it appears likely that Congress (with its 14% approval rating) will pass some sort of amnesty deal. Interestingly, it's big business that's behind the push (which isn't surprising since they are behind most legislation). This support of amnesty isn't due to some sort of social conscientious, although their PR departments will tell you otherwise as will their surrogate mouthpieces, the media. The whole idea is simply the law of supply and demand. By flooding the job market with more eligible employees, and given the decreased amount of available jobs (thanks, in part, to the exportation of jobs), wages will drop as competition for employment increases. This will also drive down peripheral costs such as health and retirement benefits as well as safety and health standards. Those who complain can and will be quickly replaced.
There's also a little discussed side bonus for big business. America, for the first time in its history, is a minority nation. In the past, white Europeans were a solid majority with a small, mostly black minority. Now, Hispanics have not only replaced blacks but are near on par with whites while Asians are expected to supplant blacks in the near future for the third position. With basically a two-tier economic structure, the "have-nots" will be too busy fighting amongst themselves to focus their attention on the "haves". And so, they gulf between the rich and everyone else will increase as the working poor battle with each other over the few jobs and whatever scraps their "betters" thrown down their way. Government will continue to serve the needs of the corporate elites while expanding their role as the "overseer class". Welcome to the new feudalism.
Today, 81% of Americans do not trust their government and a whopping 50% believe the biggest domestic threat to Americans is the federal government. Although the media will be more than happy to tell you who to blame while trying to distract us with the "crisis-de-jour", the plain fact is that Americans know exactly who's to blame. Americans realize that that both political parties are to blame and the system is broke beyond repair. What they have yet to realize, however is what to do about it. Perhaps that's why the federal government is hell bent on expanding its surveillance capabilities and acquiring the apparatus of a police state.
A Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality
Union Leaders in Top 1%
Americans Express Historic Negativity toward Government