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Article: America's Shrinking Middle Class
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UofL07 Offline
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Article: America's Shrinking Middle Class
The Middle Class in America Is Radically Shrinking. Here Are the Stats to Prove it

From The Business Insider

Editor's note: Michael Snyder is editor of theeconomiccollapseblog.com

The 22 statistics detailed here prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence in America.

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer at a staggering rate. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a blinding pace.

So why are we witnessing such fundamental changes? Well, the globalism and "free trade" that our politicians and business leaders insisted would be so good for us have had some rather nasty side effects. It turns out that they didn't tell us that the "global economy" would mean that middle class American workers would eventually have to directly compete for jobs with people on the other side of the world where there is no minimum wage and very few regulations. The big global corporations have greatly benefited by exploiting third world labor pools over the last several decades, but middle class American workers have increasingly found things to be very tough.

Here are the statistics to prove it:

• 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
• 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
• 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
• 36 percent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything to retirement savings.
• A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
• 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
• Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
• Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
• For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
• In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
• As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
• The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
• Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
• In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
• The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America's corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
• In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
• More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
• or the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
• This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
• Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.
• Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
• The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

Giant Sucking Sound

The reality is that no matter how smart, how strong, how educated or how hard working American workers are, they just cannot compete with people who are desperate to put in 10 to 12 hour days at less than a dollar an hour on the other side of the world. After all, what corporation in their right mind is going to pay an American worker 10 times more (plus benefits) to do the same job? The world is fundamentally changing. Wealth and power are rapidly becoming concentrated at the top and the big global corporations are making massive amounts of money. Meanwhile, the American middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence as U.S. workers are slowly being merged into the new "global" labor pool.

What do most Americans have to offer in the marketplace other than their labor? Not much. The truth is that most Americans are absolutely dependent on someone else giving them a job. But today, U.S. workers are "less attractive" than ever. Compared to the rest of the world, American workers are extremely expensive, and the government keeps passing more rules and regulations seemingly on a monthly basis that makes it even more difficult to conduct business in the United States.

So corporations are moving operations out of the U.S. at breathtaking speed. Since the U.S. government does not penalize them for doing so, there really is no incentive for them to stay.

What has developed is a situation where the people at the top are doing quite well, while most Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to make it. There are now about six unemployed Americans for every new job opening in the United States, and the number of "chronically unemployed" is absolutely soaring. There simply are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.

Many of those who are able to get jobs are finding that they are making less money than they used to. In fact, an increasingly large percentage of Americans are working at low wage retail and service jobs.

But you can't raise a family on what you make flipping burgers at McDonald's or on what you bring in from greeting customers down at the local Wal-Mart.

The truth is that the middle class in America is dying -- and once it is gone it will be incredibly difficult to rebuild.
07-24-2010 10:54 AM
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bitcruncher Offline
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RE: Article: America's Shrinking Middle Class
You mean the Business Insider is just now figuring this out? I could have told them this long ago... 03-banghead
(This post was last modified: 07-24-2010 10:58 AM by bitcruncher.)
07-24-2010 10:58 AM
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chargeradio Offline
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RE: Article: America's Shrinking Middle Class
We need a global minimum wage that is at least in the same area code as the one here in the U.S.
12-30-2010 10:24 PM
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ClairtonPanther Offline
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RE: Article: America's Shrinking Middle Class
(12-30-2010 10:24 PM)chargeradio Wrote:  We need a global minimum wage that is at least in the same area code as the one here in the U.S.

How do you pull that off without creating a one world currency.
12-30-2010 10:58 PM
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bitcruncher Offline
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RE: Article: America's Shrinking Middle Class
(12-30-2010 10:58 PM)animus Wrote:  
(12-30-2010 10:24 PM)chargeradio Wrote:  We need a global minimum wage that is at least in the same area code as the one here in the U.S.
How do you pull that off without creating a one world currency.
Or a world government...
(This post was last modified: 12-30-2010 11:04 PM by bitcruncher.)
12-30-2010 11:04 PM
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ctkatz Offline
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RE: Article: America's Shrinking Middle Class
maybe have high taxes on everyone. including the middle class.

not kidding here. my reasoning:

the danes have a minimum wage equivalent of somewhere from $12-16 american. but they also have some pretty high taxes and take home a lot more. the way the logic goes, if taxes are high, then employees will demand higher wages to pay for all the cost of living expenses and taxes. once that is paid off you have all that leftover money to save or spend on other things.

but since it is political suicide to recommend the easiest and best solution (raise taxes. it doesn't even have to be on natural people. businesses are getting away without paying billions in taxes in this country and we are giving away tax credits for business to move jobs OUT OF THIS COUNTRY), the next best thing is to build things in this country again. encourage domestic growth by slapping duties on all things that this country can't make itself. that will automatically fire up domestic manufacturing and keeps american money in america.
01-01-2011 04:20 PM
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brista21 Online
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RE: Article: America's Shrinking Middle Class
Unfortunately the right will tell you its regulations and taxes that are driving jobs out of this country, but that's not true. And I don't think outright protectionism will get us anywhere either. Its going to be a combination of things that fix the problems and yes restoring a more progressive income tax regime will do wonders in the grand scheme of things. Its not punishing the rich its called they need to pay their fair share for the larger amount of services and infrastructure they benefit from. Its called creating a place again where a rising tide lifts all boats.
01-03-2011 10:44 PM
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knight_01 Offline
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RE: Article: America's Shrinking Middle Class
(01-03-2011 10:44 PM)brista21 Wrote:  Unfortunately the right will tell you its regulations and taxes that are driving jobs out of this country, but that's not true. And I don't think outright protectionism will get us anywhere either. Its going to be a combination of things that fix the problems and yes restoring a more progressive income tax regime will do wonders in the grand scheme of things. Its not punishing the rich its called they need to pay their fair share for the larger amount of services and infrastructure they benefit from. Its called creating a place again where a rising tide lifts all boats.

Yeah but you could argue so long as they pay an ad valorem tax rather than an excise or head count tax, that they are paying their fair share since it is proportional to what they earn and not a one size fits all flat fee.
01-06-2011 05:44 PM
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