Reasons For Outrage
- Lost Capacity For Outrage
January 14th, 2012
Americans seem to be seething, but they go home and turn on the tube and vegetate. Some people are waking up, as Bill Moyers says "Inequality matters." The social contract of the wealthy paying their share to allow the rest of America prosper, has been lost in a world in which the system is rigged now to give the superrich an extreme benefit and the rest of us barely enough to get by.
According to the authors of `Winner Takes All Politics," the laws have been rewritten to benefit the wealthy to the extent that now there is almost no effective lobby for the middle class left in America. They claim that this is no longer a Middle Class nation.
This should not be news for anyone who has studied capitalism from a Marxist perspective. This is what capitalism does best, concentrate wealth into the fewest number of hands. Extracting value out of a property-less working class, or one that has maybe a mortgage on a house that they could lose with ease if they became unemployed. Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, with an illusion of affluence due to cheap third world labor producing goods for an American market that is increasingly unable to afford more than the least expensive basics.
Where would we be without our Walmarts and cheap Mexican labor cleaning our lawns and working in our fast food restaurants? I try to avoid Walmart because I don't want to support the race to the bottom, but even I go there sometimes, when my girlfriend drags me there.
Medical spreading of risk has moved to increasingly making the patients pay more out of pocket as insurance companies move to become profit centers rather than any kind of public service. Who makes all this profit? Investors, and who are the investors, people with money, a few pension plans, and less and less the average person.
Who are the major investors in the American economy? I googled that question and got nothing. I wonder if there is any statistics that are kept that would tell me what percentage is pensions, what percentage is the superrich and the rest of us. There is a site I found "My Budget 360″ that has a pretty good picture of the wealth in the country and how it is divided. As of their 2007 figures the top 1% have some 42% of financial wealth, the next 4% have 27%, making the top 5% holding 69% of financial wealth. The next 5% hold 11% of wealth, meaning that the top 10% hold 80% of wealth. The next 10% hold 12% of wealth and the remaining 80% hold 7%.
According to these figures 70% of Americans live from their paycheck and the majority of the rest live on some form of pension, disability, Social Security with some percentage of that 30% living on dividends, investments and such. How many?
"Eighty-seven percent of upper-income Americans those making $75,000 or more annually own stocks, as do 83% of postgraduates and 73% of college graduates. Sixty-four percent of Republicans hold stocks, compared with half of Democrats and independents. Men are more likely than women to be stock owners. Those aged 50 to 64 are the most likely of any age group to say they have money invested in the stock market."
This article lists the ways that the Middle Class is disappearing in the USA. as of July 15, 2010. The facts are that it is a rapid process of wealth being drained at an alarming rate. This has been going on for at least the last 30 years and has been at an increased rate over the last decade.
"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."
From the New York Times
The Pedestrian rich. People who may have a million in net worth but, in todays world, that is peanuts, still, it is a small minority of Americans. "Four percent, or 4.6 million U.S. households, had net assets of at least $1 million" according to an ABC article (see below the NYTimes article).
So have Americans lost their capacity for outrage? I think they have been hit so hard with a sucker punch that they simply haven't recovered their breath yet. Let's hope the wrath of America leads to the overthrow of the rule of capital.