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Not everyone has been doing badly during the economic turmoil of the last few years. In fact, there are some Americans that are doing really, really well. While the vast majority of us struggle, there is one small segment of society that is seemingly doing better than ever. This was reflected in a recent article on CNBC in which it was noted that companies that cater to average Americans are doing rather poorly right now while companies that market luxury goods and services are generally performing exceptionally well. So why aren't all American consumers jumping on the spending bandwagon? Well, it seems that there are a large number of Americans who either can't spend a lot of money right now or who are very hesitant to. A stunningly high number of Americans are still unemployed, and for many other Americans, there is a very real fear that hard economic times will return soon. On the other hand, there is a significant percentage of Americans who are blowing money on luxury goods and services as if the economy has fully turned around and it is time to let the good times roll. So exactly what in the world is going on here?
The Rich Are Getting Richer
1 - As of 2007, the top 1 percent of all Americans was taking home 24 percent of the national income. This was a level that had not been seen since the days of the Great Depression.
2 - Incomes have been growing in the United States, but those at the very top of the pyramid have been gobbling up almost all of the income growth. According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
3 - Even official government figures bear out the fact that the rich are getting richer. An analysis of income-tax data by the Congressional Budget Office a few years ago found that the top 1% of all American households own nearly twice as much of the corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
4- Most Americans have suffered during the last few years, but not the boys and girls down on Wall Street. New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says that Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
5 - Even as the number of Americans living in poverty skyrockets, the number of millionaires just keeps growing. In fact, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million during 2009.
6 - The amount of money some of these Wall Street hotshots are making is incredible. Back in 2005, the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of 9 billion dollars. That would be bad enough, but even in these hard economic times the rich just keep getting richer. One year after the recent financial collapse the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of approximately $25 billion. That breaks down to an average of $1 billion each. The truth is that the United States has been experiencing uneven prosperity for quite some time and things just seem to get worse with each passing year.
7 - Government anti-poverty programs are exploding in size in response to the recent economic difficulties. USA Today is reporting that a record one in six Americans are now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program.
8 - Over 50 million Americans are on now Medicaid. That figure is up more than 17 percent since the beginning of the recession.
9 - The number of Americans in the food stamp program rose to a new all-time record of 40.8 million in May. That number is up almost 50 percent since the beginning of the recession.
10 - The number of Americans who cannot afford even the basic necessities is absolutely staggering. A whopping 50 million Americans could not afford to buy enough food in order to stay healthy at some point over the last year.
11 - Compared to other industrialized nations, the United States is doing very poorly. The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
12 - The saddest part of this is what we are doing to our children. According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010.
13 - But the American people cannot provide for their families if they don't have jobs. Today there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone. In 2010, it takes the average unemployed American worker over 8 months to find a job.
14 - Approximately 10 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment insurance, which is a number that is nearly four times higher than what it was at back in 2007.
15 - The truth is that we are creating a permanent underclass of Americans that cannot get jobs. The number of Americans receiving long-term unemployment benefits has increased over 60 percent in just the past year.
Originally posted by soficrow
reply to post by highlyoriginal
I tracked a few of the article's sources/references. 'Tis an accurate -and truly gloomy- picture.
The reality is that incomes have just not kept up with housing costs. This has put an incredible amount of pressure on the middle class. Just how much pressure? Well, only the top 5 percent of all U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
Originally posted by CitizenNum287119327
Being successful is one thing, being greedy and not giving a thought to your fellow man is quite another.
Thus does a species survive. Not by survival of the fittest individual, but through the altruistic service of a few adapted individuals.