Since the late 1990s, average incomes have declined 2.5% for families on the bottom fifth of the country's economic ladder, while incomes have increased 9.1% for families on the top fifth.
The result is that the average incomes of the top 5% of families are 12 times the average incomes of the bottom 20%. This is part of a report drawn from U.S. Census Bureau data collected from 1987 through 2006 and is one of the few to record income inequality on a state-by-state basis. The statistics show an ever increasing gap growing between the rich and poor and no ground being made up.
By failing to halt the middle-class shrinkage, the argument goes, the U.S. could allow itself to become a two-tiered society of rich and poor. Declares M.I.T. Economics Professor Lester Thurow: "Wherever one looks, one now finds rising inequality."
Can the American dream be less of a reality than ever before?
Yes. And if you looked only at that top 5%, I'd be willing to bet that inside that sample, the discrepancy is greater by far. In other words, most of that top 5% could be described as 'comfortably placed', while a small elite effectively own and control everything.
The situation in Europe is going the same way, though not quite as bad yet.
What is needed is for that 95% to understand the reality your figures describe, and to stop rehearsing the old left-right battles among themselves. Nothing can come of that. It's the screwed fighting the screwed, while the screw-drivers laugh at the circus. We're all in this together.
The American Dream is just that a dream. It is bought with your soul and the club is closed.
No. The rich are understanding more and more why they are successful and the poor are doing less to understand why they are unsuccessful in life.
Social programs need to quit giving away resources to the poor but instead give them the tools to understand WHY they are stuck in their unsuccessful mentality. They need to get out of the habit of expecting handouts and realize their self-destructive ways.
Otherwise, the poor will keep doing less to overcome their obstacle and expect everyone else to bail them out.
With the understanding that the rich have aquired have they not bought off politicians for no bid contracts? Have they not formed alliances to squash competition. Blocked legislation to line their pockets? If you call that understanding what do you call greedy corruption?
How much do you think we pay to bail out the poor? I know we paid almost a trillion dollars to bail out the very rich. How much is that in comparison.
You are talking about less than 1% of the rich. To blatantly say that all rich people got bailouts and are corrupt, you are way wrong.
And you can't include corporations as "the rich."
Rich people work or have worked 60 hour weeks to get their wealth. They earned it.
Poor people keep being poor because they don't change the way they think. It's not entirely their fault as our high schools and colleges never teach anyone how to manage their money and invest. Our schools don't teach people HOW to be wealthy.
You say potato I say broccoli. Takes all sorts.
I see you drank the Koolaide. Tasty, was it?
So, no one is born into wealth? Poor people never work 60 hour weeks and get nowhere doing it? Rilly?
In which universe does this occur???
I have had some time to think about all this, having been brought up poor and now am (at least living and associating) among some of the rich (while still being very middle class). By rich I mean those able to afford multi-million dollar houses - and sometimes several of them - I imagine that's as good a definition as any.
Absolutely there are people who are born into wealth...their children are also then born into an assumed privilege - the privilege that they will get the proper education (or fasimile of) they need to propagate their lifestyle. And yeah, of course "the masses" are not taught how to manage their finances or obtain wealth. This goes for professionals, too. (When I was in grad school I learned to paint and to write, that's pretty much it...they even guard the money making aspects of those areas.)
I really think "being rich" has little to do with "working 60 hours" or whatever. Sure. That's what they would have you think. That is not to say that those in the professions (doctors, architects, others) don't work those hours. They absolutely do. As do some entrepreneurs.... But it is getting harder and harder for these younger, 'upper' middle class types to tread water...get their heads above water (student loans, anyone? Those have created a subclass of their own).
Another thing is, all the wealthy I have encountered here have accumulated their wealth through investing and understanding everything financial...and also 'cheapening' how they pay (haha) frankly, my bf. If they do it with architectural services, I imagine they do it with other things. It's really like an alternative little universe, I find. They love the dinners, and the entertaining you (or are you entertaining them?), then they CHOOSE a date to pay you...not necessarily the due date.
The women of this class I find, uh, a little abhorrent. Horrible of me, I know, but true. Most fill a very traditional role. Which is fine...I guess. But they are all a little (too) attached to their spiral staircases, furs, and diamonds. But that's not bad - I've seen some really scary things, too. Like old duffers hooked with 'hot' (lol) younger babes as mistresses they present as 'wives' socially in the area of their second home...and I'm sorry, but its just hard to take that seriously, or even to look at it. Let's put it this way: I have very little in common with them...but hey, brunch was an experience.
This is not to say I have not met some good, smart rich people while here in AZ, which seems to attract them (the snow bird factor). Ironically, most are from the midwest (probably anecdotal...or maybe I have an affinity with them). But hell, no, not all the rich "worked" for it.
These are so much cliches.
Btw, the builders (names have been changed to protect the innocent..ie, I don't know nothin') love to hire those Mexicans because the work like hell, save and/or send all their money home, don't mind abuse (yeah, sometimes), and always show up on time, undrugged up - unlike some of the white guys.
If you want to deal in absolutes your response should be one way or another. You can't have it both ways.
No not all rich people are corrupt and not all poor people are getting handouts. Does that nulify the argument? Hardly. Have all rich people worked 60 hours a week to get their wealth and are there poor people working 60 hours a week and still poor? Certainly. So this is a wash too. Are there poor people running wall street and did we bail them out? Yes. What did we do for the poor if you wish to make this ridiculous argument?
Did education keep the low interest home buyers from losing their homes? No. What did education do to help that?
Your argument that there is a simple solution or that there is an absolute way of dealing with the issue is ludicrous.
The fact remains that those in power by way of their money are hardly willing to give an even chance to the "have nots". It isn't a matter of wealth as it is the power that comes from money. The thirst for that kind of power comes from greed. Yes the top 1% hold most of the wealth and we the remaining 95% are trying to make it through the world they control.
I think there is some truth to what you're saying, Tim, but not entirely. The ultra rich, in all their benevolence, don't want us to live in dire poverty. It makes them look very inhumane. But they certainly don't want everyone to be well-off, either. Otherwise the power shift would be extremely detrimental to them.
I've never been rich, but I have been very influential with some of the ultra-rich. They always have a pretty "nice" world view, but they truly are elitists, most of the time. Yes, the newly rich have earned their money with hard work, but most of the power comes from old money that is robbing people and corporation such as you and I.
I don't think a French Revolution in American politics and economy are that far away. It's a matter of time before money is truly worthless and we have a period of revolution. I think the future is about recovering some from this economic meltdown, only to hasten on more greed from the ultra rich, and then a meltdown like we've never before experienced. I don't know that it will happen, but from what I see, it is a possibility.
History shows a lot of examples of societies that were destroyed because of class warfare. The battle between the have's and have not's is encouraged by the government. They take both sides, one for money, the other for votes. The only real winners in a class struggle are the elite within the government.
It's not an accident either. Look at some of the financial policies that are shoved forward. They're not stupid in Washington, they know exactly how economics works.
Wide income disparity could lead to lack of faith in and support for our democratic form of government. There already signs of growing disillusionment among the electorate. Our tax system is unfair and full of loopholes.
Democracy at work, the majority wins! The most money decides who will lead the money.
Yup, you're either rich or poor now a day's! The so called "middle class" is a thing of the past!!
No suprises why welfare is so popular. There is enough wealth in the top 1% to pay the rest of us pittance for nothing. If I had to work for minumum wage the rest of my life I'd probably steal cars for a living. No moral conundrum as I see it.
not necessarily true. I know plenty of people considered middle class, it's just the brackets are becoming more pronounced, certainly harder to reach middle class, but not a thing of the past.
many adults now grew up having everything handed to them so they expect the same now, that everything should come easily. it doesn't. the greatest gift you can give a young person is to teach them how to work and think, how to solve problems and use their minds.
I came on here today to see if I could find any indication of why, with our knowledge and technology, so much of the world is still living in overwhelming poverty (if it's true that it is). Reading this leads right back to seeing it as the result of corruption. I was hoping to find some organizational or geographical problem but looks like it's all back to lack of human unity for a better world.
paraglider, It's the screwed fighting the screwed, while the screw-drivers laugh at the circus.
Very funny line, I love this!
hi all! I think that this is not only happening in an isolated case, it is happening worldwide, the rich also continue to become richer and the poor poorer, the world resourcse according to research is owned by 1 percent of the population. wealth distribution is the main issue in the 21st century
And when you figure it at the world scale (we live in a planet)
you find out that it is worse.
And this state of things will be regulated on way or another.
It would be dreadful if it was regulated in the "bad" way...
It's just that there are so many organizations, groups, and individuals that donate and volunteer to help but there doesn't seem to be a dent being made. Aren't there some whole areas of the world whose situation is better now after being focused on for help? Or did all the knowledge and supplies get preempted by the power wielding tyrants before the needy could avail themselves of it?
Unfortunetly, I don't think there is enough resources to make that dent. Even in affluent nations, the poorest people statistically produce more offspring, it is a survival mechanism. So the equation is multiplied to the point of say India where 30 years ago there were 700 odd million and I think now over a billion? How can an economy support that growth? The pirates in Somalia is another example.
Some results of studies or surveys don't seem to match what we see in "real life", but this one sure does. Anyone who lives among the middle-class can see the increasing challenges, whether that's being taxed and "living expensed" from "upper middle class" down to "regular middle class"; or having living expenses such that "regular middle class" gets pushed down to "barely middle class".
The very wealthy either never knew what it's like to work one's way to "very wealthy", weren't faced with insurmountable challenges (so don't know what they can be), or forget what it was like after a while. So, a lot of the people "in charge" and in power don't have a clue about how the middle class struggles. Low-income people can't do much for anyone (other than vote). That leaves a diminishing middle class that sees and feels what's happening with little power (other than voting) to change things, increasing demands on tax dollars because of increasing numbers of low-income people, and the knowledge that they need to make "big, big, bucks" and become very wealthy if they ever hope to not have to struggle. Some manage to accomplish that. Some just keep finding that staying middle class is harder than ever.
I am not an anarchist, nor a terrorist but I do not have much sympathy for politics. In all of history, real change is a direct result of action, not voting action. Action. Like government go to war, sending citizens out to die, real change of living standards will only change when people fight with war. No amount of complaints, lobby, protest or academics will change the incestous rape of citizens by their dictators (not representative!). It is called civil war and it will come eventually.
I was just thinking about my little disclaimer 'i am not an anarchist, nor a terrorist.' I guess I wrote that because sometimes we are burdened by that mentality. Be critical but not too critical? Anyway, that is how I see it. I really do think that something needs to give. Not only in the US but all across the world. Something big will happen.
Maybe I'm ancient, but -
In the 60's when the statistic '7% of the people of this country (UK) own 84% of the wealth', we were so outraged that we set up the seven-eightyfour theatre company to spread awareness that extreme capitalism was taking over the economy. In those days, we were activists. Now, 50 years on, the elitists have 'leveraged' their position from 7:84 to something like 1:99. And we don't care? We fight each other? Why - because they have controlled the media. They tell our rightists to blame our leftists, and vice versa. And they laugh at our stupidity for acquiescing to their control.
It's time we got our act together. for the sake of the next generation. We're already a lost cause, but let's not pass it on.
american dream is always there, it will never die,,,,,if you only know what the situations in other countries are you will say I am proud and happy to be here in this country, at times we must take what JFK said" ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can .....for your country.....
Maita - I know where you are coming from, but the American dream is now a dream. It used to be a reality. Look at the bigger picture - whether or not 'we' wanted globalisation, we've got it. The controllers don't care about countries or people. They only want suck up all the money. They are too cunning to stop and too stupid to realise that when they have it all, they can't eat it. You're clever. You remember King Midas. Yes?
hi Dave! yes, he is greedy, Maybe I am just looking at it from a personal point of view, not on the overall picture. It is just my contention that when a government fails to adhere to even the basic rigths, it is time for you to take it on yourself, great american dream in the sense that collective effort among the citizens can always have impact on the overall. Structures are very difficult to confront, you just become a dreamer when you do confront it!
Freedom is a choice not a concept of a nation-state. That was a bit unclear what I just said I guess. What I mean is that people are not more or less free because of where we live. I am not denying the benefits of living in one place over another but living amongst affluence are so called free people imprisoned by apathy.
Mr/s Bovine - I've been reading you for a week or two now without quite understanding where your roots are. I'd say freedom is there for the taking if you can learn to laugh at those who would sell you what you don't need, whether that is cheap imported rubbish or expensive 'designer' rubbish.
Someone once said that the well-educated person can sit in an empty room for hours and be perfectly content with his/her thoughts.
My roots? What would you like to know? Ask me.
Re: freedom, I am refering to the existential concept. The prisoner behind bars can be free. The educated child of privilige might self harm and commit suicide. yes? What you said about the educated person is similar.
His hands are tied behind his back,
his ankles bound with chains,
his bed an old potato sack.
Don't ask about the drains.
The window, small and high and barred.
He drags his carcass to it
and in a voice more cracked than hard
croaks raw defiance through it -
We wis never meant tae be
slaves o mercat traders.
Chuck the beggars in the sea
wearin concrete waders.
Tighten the knots behind his back!
Another ball and chain!
Stop his mouth with wads of sack
and let him shout in vain!
No hope of rescue or escape,
but the walls are rank with grime
so with his nose he'll boldly scrape
his words a second time -
We wis never meant tae be . . . &c
Punish him! Test him on the rack!
Break his wild spirit down!
Trussed like a turkey in a sack,
parade him through the town!
How can he bring his men good cheer
for all the support they showed
if gagged and crippled? Loud and clear
he pharts in brave morse code -
We wis never meant tae be _ _ .. _._ _ .._ _ ._ ..
i put a hub up for you para, you inspired me. i havent put up a new one for a week now so, there it is.
Maita - I love your enthusiasm and positivity. I could almost wish you were truly American (!) The Americans need an injection of Filipino 'can do', because they've lost all their own, (Or so it seems).
Dave, It is a personal battle and for me, and I am always positive, thanks for that too!
no, not all, just the ones who whine the loudest!
the rest of us are too busy living life!
It is certainly a possibility. But more probable is a misguided mayhem among the 95% turning on each other. Because that is what the elite can countenance with equanimity. That is why they encourage people to fight the old battles over and over again. Divide and rule.
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