Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Poverty Of The Nation

(Updated 120913)

Poverty Rate Remains Unchanged, today's headlines announced.

What the headlines don't say is that incomes for the lower 80 percent dropped again. 

Average income for the Working Class, people who work for wages, which includes what they call the Middle Class, peaked in 1978 and is now 9 percent lower than that, according to the Census Bureau. 

This is not related to the recession. Remember, the recession is over. The economy is expanding slowly. Incomes should be rising slowly, too.

This is about the redistribution of wealth upwards. Top income earners saw a five percent increase in income. Their incomes are rising faster than the economy is expanding, which means that their gains came in part from the hides of the workers, via such things as lower pay and reduced benefits.

The poverty rate remains at a disgraceful 15 percent in the world's richest nation. Remember, too, that the official US poverty rate of $23,021 for a family of four is set much lower than poverty rates in other "developed" countries. If you're hurting here, you're hurting.

Incidentally, at the bottom of the poverty rate rankings is New Mexico, with 22 percent of the population below the poverty line, a fact that is entirely absent from the political discourse in the state. Just as it is absent from public discourse in the nation at large. The two major political parties control access to the ballet and determine what topics are discussed.

It's really no surprise that the declining living standard of the Working Class is absent from the discussion, since Democrats and Republicans have cooperated in implementing the Neoliberal economic model -- in plain English "trickle down," or Reaganomics -- that the US has operated under the for past 30 years. 

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