30 Statistics That Prove The Elite Are Getting Richer, The Poor Are Getting Poorer And The Middle Class Is Being Destroyed

Abandoned House

Photo: Roger Blackwell via Flickr

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?

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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?

Well, in 2010 life is very, very different depending on whether you are a “have” or a “have not”.  The recent article on CNBC referenced above described it this way….

Consumer spending in the U.S. has turned into a tale of two cities in 2010, with an entire segment of consumers splurging confidently on the finer things in life, while another segment, concerned about unemployment and with little or no discretionary income, spends only on bare necessities.

So why is this happening?

It is happening because the rich are getting richer and they have plenty of money to buy stuff and the poor are getting poorer and have less money to spend than ever.

In case you haven’t been paying attention over the past couple of decades, what we have in America today is a system that is designed to funnel as much wealth into the hands of the elite as possible.

This isn’t capitalism that we have in America in 2010.  Instead, what we have created is a system where the laws are set up so that the power elite and their big, dominant corporations always win. 

Why do you think so many of America’s largest corporations pay so little in taxes? 

Why do you think so many of them are showered with government subsidies, tax breaks and bailouts?

It’s not about competition anymore.

It’s about rigging the game in your favour.

The power elite and the giant corporations they control spend millions and millions on lobbying and campaign contributions and they expect a big return on that investment.

Let’s take a look at one example.  Many people think that Barack Obama and the Democrats are supposed to be anti-business, right?

Well then why are some of Barack Obama’s biggest donors the very same corporations that are receiving giant bailouts, making record profits and paying their employees billions in bonuses?

Goldman Sachs was Barack Obama’s second biggest donor.  Microsoft was number four.  Citigroup was number six.  JPMorgan Chase was number seven.  Time Warner was number eight.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Every single year, the U.S. Congress passes law after law after law that makes it easier for big corporations to dominate and makes it easier for the rich to get even richer.

America’s economy is not about competition anymore.

It is about eliminating competition.

And unfortunately for middle class Americans, the giant predator corporations that now dominate our economy are realising that they don’t really need nearly as many American workers anymore.

Instead, they are slowly but surely shipping our jobs off to the other side of the world where workers are willing to work for about a tenth as much.

And yet we still run out to the “big box” stores and fill up our carts with a bunch of plastic crap made on the other side of the world by these giant corporations.

Meanwhile, those giant corporations are taking the profits they make out of our communities and they are taking our jobs and are shipping them overseas.

So in the final analysis, is it any wonder why the income inequality gap is growing?

Without small businesses having a legitimate chance to compete and without good jobs for American workers, the middle class in America is going to continue to get chewed up and spit out.

The following are 30 statistics that prove that the elite are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is being destroyed in 2010….

The top 1 per cent takes home 24 per cent of the national income

This was a level that had not been seen since the days of the Great Depression.

Source: Zero Hedge

66% of income growth from 2001 to 2007 went to the top 1%

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.

Source: Harvard Magazine

The top 1% have doubled their share of corporate wealth in 15 years

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.

Source: Money Central MSN

Wall Street bonuses rose another 17% last year

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 per cent when compared with 2008.

Source: Washington Times

The number of millionaires rose 16% last year

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 per cent to 7.8 million during 2009.

Source: The Economic Collapse Blog

The top 25 hedge fund managers earned $25 billion last year

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.

Source: Zero Hedge

A record one in six Americans on food stamps

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.

Source: USA Today

Over 50 million Americans are on now Medicaid.

That figure is up more than 17 per cent since the beginning of the recession.

Source: USA Today


That's 41 million Americans on food stamps

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 per cent since the beginning of the recession.

Source: The Boston Globe

50 million Americans couldn't buy enough food to stay healthy last year

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.

Source: Der Spiegel

Third worst poverty rate among developed countries

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 organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Source: Money Central MSN

21% of children live below the poverty line

The saddest part of this is what we are doing to our children. According to one recent study, approximately 21 per cent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010.

Source: CNN

It takes over 8 months to find a job

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.

Source: The Economic Collapse Blog

10 million Americans on unemployment insurance

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.

Source: USA Today

Long-term unemployment payouts are up 60% this year

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 per cent in just the past year.

Source: The Economic Collapse Blog

The bottom 80 per cent have only 7% of liquid assets

Increasingly, the wealth of the United States is being held in fewer and fewer hands. One study found that as of 2007, the bottom 80 per cent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

Source: Yahoo DailyFinance

The bottom 40 per cent own less that 1 per cent of the wealth

It is not a good time to be living in 'the bottom half' in America. The size of 'the pie' being divided up among those at the low end of the wage scale is becoming really, really small. In fact, the bottom 40 per cent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 per cent of the nation's wealth.

Source: Information Clearinghouse

Families have lost $6 trillion in three years

Even those Americans that still do have decent jobs are seeing their wealth fade rapidly. For example, U.S. families have $6 trillion less in housing wealth than they did just three years ago.

Source: Time

1 in 7 mortgages are delinquent or in foreclosure

Home ownership used to be a sign that one had arrived in the middle class, but in 2010 an increasing number of Americans are finding out that they simply can't afford their homes anymore. One out of every seven mortgages were either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.

Source: Bloomberg

Only the top 5 per cent of Americans have earned enough to match rising housing costs

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 per cent of all U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

Source: Yahoo DailyFinance

Over 25 per cent of Americans have a credit score below 599

The debt binge middle class Americans have been on over the past couple of decades has drained many of them completely dry, and now more Americans than ever have bad credit scores. Over 25 per cent of Americans now have a credit score below 599, which means that they are a very bad credit risk.

Source: End of the American Dream

Bankruptcy filings rose 20% in the past year

A rapidly rising number of Americans are actually choosing bankruptcy as a way out of their financial problems. Nationwide, bankruptcy filings rose 20 per cent in the 12 month period ending this past June 30th.

Source: The Sacramento Bee

Despite population surge, America has fewer manufacturing workers than in 1950

The middle class manufacturing jobs that once defined so many American cities are rapidly disappearing. Despite the fact that the U.S. population has dramatically increased, fewer Americans are employed in manufacturing today than in 1950.

Source: My Budget 360

28% of households have someone looking for a fulltime job

These days it seems like almost everyone is looking for a good job, but very few people are finding them. According to one recent survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.

Source: Yahoo DailyFinance

55% of the labour force has experienced job loss, pay reduction and other adversity from the recession

Even many of those Americans that still have decent jobs have been hit hard by this economic downturn. A recent Pew Research survey found that 55 per cent of the U.S. labour force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.

Source: Pew Social Trends

10.5 million jobs lost since 2007

The number of jobs that are evaporating is absolutely stunning. According to one analysis, the United States has lost a total of 10.5 million jobs since 2007.

Source: World Net Daily

Meanwhile China's trade surplus climbed 140% in a year

So where are the jobs going? It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. China's trade surplus (much of it with the United States) climbed 140 per cent in June compared to a year earlier.

Source: Bloomberg


We're competing with Cambodian garment workers who earn 22 cent an hour

The truth is that 'globalism' and 'free trade' have put middle class American workers in direct competition with the cheapest labour in the world. This is what middle class American workers must now 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.

Source: The Economic Collapse Blog

Due to these difficult economic conditions, the middle class is being squeezed as never before. According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 per cent of Americans 'always or usually' live paycheck to paycheck. That was up significantly from 49 per cent in 2008 and 43 per cent in 2007.

Source: CNBC

80% of college grads have to move in with their parents

So what kind of future do our young people have in front of them? Unfortunately, things don't look pretty. Many fresh college graduates can't even get a job that will allow them to be independent. One recent survey of last year's college graduates discovered that 80 per cent moved right back home with their parents after graduation. That was up significantly from 63 per cent in 2006.

Source: The Baltimore Sun

It's a dark future for the middle class, especially in

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