Photo: Associated Press
As the middle class in America continues to be slowly wiped out, the number of working poor continues to increase. Today, nearly one out of every three families in the United States is considered to be “low income”.Millions of American families are finding that they can barely make it from month to month even with both parents working as hard as they possibly can. Blue collar American workers from coast to coast are having their wages decreased at a time when it seems like the cost of virtually every monthly bill is going up.
Unfortunately, there is every indication that things are only going to get worse and that average American families are going to be financially squeezed even more in the months and years to come.
The Working Poor Families Project has just released their policy brief for the winter of 2010-11. What they have discovered is that the number of working poor in the United States is higher than they have ever seen it before and it continues to increase at a staggering pace. The following are some of the key findings for 2009 that were pulled right out of their report….
* There were more than 10 million low-income working families in the United States, an increase of nearly a quarter million from the previous year.
* 40-five million people, including 22 million children, lived in low-income working families, an increase of 1.7 million people from 2008.
* 40-three per cent of working families with at least one minority parent were low income, nearly twice the proportion of white working families (22 per cent).
* Income inequality continued to grow with the richest 20 per cent of working families taking home 47 per cent of all income and earning 10 times that of low-income working families.
* More than half of the U.S. labour force (55 per cent) has “suffered a spell of unemployment, a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or have become involuntary part-time workers” since the recession began in December 2007.
Unfortunately, things are not going to be getting any better for the working poor. In the new “one world economy” that our politicians keep insisting is so good for us, millions upon millions of American workers now find that they have to compete for work with laborers on the other side of the globe that are willing to work for slave labour wages. This is causing millions of jobs to leave the United States and it is forcing wages down.
Millions of Americans now find that they are making substantially less than they used to. If that has happened to you, perhaps you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Or perhaps it is not that comforting. In any event, American workers are not just competing with each other anymore. Now there is the constant threat that all the jobs could just be sent overseas.
As wages are forced down, a record number of working Americans are finding themselves forced to turn to food stamps and to other government anti-poverty programs. Millions of Americans have been forced to take part-time jobs in order to supplement their incomes. Millions of others have been forced to take part-time jobs because that is all they can find.
This is all part of a long-term trend. The numbers don’t lie. About the only people doing well are those on Wall Street and the very rich. Nearly every other segment of the population is getting poorer.
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