You Know How Bad You Think Things Are? They’re Worse than That.

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I was doing my normal review of news web sites this morning when I came across this headline at the Washington Post:

The median U.S. wage in 2010 was just $26,363

At first I was shocked by this but then, not so much. David Dayen had this post at FDL News back in September

There were a couple other pieces of big news from the release of Census data. First, real median household income declined in 2010 by 2.3%. The average household now makes $49,445 a year.

My bold. If you think about it, with the rise of multi-person earners in households, the two figures are not at all incompatible. Nevertheless, it is still a concern It reinforces the message being sent by the folks at the various #Occupy efforts around the country.

This post from points out some of the aspects of this: [cont’d.]

Though the average wage of a single earner stood at $39,959.30 per year, that number was skewed by those at the very top of the survey – the 93,725 earners who took home more than $1 million annually. That top sliver – a fraction of a fraction of the top 1 percent – collectively took home $224.6 billion , or about $2.4 million per top earner.


When one end or the other of a set becomes skewed, averages become extremely misleading. The $40,000-per-year figure seems reasonable until you realize that just over 66 percent of all workers come in under that number. As the SSA states, “by definition, 50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage.”

In more prosperous times, it might have been safe to assume that the average 4-person household contained two wage earners, but with U-6 unemployment at a seasonally adjusted rate of 16.5 percent in September, that’s far from certain. It looks like half of all American families are a single layoff away from living in poverty.

n the meantime, the major banks earnings are boosted by an accounting quirk called the debt value adjustment, which means that their earnings rise if their creditors perceive their debt as riskier, and thus less valuable, TheStreet reports.

When two facts like these are set against each other, is it any wonder that the occupations in Zuccotti Park, Dewey Square and Grant Park continue to gather momentum?

According to this wiki, the 2011 poverty line for a single person is $10, 890 while for a family of four it is $22,350. In this post from last December, I did a “what-if” based on one person working a full-time, minimum wage job. Obviously, there are millions of people not even close to working a full time, minimum wage job.

This Google Docs Spreadsheet breaks out the income/population spread in $5K increments. This article from The Atlantic offers some perspective on the various group sizes.

Yeah, I’m part of the 99%. Why aren’t you?

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor

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