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Economic Confidence Craters As Shutdown, Income Stagnation, and Poverty Roil Americans

We are now in day 8 of the federal shutdown and it seems Americans are rapidly losing faith that the powers that be can turn the economy around. Confidence in the economy has deteriorated more in the past week than in any week since Lehman Brothers collapsed on Sept. 15, 2008.

Largest Weekly Declines in Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index

And why not? Is there any evidence the economy is turning around for the vast majority/99% of Americans? No.

If anything, the shutdown has jarred people awake to the fact that poverty and income stagnation remain at record levels. If things remain as they are we will continue to have massive inequality and little hope of social mobility. The economy is broken for most Americans which even the New York Times is recognizing as seniors are now falling back into poverty.

An additional 135,000 older women became extremely poor in 2012, raising the extreme-poverty rate in that group to 3.1 percent, And 100,000 older men were extremely poor in 2012, raising the extreme-poverty rate in that group to 2.3 percent In all, nearly 1.2 million people age 65 and up were classified as extremely poor in 2012.

The increase in extreme poverty requires utmost attention. For the most part, Social Security has protected older Americans from poverty. In cases where older people are poor, the afflicted often have been very old women, who have long outlived their spouses and any nest egg.

To recap the state of affairs – the government is shutdown and the economy is rigged for the rich. Now tell me the Koch Brothers lost the 2012 election, seriously, I need a laugh.

As Citigroup proved long ago, an economy run for the benefit of the rich or “plutonomy” is economically sustainable. But is it politically sustainable? Are the vast majority of Americans going to accept slavery and poverty from plutocrats and their extremist attack dogs in Congress?

We’ll know soon enough.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.