Hah Hah: You are Poor
BREAKING: According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the rich are getting richer while the poor in America continue to get poorer. And the government is contributing to all this.
You are Poorer Now than Before
Here’s the story from the CBO:
— Between 1979 and 2007, income grew by 275 percent for the top one percent of households, compared to only 18 percent for the bottom twenty percent of us.
— In 2007, federal taxes and transfers reduced the dispersion of income by 20 percent. The share of transfer payments to the lowest-income households declined. “The equalizing effect of federal taxes was smaller” in 2007 than in 1979, as “the composition of federal revenues shifted away from progressive income taxes to less-progressive payroll taxes,” thus doing less to reduce the concentration of income, the CBO said.
— The most affluent fifth of the population received 53 percent of after-tax household income in 2007, up from 43 percent in 1979. In other words, the after-tax income of the most affluent fifth exceeded the income of the other four-fifths of the population.
You can read the full Congressional Budget Office report online.
Shut Up Serfs
Just to make sure the point is clear, the top ten percent of wealth holders own roughly 70 percent of everything in the United States. The bottom half of us have roughly five percent, and falling, because…
The Great Recession of 2008 stripped swaths of the middle class of their most valuable asset. Some five million homes were lost to foreclosure between 2008 and 2013. 8.2 million more foreclosure starts took place in that same time period. Another three million homes in the next three or four years will face foreclosure.
The value of those homes and their real estate migrated into the hands of those who controlled the banks. Many homeowners were turned into renters, shoving more money upward to those who controlled the property. America’s the top earners’ wealth grew even as those responsible for the collapse were never punished and the companies involved received federal bail-out money to cover losses, being too big to fail. In a neat closing of the circle, the money came from taxes paid in part by those destroyed in the Recession.
This was one of the largest single redistributions of wealth in American, perhaps world, history. Cool– you were around to witness history in the making.
The mathematical measure of wealth-inequality is called “Gini,” and the higher it is, the more extreme a nation’s wealth-inequality.
The Gini for the U.S. is 85; Canada, 72; and Bangladesh, 64. Nations more unequal than the U.S. include Kazakhstan at 86 and the Ukraine at 90. The African continent tips in at just under 85.
Odd company for the “exceptional nation.”
Serfs All, or at Least 99% of Us
Thanks for reading this. I hope it distracted you briefly from the daily hunger pangs you face. If you don’t complain, we’ll allow you 30 minutes of TV tonight. Now back to work serf.
Photo of “Sorry the lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock” by Banksy by Duncan Hull under Creative Commons license