Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Decline and Fall of the Middle Class

It's been obvious for a long time that globalization is killing the US middle class. The "free trade" that was sold as a way to raise the sorry plight of third world workers has instead dragged the American working class down at an alarming rate.

This of course has been very good for the profit margins of the multinational corporations and the politicians who feed off them, but for the average working person it's an ongoing disaster. The article at the link lists 22 eye-opening and alarming statistics that includes:

* 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

*66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

*As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

*The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

* The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

This isn't going to stop as long as corporations have no disincentive to move their operations to countries where they can get the work done for $20 a week instead of $20 an hour. Meanwhile the average top exec is now making 300-500 times more than his average employee.

Already over 40% of the currently employed can only get low paying, no benefit, service jobs. If nothing is done to stop it this only get worse. But my con critics tell me Paul Krugman is shrill, which makes all liberal facts suspect, so there's nothing to worry about.

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