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PORTSIDE  October 2010, Week 4

PORTSIDE October 2010, Week 4

Subject:

Socialism? The Rich Are Winning the US Class War

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 25 Oct 2010 22:18:17 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (249 lines)

Socialism? The Rich Are Winning the US Class War

Facts Show Rich Getting Richer, Everyone Else Poorer

By Bill Quigley.
published by Portside
October 25, 2010

Bill is Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional
Rights and professor of law at Loyola University, New
Orleans. You can reach Bill at [log in to unmask]

The rich and their paid false prophets are doing a bang
up job deceiving the poor and middle class. They have
convinced many that an evil socialism is alive in the
land and it is taking their fair share. But the
deception cannot last - facts say otherwise.

Yes, there is a class war - the war of the rich on the
poor and the middle class - and the rich are winning.
That war has been going on for years. Look at the facts
- facts the rich and their false paid prophets do not
want people to know.

Let Glen Beck go on about socialists descending on
Washington. Allow Rush Limbaugh to rail about "class
warfare for a leftist agenda that will destroy our
society." They are well compensated false prophets for
the rich.

The truth is that for the several decades the rich in
the US have been getting richer and the poor and middle
class have been getting poorer. Look at the facts then
make up your own mind.

Poor Getting Poorer: Facts

The official US poverty numbers show we now have the
highest number of poor people in 51 years. The official
US poverty rate is 14.3 percent or 43.6 million people
in poverty. One in five children in the US is poor; one
in ten senior citizens is poor. Source: US Census
Bureau.

One of every six workers, 26.8 million people, is
unemployed or underemployed. This "real" unemployment
rate is over 17%. There are 14.8 million people
designated as "officially" unemployed by the
government, a rate of 9.6 percent. Unemployment is
worse for African American workers of whom 16.1 percent
are unemployed. Another 9.5 million people who are
working only part-time while they are seeking full-time
work but have had their hours cut back or are so far
only able to find work part-time are not counted in the
official unemployment numbers. Also, an additional 2.5
million are reported unemployed but not counted because
they are classified as discouraged workers in part
because they have been out of work for more than 12
months. Source: US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor
Statistics October 2010 report.

The median household income for whites in the US is
$51,861; for Asians it is $65,469; for African
Americans it is $32,584; for Latinos it is $38,039.
Source: US Census Bureau.

Fifty million people in the US lack health insurance.
Source: US Census Bureau.

Women in the US have a greater lifetime risk of dying
from pregnancy-related conditions than women in 40
other countries. African American US women are nearly 4
times more likely to die of pregnancy-related
complications than white women. Source: Amnesty
International Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA.

About 3.5 million people, about one-third of which are
children, are homeless at some point in the year in the
US. Source: National Law Center on Homelessness and
Poverty.

Outside Atlanta, 33,000 people showed up to seek
applications for low cost subsidized housing in August
2010. When Detroit offered emergency utility and
housing assistance to help people facing evictions,
more than 50,000 people showed up for the 3,000
vouchers. Source: News reports.

There are 49 million people in the US who live in
households which eat only because they receive food
stamps, visit food pantries or soup kitchens for help.
Sixteen million are so poor they have skipped meals or
foregone food at some point in the last year. This is
the highest level since statistics have been kept.
Source: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research
Service.

Middle Class Going Backward: Facts

One or two generations ago it was possible for a middle
class family to live on one income. Now it takes two
incomes to try to enjoy the same quality of life. Wages
have not kept up with inflation; adjusted for inflation
they have lost ground over the past ten years. The cost
of housing, education and health care have all
increased at a much higher rate than wages and
salaries. In 1967, the middle 60 percent of households
received over 52% of all income. In 1998, it was down
to 47%. The share going to the poor has also fallen,
with the top 20% seeing their share rise. Mark
Trumball, "Obama's challenge: reversing a decade of
middle-class decline," Christian Science Monitor,
January 25, 2010.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0125/Obama-s-challenge-reversing-a-decade-of-middle-class-decline

A record 2.8 million homes received a foreclosure
notice in 2009, higher than both 2008 and 2007. In
2010, the rate is expected to be rise to 3 million
homes. Sources: Reuters and RealtyTrac.

Eleven million homeowners (about one in four
homeowners) in the US are "under water" or owe more on
their mortgages than their house is worth. Source:
"Home truths," The Economist, October 23, 2010.

For the first time since the 1940s, the real incomes of
middle-class families are lower at the end of the
business cycle of the 2000s than they were at the
beginning. Despite the fact that the American workforce
is working harder and smarter than ever, they are
sharing less and less in the benefits they are
creating. This is true for white families but even
truer for African American families whose gains in the
1990s have mostly been eliminated since then. Source:
Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working
America.
http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/swa08_00_execsum.pdf

Rich Getting Richer: Facts

The wealth of the richest 400 people in the US grew by
8% in the last year to $1.37 trillion. Source: Forbes
400: The super-rich get richer, September 22, 2010,
Money.com

The top Hedge Fund Manager of 2009, David Tepper,
"earned" $4 billion last year. The rest of the top ten
earned: $3.3 billion, $2.5 billion, $2.3 billion, $1.4
billion, $1.3 billion (tie for 6th and 7th place), $900
million (tie for 8th and 9th place), and in last place
out of the top ten, $825 million. Source: Business
Insider. "Meet the top 10 earning hedge fund managers
of 2009."
http://www.businessinsider.com/meet-the-top-10-earning-hedge-fund-managers-of-2009-2010-4

Income disparity in the US is now as bad as it was
right before the Great Depression at the end of the
1920s. From 1979 to 2006, the richest 1% more than
doubled their share of the total US income, from 10% to
23%. The richest 1% have an average annual income of
more than $1.3 million. For the last 25 years, over 90%
of the total growth in income in the US went to the top
10% earners - leaving 9% of all income to be shared by
the bottom 90%. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi
Shierholz, State of Working America.
http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/2008/01/19.pdf

In 1973, the average US CEO was paid $27 for every
dollar paid to a typical worker; by 2007 that ratio had
grown to $275 to $1. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi
Shierholz, State of Working America.
http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/2008/03/SWA08_Wages_Figure.3AE.pdf

Since 1992, the average tax rate on the richest 400
taxpayers in the US dropped from 26.8% to 16.62%.
Source: US Internal Revenue Service.
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/07intop400.pdf

The US has the greatest inequality between rich and
poor among all Western industrialized nations and it
has been getting worse for 40 years. The World
Factbook, published by the CIA, includes an
international ranking of the inequality among families
inside of each country, called the Gini Index. The US
ranking of 45 in 2007 is the same as Argentina,
Cameroon, and Cote d'Ivorie. The highest inequality can
be found in countries like Namibia, South Africa, Haiti
and Guatemala. The US ranking of 45 compares poorly to
Japan (38), India (36), New Zealand, UK (34), Greece
(33), Spain (32), Canada (32), France (32), South Korea
(31), Netherlands (30), Ireland (30), Australia (30),
Germany (27), Norway (25), and Sweden (23). Source: CIA
The World Factbook:
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2172.html

Rich people live an average of about five years longer
than poor people in the US. Naturally, gross inequality
has consequences in terms of health, exposure to
unhealthy working conditions, nutrition and lifestyle.
In 1980, the most well off in the US had a life
expectancy of 2.8 years over the least well-off. As the
inequality gap widens, so does the life expectancy gap.
In 1990, the gap was a little less than 4 years. In
2000, the least well-off could expect to live to age of
74.7 while the most well off had a life expectancy of
79.2 years. Source: Elise Gould, "Growing disparities
in life expectancy," Economic Policy Institute.
http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_20080716/

Conclusion

These are extremely troubling facts for anyone
concerned about economic fairness, equality of
opportunity, and justice.

Thomas Jefferson once observed that the systematic
restructuring of society to benefit the rich over the
poor and middle class is a natural appetite of the
rich. "Experience declares that man is the only animal
which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder
term to.the general prey of the rich on the poor." But
Jefferson also knew that justice can only be delayed so
long when he said, "I tremble for my country when I
reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep
forever."

The rich talk about the rise of socialism to divert
attention from the fact that they are devouring the
basics of the poor and everyone else. Many of those
crying socialism the loudest are doing it to enrich or
empower themselves. They are right about one thing -
there is a class war going on in the US. The rich are
winning their class war, and it is time for everyone
else to fight back for economic justice.

_____________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest
to people on the left that will help them to
interpret the world and to change it.

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