I sometimes hear (or read about) people with good jobs and a good income talking about how we need to reform government to curb spending, reduce the deficit, make government more accountable and more efficient … and I believe that is a proper goal. Unfortunately, when “reform” is actually implemented, guess what happens? The first wave of action nearly always involves cutting spending on social programs that help the poor and the needy. That is, the government takes even more away from programs that provide money, food, medical care, and support services for the nations’ weakest and most vulnerable folks: the elderly, disabled, “working poor” and single parent families with children.
Legislators – most of whom have personal incomes of $200,000 per year and more – cut payments to people with incomes below $15,000 per year. Voters – most of whom earn a “living wage” or better – actually vote to support support this “reverse Robin Hood” tactic so city, county, state and federal legislators can increase their own salaries well over what most people in their districts make.
That is, (for example) county supervisor Jimmy Doe, earning $212,000 per year can increase his income to $265,000 per year (to keep up with expenses, you see …) while Mary Smith’s Social Security check remains at $962 per month for the third year in a row. Her monthly expenses increased by $120 in ways that are not considered when calculating Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment calculations (which do not include rent increases), but Mary doesn’t get to have any increase in income (And it doesn’t even rate consideration that Mary was a helicopter pilot in Desert Storm who took a bullet for her country while serving the people of that country).
I like to read many different sources of information, because I want to get my facts straight before I post. I came across an article that already addressed much of what I intended to discuss here, so without permission, I copied a portion of that article below. I believe it falls under the “Fair Use Doctrine” (17 U.S.C. § 107).
Here are some things I think most people may not even think about:
In millions of families, both the husband and the wife work multiple jobs and it is still not enough.
If we truly did have a free market capitalist system, the entire country would be a land of opportunity and things would be getting better for everybody. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. The following are 21 facts about “wealthy America” and “poor America” that are hard to believe…
#1 The lowest earning 23,303,064 Americans combined make 36 percent less than the highest earning 2,915 Americans do.
#2 40 percent of all American workers (39.6 percent to be precise) make less than $20,000 a year.
#3 According to the Pew Research Center, the top 7 percent of all U.S. households own 63 percent of all the wealth in the country.
#4 On average, households in the top 7 percent have 24 times as much wealth as households in the bottom 93 percent.
#5 According to numbers that were just released this week, 49.7 million Americans are living in poverty. That is a brand new all-time record high.
#6 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.
#8 According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.
#9 The homeownership rate in the United States is at an 18 year low.
#10 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.
#11 18 percent of all food stamp dollars are spent at Wal-Mart.
#12 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.
#13 It is hard to believe, but right now 1.2 million students that attend public schools in America are homeless. That number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.
#14 One recent study discovered that nearly half of all public students in the United States come from low income homes.
#15 In 1980, CEOs at S&P 500 companies made 42 times as much as their employees did on average. Today, CEOs at S&P 500 companies make 354 times as much as their employees do on average. In fact, there are many CEOs that make more than 1000 times what the average employees in their companies make.
#16 U.S. families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
#17 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.
#18 Today, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.
#19 Approximately one out of every five households in the United States is now on food stamps.
#21 At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5 percent of all the wealth in the United States.
So who still thinks we should not do everything we can to reduce income disparity in our country – allegedly the “best country in the world?”