Everyone's Getting Rich? Bull Droppings!!!


Last May, Money magazine's cover shouted "Everyone's Getting Rich!". Beneath that blaring headline were two very white people, a man and wife, who will apparently explain "Here's how to get your share".

Now, I don't fault Money magazine nor its staff for stating such a huge lie in such bold letters. I realize that they probably spend very, very little time interacting with the average human being in America since we aren't often invited to their clubs or their teas or whatever the wealthy do to kill time until their overindulgent lifestyle destroys their pasty white bodies.

Nevertheless, some very important information was completely missing from this little story of universal happiness. Let's look at some of that data before we pop the old cork on the bubbly, shall we?

First, in the 1970's the top 1% of American households controlled 20% of the nation's wealth. In the late 1990's, the top 1% of American households controls over 40% of the nation's wealth.

Next, in 1969 10% of all households had a net worth of zero, meaning they owned nothing and had not enough income to consider buying any. In 1984, 15% of American households had net worth of zero. In 1999, that figure is now 20% of all American households.

In constant dollars, blue-collar workers, the ones who actually produce America's material wealth, are making less in earnings than they did in 1974.

The U.S. savings rate is now at -0.5% (negative one half percent), lower even than early in the Great Depression.

Most Americans currently have a lower net worth than they possessed in 1984, the beginning of the greatest stock market growth in history. The bottom 40% of American households have lost 80% of their average net worth, The middle 20% has lost 11%.

Conversely, the wealthiest 1% now owns more wealth than the entire bottom 95% combined.

In 1979, CEOs were paid 40 times what the average worker received. Today, CEOs receive over 420 times what their average employee earns. As an example, General Electric's CEO, Jack Welch, destroyed 128,000 jobs while being paid $83.6 million.

How about job creation?

Take Los Angeles county for example. Since 1991, the number of jobs paying at a middle-class level, between $40,000 to $60,000, has fallen by 97,000 jobs. In the same time frame, jobs paying between $15,000 to $25,000 rose at nearly the same pace. These sad facts account for the reality that, again in Los Angeles county, ownership of homes has barely moved since the 1980's and has actually remained nearly precisely where it was in 1940.

While government apologists claim that most of the 425,000 jobs lost during the 1990 - 1993 recession have been filled by the creation of new positions in the financial industry and high-tech start-ups they offer absolutely no proof for that claim. What little foundation they do offer for those allegations is the figures showing that the number of jobs paying between $25,000 to $40,000 showed an increase of nearly 100,000 jobs. They fail to acknowledge, however, that the cost of housing and nearly all other expenses related to day to day living in Los Angeles county is among the highest in the nation and any position paying at these levels leave the worker barely able to make ends meet, particularly should the worker be the major wage earner in an family that includes children.

As we will discuss in a later article, these low paid workers will not even receive any assistance should the mean spirited tax cut that the Republicans are trying to foist on the American people be passed. In fact, after inflation, those in the lower-middle-class and lower-class tax brackets will see an increase in their taxes while the wealthy will see huge cuts in theirs.

Those in these lower tax brackets are also those Americans least likely have any health insurance, as well. They will be given no additional opportunities to acquire that necessity, either, as HMOs race one another to increase their costs to employers, taking health care far out of reach of these Americans.

Looking at the effects of the anti-poor Welfare "Deformation" reveals even more painful statistics.

20% of all American children grow up in families living at or below the poverty level.

The income of the poorest 20% of female-headed families (that's 2 million families and 6 million Americans)fell an average of $580 per family between 1995 and 1997. This figure even included income such as food stamps, housing subsidies, the Earned Income Tax Credit and like benefits. Nevertheless, even when including these figures, that 20% of female-headed families still fell below three-quarters of the poverty line.

Among the lowest 10% of families who headed by single females, their income fell and average of $810 between 1995 and 1997. This completely erased the reported gains in income that were supposedly conferred through the benefits of the unproven economic boom.

Between 1995 and 1997, only 360,000 children lived in families which had incomes which raised the families out of poverty.

Gentle readers, you will never find this information being offered by the conservative media. The Rabid Right has no interest in your obtaining any information that exposes the huge lie of some fabled economic boom that is benefiting all. You'll never learn that this economic cycle is actually making life harder and harder for that segment of America that does the real work but receives the least in return. You'll only find it in those few progressive sources (notice I studiously avoided the term "left" since the left no longer exists as a viable political philosophy, thanks to Clinton and his kind) such as Another Perspective and the meager number of magazines and web sites and the like that still exist after twenty years of Rabid Right "leadership".

As usual, it is up to us, the few remaining Americans who fight and clamor for the truth, to constantly remind and inform anyone who will listen that the so-called news is only a constant diet of propaganda being force fed to those few Americans who even still care enough to listen to news reports or read newspapers. We must constantly offer them the reality that is so assiduously kept from them so that they can, at long last, have some small opportunity to participate in this democracy in a thoughtful and rational manner. Are you up to it? (1 - 5)

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Copyright 9/2/99