Saturday, July 24, 2010

Missing Middle Class

The saying only the rich stay rich and the poor get poorer is starting to describe the American economic statuses today. We were once a nation marveled for our middle class. In fact the U.S. had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world once upon a time, but now that status has been forgotten.

So what made our happy beginning fall apart in this tragic trend? Researchers say globalism and "free trade" that our politicians and business leaders insisted would be so good for us have had some rather malicious side effects. With a "global economy" the middle class American workers have to directly compete for jobs with people on the other side of the world where there is no minimum wage and very few regulations. The big global corporations have greatly benefited by exploiting third world labor pools over the last several decades, but middle class American workers have found things to be increasingly difficult.

According to the Business Insider, Right now 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people and 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007. For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.

The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth while the top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America's corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago. In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.

For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011. Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years and despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
And with the top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income; our future has never looked so dim. The middle class is slipping away, and if something isn’t done soon we may see it completely disappear.

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