Wednesday, May 10, 2006

And the rich get....richer!

One of the editors at Mother Jones came up with a series of "snapshots" that detail the ever-widening gulf between the very rich in America, and everyone else.

Clara Jeffery's piece, titled "The Perks of Privilege," clearly illustrates the growing disparity in wealth that is now, 21st century America.

Here are just a few "highlights":

  • In 1985, The Forbes 400 were worth $221 billion combined. Today, they’re worth $1.13 trillion—more than the GDP of Canada. (Income disparity)
  • ONLY 3% OF STUDENTS at the top 146 colleges come from families in the bottom income quartile; only 10% come from the bottom half. (Educational disparity)
  • BUSH’S TAX CUTS GIVE a 2-child family earning $1 million an extra $86,722—or Harvard tuition, room, board, and an iMac G5 for both kids.
  • A 2-CHILD family earning $50,000 gets $2,050—or 1/5 the cost of public college for one kid. (These last two, taken together, show a tax disparity that leads to the above-mentioned education disparity)
  • ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION, the federal minimum wage has fallen 42% since its peak in 1968. (How can lower-income workers compete when an already inadequate wage continues to shrink? It makes trying to make a living an absurd joke.)
  • IF THE $5.15 HOURLY minimum wage had risen at the same rate as CEO compensation since 1990, it would now stand at $23.03. (which would make it a living wage)

These are just a few items from Jeffery's article, which is definitely worth going through, if for no other reason than to have some talking points to throwback at the conservative trolls you work with, or other Limbaugh-loving family members that make you bite your tongue until it's nothing more than bloody pulp.


GuerrillasintheMidst said...

Yarrrgh. Thanks for this Jim. $23.03 minimum wage! I remember working at Hardee's not too long ago when I was making $4.25. When the increase happened, I got a 10-cent raise. That stuff with the celebrities was just sick. Sadly, that's what most of us aspire to! Nasty nasty.

Anonymous said...

Liberals love to play the class warfare card at every opportunity. The rich are always getting richer, or so you say, but what about the middle class and lower class? They are doing better than decades before.

It never occurs to the class warfare specialists that rich people got that way generally because they work hard and take enormous risks. Have you ever been hired for a job by a poor person?

According to your warped political reality, those who become successful are to be reviled and punished with oppressive and confiscatory taxation. Worse, they are to be considered the enemy of working men and women who are portrayed as conspiring to ruin the lives of average Americans.

As President Lincoln said, “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

Here's a link you might want to read that refutes your ideas about the richest Americans.

weasel said...

Anonymous said: "It never occurs to the class warfare specialists that rich people got that way generally because they work hard and take enormous risks."

Are you taking the piss? Do you not comprehend how many of the Forbes list et al are playing with granddaddy's money? I'll have to assume your dyslexia made you type "working hard" rather than "hardly working".

The occasional odds-defier like Bill Gates of Oprah Winfrey do little but demonstrate that for most of the rest of us 250 million or so the Horatio Alger story is the exception rather than the rule.

Jim said...

Thanks, Weasel. I don't think I would have been as measured (or effective) as you were with your account because these anonymous "clowns" really get my goat (I guess in some perverse way, me admitting it probably perpetuates troll-posting).

The belief in the whole Horatio Alger myth is something that obviously is part of an indoctrination that begins when we first go to school. Belief in this myth (and most Americans do) and the denyial of class is problematic, to say the least. While it's comforting, I suppose, for many to believe that toiling for the man will someday yield a life of wealth, statistics clearly show reality to be something entirely different.

The Economist ran an interesting article over a year ago on the matter of class and upward mobility. Also, The Century Foundation has some excellent material on wealth and inequality at their website.

I know that I'm preaching to the choir here, but maybe, just maybe, anonymous (and his types) might peek at some of the information and it might cause their heads to explode.