Meteor Blades, a writer for Daily Kos, has composed such a cogent, brief summary of the current economic situation in the United States, that I want to reproduce it in full:
Recession definitely over for some
Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 07:22:03 AM PDT
As noted in Banana republic last week, the Census Bureau reported that 49.4 percent of all income in 2009 went to Americans in the top 20 percent of the population – those making $100,000 or more a year. The top 5 percent of Americans got 22 percent of total income. On the other hand, people falling below the federal poverty line earned 3.4 percent. The poorest of the poor, those under half the poverty line, have hit record numbers. The rich-poor ratio clocked in for 2009 at 14.5 to 1, a big jump in the continuation of a skewing that makes the U.S. the most unequal in income among the developed democracies.
There are plenty of other grim statistics in the Census reporttoo, except for those folks on the top of the heap. At the Center for American Progress, Michael Linden and Heather Bousheydug into them and found one interesting tidbit. While every income category – rich to poor – took hits during the first year of the Great Recession, in 2009, the upper 5 percent managed to average an increase in their income of $1800, and the upper 20 percent boosted their average income by about half that.
The other quintiles saw their incomes continue to fall.
Median household income continued to slide from 2008 to 2009, falling by $335. In fact, the median household has lost almost $2,200 in annual income since the recession began. That is the largest two-year decline in at least 35 years and amounts to a drop of more than 4 percent.
For people in the bottom quintile, most of whom fall under the federal poverty line, the situation, already bad, worsened for the third year in a row, putting one out of five children into poverty and lowering the already low average income of their parents by another 3.3 percent.
What is the Republican response to this growing income inequality and steadily worsening impoverishment that has put the rich-poor ratio at its worst level in the past 110 years? Dumping the minimum wage for the poor. Cutting taxes for the rich to create jobs overseas. Trashing Medicaid. And putting a $2000 deductible on Medicare.
Sounds like a plan. But be sure not to call it class warfare.