Jul 262010

If this list does not convince you that the middle class in America is dead and gone, nothing will…

  • 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
  • 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
  • 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
  • 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
  • A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
  • 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
  • Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
  • Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
  • 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.
  • In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
  • As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
  • The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
  • Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
  • In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
  • 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.
  • More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
  • 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.
  • This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
  • Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.
  • Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
  • The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

It really is fun watching the rich white Republicans go on the TV talk shows and argue against allowing the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans to expire or claim that reinstating the inheritance tax (which less than 1% of Americans will ever pay) will lead to the demise of the country. It’s hilarious watching them argue against everything that President Obama is trying to do dig us out of the whole that George W. Bush (enabled by these same Republicans) dug us into, especially when they have no ideas of their own other than going back to those same Bush policies.

Go back and read through that list again. That’s the Republican Plan.

SOTU Preview

 Posted by at 15:45  economy, Politics
Jan 252010

President’s Obama’s first official State of the Union Address is scheduled for this Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST. This morning, he and Vice President Biden held a meeting with the Middle Class Task Force. During that meeting, several themes were previewed which will likely make their way into Wednesday evening’s speech. Among them:

  • Require companies that do not offer retirement plans to enroll their employees in direct-deposit retirement accounts unless the workers opt out.
  • Increase the “Savers Credit,” a tax credit for retirement savings, for families making up to $85,000.
  • Change some of the rules for 401(k) employer-sponsored retirement savings accounts to make them more transparent.
  • Increase the child tax credit rate to 35 percent of qualifying expenses from the current 20 percent for families making under $85,000 a year. Families making up to $115,000 would be eligible for some increase in the tax credit.
  • Increase child care funding by $1.6 billion in 2011 to serve an additional 235,000 children.
  • Boost government spending by $102.5 million for programs aimed at helping families who provide home care for an aging relative.
  • Ease the burden for student loans by limiting a borrower’s payments to 10 percent of his or her income above a basic living allowance.

Noticeably missing was any mention of health care reform. (Not quite true, actually. The President did mention “health care that’ll be there when you get sick.”)

A transcript of both the Vice President’s and the President’s remarks follows the break.

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Jan 302009

Lest anyone remains in doubt that change has come to the White House…

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden today announced the formation of a Middle Class Task Force. President Obama also reversed several of George W. Bush’s anti-labor executive orders.

Video of the President’s and Vice President’s remarks follows. The full text of their remarks may be read below the fold.

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