Black People : millions of folks into Poverty and the Fat Cats to the Bank

Ankhur

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Published on Thursday, September 23, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
US Poverty Data Tells Only Half the Story...
by Ananya Mukherjee-Reed

In April this year, Fortune magazine published an insightful analytical piece Fortune 500: Profits bounce back. Two days ago as I went back to the Fortune website to read the piece again, I found something very interesting: sitting right next to it was the story Poverty in the US Spikes. I took a screen-shot right away. The picture is worth much more than a mere thousand words: I think its worth 391 billion dollars (2009 the Fortune 500 earnings) or the 14.9 million Americans without jobs. You choose.


Some excerpts from Profits Bounce Back:

Amazingly, as consumers struggle, U.S. corporations are staging a nearly unprecedented comeback that's largely escaping notice. The gargantuan, dispiriting job cuts that seem to dominate the news have also been the spur for an epic resurgence in profits. For 2009, the Fortune 500 lifted earnings 335%, to $391 billion, a $301 billion jump that's the second largest in the list's 56-year history, approaching the increase in the robust recovery of 2003.

The crucial reductions came in the item accounting for two-thirds of their costs: labor. In 2009, the Fortune 500 shed 821,000 jobs, the biggest loss in its history -- almost 3.2% of its payroll. ... ... The result was a wondrous surge in productivity, defined as the hours needed to make a bicycle, a PC, or a ton of insulation (emphasis mine)

That ‘wondrous surge in productivity’ came from layoffs and by getting less workers to produce the same, or more. No wonder then, that during this same 2009 when profits bounced back and productivity soared, 4 millions more Americans fell into poverty. Or that almost 44 million Americans lived in poverty and 50.7 million were uninsured – the highest ever since the Census was taken.

Let us flip back to the Fortune piece:

The star of 2009 is undoubtedly health care. The sector's earnings jumped to an all-time high of $92 billion.. Health-care earnings rose by $23 billion, or 33%. It wasn't the band of new arrivals that accounted for most of the bounty, but extremely strong earnings from two groups ... medical insurers and pharmaceuticals.

In medical insurance, profits recovered by cutting jobs and raising premiums. Obviously, the number of the uninsured grew.

And there is more. Almost at the same time that the Census Report on poverty was released, Phoenix Marketing released its report on the Size of Affluent Markets in the US.

‘Impressive Resilience of Affluent Investors’ reads the headline of its executive summary. It estimates that there are about 182,000 ‘deca-millionaire’ households in the US - with $10 million or more in liquid wealth, up 17 percent. ‘Wealth households’, i.e. those with $1 million plus investible resources, grew by eight percent from 2009 to 2010 and now constitute nearly 5.6 million households.

 

Ankhur

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Published on Friday, September 24, 2010 by RobertReich.org

The Super Rich Get Richer, Everyone Else Gets Poorer, and the Democrats Punt
by Robert Reich

The super-rich got even wealthier this year, and yet most of them are paying even fewer taxes to support the eduction, job training, and job creation of the rest of us. According to Forbes magazine's annual survey, just released, the combined net worth of the 400 richest Americans climbed 8% this year, to $1.37 trillion. Wealth rose for 217 members of the list, while 85 saw a decline.

For example, Charles and David Koch, the energy magnates who are pouring vast sums of money into Republican coffers and sponsoring tea partiers all over America, each gained $5.5 billion of wealth over the past year. Each is now worth $21.5 billion.

Wall Street continued to dominate the list; 109 of the richest 400 are in finance or investments.

From another survey we learn that the 25 top hedge-fund managers got an average of $1 billion each, but paid an average of 17 percent in taxes (because so much of their income is considered capital gains, taxed at 15 percent thanks to the Bush tax cuts).

The rest of America got poorer, of course. The number in poverty rose to a post-war high. The median wage continues to deteriorate. And some 20 million Americans don't have work.

Only twice before in American history has so much been held by so few, and the gap between them and the great majority been a chasm - the late 1920s, and the era of the robber barons in the 1880s.

And yet the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, which conferred almost all their benefits on the rich, continue.

Democrats have decided to delay voting on whether to extend them for the top 2 percent of Americans or for the bottom 98 percent until after the mid-term elections.
www.commondreams.org
 

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