Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do you feel poor yet?

US Incomes Declined More During 'Recovery' Than During Recession

Per Huffington Post. Which ordinarily I don't bother with, Ariana being one of the 1% -- and proud of it.

The U.S. economy may technically be in a recovery, but it likely doesn’t feel that way for many Americans when grabbing for their wallets.

Median annual household income has fallen more during the recovery than it did during the recession, according to a new study from former Census Bureau officials Gordon Green and John Code. Between December 2007 and June 2009, when the U.S. economy was in recession, incomes declined 3.2 percent. While during the recovery between June 2009 and June 2011 incomes fell 6.7 percent, the study found.

The lack of income growth may explain why for most Americans the recovery still feels like a recession. Eight in 10 Americans believe the recession is an ongoing problem, according to a recent Gallup poll. And workers don't anticipate things will pick up any time soon. Nine out of 10 Americans said they don't expect to get a raise that will be enough to compensate for the rising costs of essentials like food and fuel, according an American Pulse survey released in June.

This is a message I've been trying to communicate as best I can for years, but for some reason it has been met with either complete indifference or statistical bullshit that attempts to show that since average incomes have been either flat or rising slightly during the Endless Recession, it's simply "not true" that average Americans are losing ground.

This is the first study I'm aware of that begins to show just how stark the income declines for the masses have been. Averages are meaningless because the highest incomes are factored in with the lowest, and those with no cash income (a growing segment of the population, btw) are not factored at all. This study says Americans' incomes have declined 10% during the Recession and the so-called Recovery, whereas my own unscientific survey in a relatively well-off neighborhood shows a decline of closer to 25%, and if one goes over the line into the 'hood, as it were, income decline is closer to 50% or more.

Because costs of living have not declined at all (well, except for the price of houses if you can scrape up the cash) the decline in income is devastating for more and more people every day. That is one reason why so many Americans are now taking to the streets and why so many Americans are camping out in the public square to be heard.

Of course the 99% Tumblr provides stark and very graphic testimony of what the economic catastrophe has been doing to the masses.

It is just incredible that this sort of evidence is still subject to dispute and debate. You wonder at the willful blindness to increasing poverty, hunger and devastation all around us, and you don't wonder at it at all. The blindness is a coping strategy. For many, it is a necessary coping strategy to avoid the horrible recognition that there but for the grace of God...

This is by no means even remotely a poor nation. But the wealth is concentrated more and more into fewer and fewer hands. Make no mistake at all, not only are they robbing the rest of us of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (among other things), they're delightedly stealing from one another at an ever frenzied pace, as if there were some mountain somewhere just waiting for one of them to be King.

It's insane.

If we're lucky, the global protests and demonstrations and occupations will not just serve as notice to the highest of the mighty that their rule is near its end, they will lead to a genuine revolutionary movement that will replace that rule with what I call the Four Values:

Dignity. Justice. Community. Peace.

Lower incomes don't have to be a bad thing, but they are devastating in the kind of Social Darwinist nightmare our betters have decided the US and the world shall become.

We've had enough.

We're not going to take it any more.


  1. One of the biggest arguments I have with the billionaires, and one that I don't see a good response from their side is, is the fact that they are very wastefully using finite resources basically for no other reason than to feed their own egos.

    I'm not talking about energy here (necessarily) I think that land better illustrates the concept. A billionaire owns 7 mansions, but can only occupy one at a time. The other 6 remain vacant. That's ridiculously wasteful.

  2. Given that banks are now bulldozing and/or giving away foreclosed homes (but not to the people who were foreclosed on...) the fact that Our Betters have multiple mansions, most of which are operated like empty hotels, isn't surprising.

    Given the rising number of homeless in this country and the lack of adequate winter shelter in many areas, let alone the absence of functioning temporary or continuous housing programs (especially for the homeless mentally ill) what's happening is really criminal.

    Vacant mansions, neighborhoods full of empty foreclosed homes, bulldozed foreclosed homes, homes that are purchased with public money out of foreclosure and then sold in bulk for a few dollars (literally, no more than a thousand dollars for 10 or up to 50 homes) to landlords and speculators, or foreclosed homes that are given directly to agencies for resale... it is an incredible waste all around.

    But that seems to be the latest scam...