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Home Topics in Depth Economics Half of Americans are “shut off from economic growth”

  • N2Doc (5275 posts)
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    Half of Americans are “shut off from economic growth”

    Even after accounting for the occasional recession and slowdown, America’s economy has greatly expanded since the days of disco.

    Despite that growth, however, half of Americans have failed to share in the country’s economic gains since the 1970s, with roughly 117 million American adults living on income that’s stagnated at about $16,200 per year before taxes and transfer payments, according to new research from economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.


    The findings help explain the sharp divisions in America’s growing, yet increasingly unequal, economy, with previous research from Saez and Zucman finding that the riches of the country’s top 1 percent had reached the type of dizzying heights only previously seen in the era of “The Great Gatsby”and the Gilded Age. The economists called the income stagnation experienced by the bottom 50 percent of Americans as “the most striking development in the U.S. economy over the last decades.”


    “The bottom half of the adult population has thus been shut off from economic growth for over 40 years, and the paltry increase in their disposable income has been absorbed by increased health spending,” the authors wrote in their paper.




    And the elites wonder why so many are so desperate.

    canoeist52, Gracchus, snot and 10 othersjwirr, FanBoy, Lynetta, DJ13, A little weird, Atticus Fox1, Downwinder, , broiles, Doremus Jessup like this
    "But nothing ever changes unless there's some pain" - Tears For Fears "Goodnight Song"

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10 replies
  • Atticus Fox1 (57 posts)
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    1. I knew there were a lot of people in

    my income bracket, but didn’t know we were half of the population.  That’s a hell of a lot of people.  I hope we will become better  engaged in the process and hope that will be more critical of authorities and be better at seeing through bullshit.


  • FanBoy (7983 posts)
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    2. +1000. I see it in my little town, where the folks who run things are making

    $80-+$150 K in government, education, policing, etc.

    While most of the real workers are making under $40K.  and about 1/3 of them making minimum wage.  with a big reservoir of unemployed and homeless.

    and the folks holding power here just don’t frigging get it — and basically wouldn’t give a shit if they did.

    they take yoga classes and go to events to get their names in the paper.  and at Christmas they hand out turkeys and such crap.

    oh thank you kind sir

    • The Crone (3157 posts)
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      8. What, you don't want their turkey!

      LOL. Totally agree. I watched a childhood friend and her husband use certain aspects of the bankruptcy code to take advantage of Golden Parachute insurance and pilfer the workers’ pension funds. While putting the company into bankruptcy.

      But the couple did run a charitable organization. (And these folks were “D” voters, as well.)

      "Let us not seek the Republican answer nor the Democratic answer but the right answer." John F. Kennedy   America is the only country that has real   lemons in its furniture polish, and artificial lemon flavoring  in its lemonade!
      • FanBoy (7983 posts)
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        9. Some years ago I was working at a non-profit. We had some businesses

        donate stuff for an event, and one particular business had its customers add a percentage to their bill if they wanted to donate funds to us in conjunction with the event.

        After the event we went ahead and ran a thank you in the paper to everyone who’d donated — but this particular business hadn’t given us any money yet — we just assumed they would settle soon.

        A week later we hear they’re going bankrupt and leaving town — literally leaving, and soon.  So the director had to get on the phone and shame-threaten them to get the cash.  They were very seriously planning to leave town and keep the money.  It was a business that had been around for a long time, and a well-respected family, so it surprised me they’d pull something like that.  I was so much younger (and naïve) then…I’m older than that now.

        (To misquote Dylan)

  • FanBoy (7983 posts)
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    3. To hear the media, you'd think the country as a whole was poorer than it was

    30 years ago.  But in fact, it’s way richer, even after adjusting for inflation.  waaaay richer.  problem is, all the growth & bucks went to the top.

    But we’re not broke. Not even close. The United States of America is awash in wealth. Our corporations are holding record trillions in cash. And overall individual wealth in the United States, the Credit Suisse Research Institute reported this past fall, has risen 23 percent since the year 2000, to $236,213 per American adult.


    • jwirr (4130 posts)
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      4. The rich are so poor! That is why we have to have those safety net cuts. The

      real truth is that the rich are never satisfied.

      • FanBoy (7983 posts)
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        5. They feel small when ordinary people have homes and security. Keeping

        the majority in debt and insecure lets the vampires sleep happily gorged on their kill.

        • jwirr (4130 posts)
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          6. Exactly.

      • FanBoy (7983 posts)
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        10. apparently not. and they use the class under them to get what they want —

        most of it trickles up to them, and the upper middle gets some scraps — big ones in proportion to everyone else’s but mighty small in comparison to the 1% (and especially the .01%)

  • Gracchus (1257 posts)
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    7. People are always shocked when they see the real income figures for the USA.

    Much of the country is poor. It is really amazing how this fact gets obscured by the media and advertising which shows only middle-class people or above. Most people live in a bubble so they rarely deal with the poor outside of going shopping or engaging in some other activity where the working poor are there to serve them.

    The poor are increasingly seen as “the help” in this country, which is becoming more elitist and nasty every day. I see these attitudes all the time and it is sad that so many people don’t see the poor as fellow Americans but as some kind of lowly servant class that exists to be abused and treated like dirt.