Sunday, June 26, 2011

..equals this (#4)

A freer corporate hand, more corporate control, increasing attacks on workers, abandonment of the middle class, it all adds up to this:
Over the last decade, the share of U.S. national income taken home by workers has plummeted to a record low. ...

[O]ver the last year or so, U.S. companies have made record profits, while unemployment has stayed high and wages have barely risen.
The CIA World Factbook - don't be put off by the "CIA" part, it's actually an excellent resource - contains a listing of nations ranked by income distribution. Using a standard measure called the Gini index or the Gini coefficient, the ranking reveals the level of income inequality within a nation. A score of 0 means everyone has the same income; a score of 100 means one person gets it all.

In the Factbook's list of 136 nations, the US, with a score of 45, ranked #39. That means that only 38 countries in the world had a worse distribution, had a more unequal distribution, of income than the United States did. Ninety-seven nations had less income inequality or, to put it another way, 97 nations were more equal in their incomes than the US.
Although income disparity in the U.S. has been growing for decades, the latest figures show that it has now reached levels not seen since the Great Depression.

Ten percent of the total personal income in America was taken home by the top 0.1 percent of earners in 2008, the latest year for which figures are available.

Research suggests the reason for this extraordinary disparity is a huge rise in pay for company executives.
Executives whose companies continue to sit on piles of cash which they would rather use, if they use it at all, to pay people scores of millions of dollars to run companies into the ground for short-term gain, rather than hire people. And companies prepared to ditch the middle class entirely (the poor never having been in the mix) for the sake of the rich and their own increasing power - all while they manipulate fears to deflect blame from themselves.

We are so, so, very, very screwed.

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