Thursday, July 28, 2016

IS AMERICA GREAT? DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ASK.

President Obama and his now heir to be Hillary Clinton like to boast about how great America is; the implied unsaid part of the message is, don't complain, it makes us look bad.



Both Obama and Clinton are trying to distract us from what the truth is because neither he or his heir apparent want to admit that the Democratic Establishment has failed miserably in delivering what has been promised over and over again when they ask to be elected and then disappear into the mist of history the day after they take the oath of office.



Rest assured  there is a select group of Americans that Obama and Hillary are speaking to who can declare that America has been great to them. But that's a very small and select group which ironically include the Clinton's who joined the "millionaire club" by pandering to it's members.



So, is America great? Well, it depends on who you ask;





                        



THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY WAS ONCE THE PARTY OF THE NEW DEAL and the ally of organized labor. But by the time of Bill Clinton's presidency, it had become the enemy of New Deal programs like welfare and Social Security and the champion of free trade deals. The end result is that the party which created the New Deal and helped create the middle class has now become “the party of mass inequality.” 



The first piece of evidence is what’s happened since the financial crisis. This is the great story of our time. Inequality has actually gotten worse since then, which is a remarkable thing. This is under a Democratic president who we were assured (or warned) was the most liberal or radical president we would ever see. Yet inequality has gotten worse, and the gains since the financial crisis, since the recovery began, have gone entirely to the top 10 percent of the income distribution.


This is not only because of those evil Republicans, but because Obama played it the way he wanted to. Even when he had a majority in both houses of Congress and could choose whoever he wanted to be in his administration, he consistently made policies that favored the top 10 percent over everybody else. He helped out Wall Street in an enormous way when they were entirely at his mercy.

The elephant in the room that neither Obama or Clinton want Americans to pay attention to is;


Wealth Inequality

Wealth inequality can be described as the unequal distribution of assets within a population. The United States exhibits wider disparities of wealth between rich and poor than any other major developed nation.

Defining Wealth

We equate wealth with “net worth,” the sum total of your assets minus liabilities. Assets can include everything from an owned personal residence and cash in savings accounts to investments in stocks and bonds, real estate, and retirement accounts. Liabilities cover what a household owes: a car loan, credit card balance, student loan, mortgage, or any other bill yet to be paid.

In the United States, wealth inequality runs even more pronounced than income inequality




America is great to the 1%


The share of America’s wealth held by the nation’s wealthiest has changed markedly over the past century. That share peaked in the late 1920s, right before the Great Depression, then fell by more than half over the next three decades. But the equalizing trends of the mid 20th century have now been almost completely undone. At the top of the American economic summit, the richest of the nation’s rich now hold as large a wealth share as they did in the 1920s.


The 21st century has not been kind to average American families. The net worth — assets minus debts — of most U.S. households fell between 2000 and 2011. Only the top two quintiles of the nation’s wealth distribution saw a net increase in median net worth over those years.

The rich don’t just have more wealth than everyone else. The bulk of their wealth comes from different — and more lucrative — asset sources. America’s top 1 percent, for instance, holds nearly half the national wealth invested in stocks and mutual funds. Most of the wealth of Americans in the bottom 90 percent comes from their principal residences, the asset category that took the biggest hit during the Great Recession. These Americans also hold almost three-quarters of America’s debt.

The most visible indicator of wealth inequality in America today may be the Forbes magazine list of the nation’s 400 richest. In 1982, the “poorest” American listed on the first annual Forbes magazine list of America’s richest 400 had a net worth of $80 million. The average member of that first list had a net worth of $230 million. In 2015, rich Americans needed net worth of $1.7 billion to enter the Forbes 400, and the average member held a net $5.8 billion, over 10 times the 1982 average after adjusting for inflation.

Inequality is skyrocketing even within the Forbes 400 list of America’s richest. The net worth of the richest member of the Forbes 400 has soared from $2 billion in 1982 to $76 billion in 2015, far outpacing the gains at either the Forbes 400 entry point or average.


America is not so great to the middle class


The great shrinking of the middle class that has captured the attention of the nation is not only playing out in troubled regions like the Rust Belt, Appalachia and the Deep South, but in just about every metropolitan area in America, according to a major new analysis by the Pew Research Center.

Pew reported in December that a clear majority of American adults no longer live in the middle class, a demographic reality shaped by decades of widening inequality, declining industry and the erosion of financial stability and family-wage jobs. But while much of the attention has focused on communities hardest hit by economic declines, the new Pew data, based on metro-level income data since 2000, show that middle-class stagnation is a far broader phenomenon.

The share of adults living in middle-income households has also dwindled in Washington, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Denver. It's fallen in smaller Midwestern metros where the middle class has long made up an overwhelming majority of the population. It's withering in coastal tech hubs, in military towns, in college communities, in Sun Belt cities.

The decline of the American middle class is "a pervasive local phenomenon," according to Pew, which analyzed census and American Community Survey data in 229 metros across the country, encompassing about three-quarters of the U.S. population. In 203 of those metros, the share of adults in middle-income households fell from 2000 to 2014.

Pew defines middle-income households here as those making between two-thirds and twice the national median household income. For a three-person household in 2014, that means an income between about $42,000 and $125,000. The fact that median incomes have declined over this same time frame also means that the bar to get into the middle class is actually lower now than it was in 2000. Pew's metro-level data are also adjusted for household size and local cost of living.

The shrinking middle class is in part a reflection of rising income inequality in America, and of the same underlying and uneven economic forces that have fueled the rise of Donald Trump. And as the middle class has been shrinking, median incomes have fallen, too. In 190 of these 229 metros, the median income dropped over this same time.

As the middle class has shrunk, Pew points out, the lower and upper classes in America have grown in size and significance. In some metros, the middle class is dwindling primarily because families are falling out of it and into the lower class. The share of households in this bottom tier has skyrocketed since 2000, for instance, in Goldbsoro, North Carolina, a railroad junction with an Air Force base.


America is terrible to the working poor; 

(the majority of which are non-white)

The Great Recession deepened the longstanding racial and ethnic wealth divide in the United States. The typical white family held a net worth six times greater than the typical black family at the end of the 20th century. That gap has now doubled. The wealth gap between white and Hispanic households has widened as well.

The billionaires who make up the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans now have as much wealth as all African-American households, plus one-third of America’s Latino population, combined. In other words, just 400 extremely wealthy individuals have as much wealth as 16 million African-American households and 5 million Latino households.

Democrats will say, not all hope is lost. The Working poor just need to be patient. 

In Congress, 53 progressives, including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown, Dick Durbin and others, are backing legislation for a $15 federal minimum wage by 2020 and the gradual elimination of the subminimum tipped wage. While action on the minimum wage at any level is unlikely

This flicker of hope might resonate with teens and 20 year olds, but not so much for the 65 and older Americans.

More older Americans – those ages 65 and older – are working than at any time since the turn of the century, and today’s older workers are spending more time on the job than did their peers in previous years, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of employment data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In May, 18.8% of Americans ages 65 and older, or nearly 9 million people, reported being employed full- or part-time, continuing a steady increase that dates to at least 2000 (which is as far back as we took our analysis). In May of that year, just 12.8% of 65-and-older Americans, or about 4 million people, said they were working.



The relatively strong presence of 65-and-older workers is found across age brackets: 65- to 69-year-olds, 70- to 74-year-olds, and those 75 and older. All are working at higher rates than they did in May 2008, the only age groups about which that can be said.

Though we took the current analysis only back to 2000, an earlier Center report noted that the labor force participation rate (that is, workers and those actively seeking employment as a share of a group’s total population) among older adults began rising in the mid-1980s, after declining for more than three decades.

Not only are more older Americans working, more of them are working full-time. In May 2000, 46.1% of workers ages 65 and older were working fewer than 35 hours a week (the BLS’ cutoff for full-time status). The part-time share has fallen steadily, so that by last month only 36.1% of 65-and-older workers were part-time.



America is a disaster zone to the poverty striken



In 2010, the poverty threshold was $22,314 for a family of four.

15.1%15.1 percent— just over 46 million Americans— were officially in poverty in 2010. This is an increase from 12.5 percent in 2007.

27.4%Among racial and ethnic groups, African Americans had the highest poverty rate, 27.4 percent, followed by Hispanics at 26.6 percent and whites at 9.9 percent.

45.8%45.8 percent of young black children (under age 6) live in poverty, compared to 14.5 percent of white children.

28.0%In 2011, 28.0 percent of workers earned poverty-level wages ($11.06 or less an hour).

18-25 Workers earning poverty-level wages are disproportionately female, black, Hispanic, or between the ages of 18 and 25.

1.8x The United States spends less on social programs (16.2 percent of GDP) than similarly developed countries (21.3 percent of GDP), has a relative poverty rate (the share of the population living on less than half of median household income) 1.8 times higher than those peer nations, and has a child poverty rate more than twice as high.

Almost 50 million people in the U.S. are poor using the supplemental measure, compared to the 47 million using the official measure.

Food stamps (formally known as SNAP) keep about five million people out of poverty, according to the supplemental measure.

Without Social Security more than half of all Americans 65 and over would be in poverty. (Both supplemental and traditional poverty measures include Social Security benefits.)

Under the supplemental measure, which includes cost-of-living differences, poverty is much higher in expensive states like California and New York, and lower in places like Alabama and Kentucky.

The poverty rate for children goes down under the supplemental measure and it goes up for those 65 and older. That's because the supplemental measure includes the impact of out-of-pocket medical expenses (which are high for senior citizens) and of certain government benefits that go disproportionately to children.

In other supplemental-poverty-related news, a study out of UC Berkeley finds that using the supplemental measure is especially useful in identifying the most serious cases: families that are chronically poor.