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Tue Nov 5, 2019, 07:44 AM

If Americans Are Better Off Than A Decade Ago, Why Doesn't It Feel That Way? US Inequality

'If Americans are better off than a decade ago, why doesn’t it feel that way?' A growing number of Americans work hard but aren’t getting their basic needs met – but the 2020 candidates seem poised to tackle economic inequality. The Guardian, Nov. 5, 2019.

Jimmy Wilson, a 49-year-old cook who works at a Detroit bar, was sitting outside on his break and fuming. “This doesn’t affect me at all,” he said, speaking about the televised August Democratic 2020 presidential candidates debate, which had been streaming on the bar’s TVs. “I still have to go to work in the morning. I still have to pay taxes.”..

Most political observers agree that it will take far more than a presidential election to reverse income inequality in the US. But Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory exposed a trend that has been in the works since the 1970s and is now at crisis point. The current crop of Democratic presidential candidates, even the moderate frontrunner Joe Biden, is pushing policy proposals aimed squarely at America’s Jimmy Wilsons, those who work hard but feel they are not getting their fair share of the pie. And, amid Gatsby-era levels of economic inequality, there are more of them than ever...



If Americans are better off than they were a decade ago, it doesn’t always feel that way. The recovery from the Great Recession of the late 00s has been slow and uneven, with low-income Americans – many of them Latino, like Wilson, or African-American, like Detroit auto worker Steve Jennings – experiencing fewer of the benefits. As a group, minority Americans suffer from a staggering wealth gap with white people that leaves them little to fall back on.

Jennings earns $13.75 an hour as a materials handler at Kace Logistics, a company that prepares auto parts for assembly..“You’re not paying me enough to be buying the cars that I’m making,” says Jennings, who drives a 1997 Oldsmobile Aurora .Things were different for his parents. Even with his father’s single income, “We never went without anything,” he says. Jennings’ lament touches on a reality felt across the country. Economic mobility is on the decline, according to a Harvard team of researchers led by economist Raj Chetty.

More than 90% of children who were born in 1940 grew up to earn more than their parents. Only 50% of children born 40 years later will go on to earn more than their parents. But the top one percent is doing better than fine: the average CEO pulled in 312 times as much as the average worker in 2017, up from 20 times as much in 1965, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

The rise in economic inequality is a global phenomenon. But it is more extreme in the US, where social mobility has been shown to be lower than in other industrialized nations, and where the safety net is weaker and poverty more severe. Even though the US spends more per capita on healthcare, the system covers fewer people and produces worse outcomes, including lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality rates..

Moreover, the US has seen life expectancy drop during the past three years, the longest consecutive decrease since a period that included the first world war and a concurrent flu pandemic. The grim combination of a rising suicide rate, especially in rural areas, and an epidemic of drug overdoses deserve the blame, say experts, but so may accelerating economic inequality. At the same time, the gap between the life expectancy of the wealthy and everyone else has been widening, according to a 2016 study by Chetty published in the Journal of the American Medical Association...

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/nov/05/if-americans-are-better-off-than-a-decade-ago-why-doesnt-it-feel-that-way

Source, https://capitalandmain.com/our-united-states-of-inequality-1105

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Reply If Americans Are Better Off Than A Decade Ago, Why Doesn't It Feel That Way? US Inequality (Original post)
appalachiablue Nov 5 OP
Chin music Nov 5 #1
Backseat Driver Nov 5 #2
malthaussen Nov 5 #3
appalachiablue Nov 5 #4
ChazInAz Nov 5 #5

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 10:24 AM

2. Why doesn't it feel that way?

TV? Parental lack of vision? Geographic location-zip code? Educational status? IQ? Lack of government oversight? Big banks? Yeah, the list goes on and on and one as to why I've not fared better - born a decade after this team began their "thinking." Ain't being afflicted with American hubris grand?

Bet old Raj Chetty and his Harvard team have really wracked their big brains and, despite their fortuitious earnings earned on the backs of those they studied, spent lots of nights worried sick on this one. I don't know why I bother to read this triggering statistical "reality" of how TPTB, at the top of that capitalist and not-so-capitalist pyramid have planted a time-bomb on the plane I took to journey from here to there.

Instead, I'm in that time between when turbulence causes the pilot to lose control and that final gravitational inevitability - when seconds are decades of chance and decisions made in a moment based on the "wisdom"? of others who were older and wiser. I am those at my core; I did the "expected" and bought the terrifying ticket. So here I sit, lap belt fastened, masks dropped, in the crash position.

There they, TPTB, sit, laughing at my dreams, my drive, my life decisions, while I sit strapped on that spiraling jet considering their story that I've just not accomplished anything worthwhile. It's an existential thing, really, and hit me hard because Elijah Cummings and I shared a birthday. His story has almost all the opposite key elements of mine - perhaps I might even be a tad older, having being born at 3 in the morning, but despite the opposite composite, and the obvious fact that his plane has already smacked into the ground, I'm still falling with no hope of a softer landing. Truly, in comparison, it's true that I've accomplished nothing, a thought that is both infuriating and humbling.

There's a line in Salman Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet: "It wasn't supposed to be like this."

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 10:47 AM

3. This is the key line:

"The gap between the life expectancy of the wealthy and everyone else has been widening." They don't care if everyone else dies off, in fact they'd prefer it, if it would save them some money. So long as things go swimmingly for those at the top of the food chain (and their hired stooges, the politicians), America is truly Great.

-- Mal

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 10:53 AM

4. Is America Becoming A Third World Country? Robt. Reich



2019

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 12:42 PM

5. I remember.

The years that should have been my most productive and well-paid began during the Reagan regime. Before that, my income rose steadily as a self-employed professional.
After Reagan's misrule, I became one of the victims of his predatory capitalism.
I haven't bought a pair of new shoes in years. Fortunately, I'm a shoemaker, among other things. Leather has gotten ridiculously expensive, even though it's a by-product of the ever-expanding food industry.
It's been even longer since I bought a new pair of pants or a shirt.

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