Could you survive on just $2.50 a day? According to Compassion International, approximately half of the population of the entire planet currently lives on $2.50 a day or less. Meanwhile, those hoarding wealth at the very top of the global pyramid are rapidly becoming a lot wealthier. Don’t get me wrong – I am a very big believer in working hard and contributing something of value to society, and those that work the hardest and contribute the most should be able to reap the rewards. In this article I am in no way, shape or form criticizing true capitalism, because if true capitalism were actually being practiced all over the planet we would have far, far less poverty today. Instead, our planet is dominated by a heavily socialized debt-based central banking system that systematically transfers wealth from hard working ordinary citizens to the global elite. Those at the very top of the pyramid know that they are impoverishing everyone else, and they very much intend to keep it that way.
Let’s start with some of the hard numbers. According to Zero Hedge, Credit Suisse had just released their yearly report on global wealth, and it shows that 45.6 percent of all the wealth in the world is controlled by just 0.7 percent of the people…
As Credit Suisse tantalizingly shows year after year, the number of people who control just shy of a majority of global net worth, or 45.6% of the roughly $255 trillion in household wealth, is declining progressively relative to the total population of the world, and in 2016 the number of people who are worth more than $1 million was just 33 million, roughly 0.7% of the world’s population of adults. On the other end of the pyramid, some 3.5 billion adults had a net worth of less than $10,000, accounting for just about $6 trillion in household wealth.
And since this is a yearly report, we can go back and see how things have changed over time. When Zero Hedge did this, it was discovered that the wealth of those at the very top “has nearly doubled” over the past six years, and meanwhile the poor have gotten even poorer…
Incidentally, we tracked down the first Credit Suisse report we found in this series from 2010, where the total wealth of the top “layer” in the pyramid was a modest $69.2 trillion for the world’s millionaires. It has nearly doubled in the 6 years since then. Meanwhile, the world’s poorest have gotten, you got it, poorer, as those adults who were worth less than $10,000 in 2010 had a combined net worth of $8.2 trillion, a number which has since declined to $6.1 trillion in 2016 despite a half a billion increase in the sample size.
If these trends continue at this pace, it won’t be too long before the global elite have virtually all of the wealth and the rest of us have virtually nothing.
Perhaps you are fortunate enough to still have a good job, and you live in a large home and you will sleep in a warm bed tonight.
Well, you should consider yourself to be very blessed, because that is definitely not the case for most of the rest of the world. The following 11 facts about global poverty come from dosomething.com, and I want you to really let these numbers sink in for a moment…
- Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day.
- 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.
- 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat. Food banks are especially important in providing food for people that can’t afford it themselves. Run a food drive outside your local grocery store so people in your community have enough to eat. Sign up for Supermarket Stakeout.
- More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day.
- In 2011, 165 million children under the age 5 were stunted (reduced rate of growth and development) due to chronic malnutrition.
- Preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia take the lives of 2 million children a year who are too poor to afford proper treatment.
- As of 2013, 21.8 million children under 1 year of age worldwide had not received the three recommended doses of vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
- 1/4 of all humans live without electricity — approximately 1.6 billion people.
- 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day.
- Oxfam estimates that it would take $60 billion annually to end extreme global poverty–that’s less than 1/4 the income of the top 100 richest billionaires.
- The World Food Programme says, “The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty.” Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.
So how did we get here?
Debt is the primary mechanism that takes wealth from ordinary people like you and me and puts it into the hands of the global elite.
In my recent article entitled “Why Donald Trump Must Shut Down The Federal Reserve And Start Issuing Debt-Free Money“, I discussed how the Federal Reserve was designed to entrap the U.S. government in an endless debt spiral from which it could never possibly escape. And that is precisely what has happened, as the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.
In that very same year, the federal income tax was instituted, and that is a key part of the program for the global elite. You see, the income tax is how wealth is transferred from us to the government. And then a continuously growing national debt is how that wealth is transferred from the government to the elite.
It is a very complicated system, but at the end of the day it is all about taking money from us and getting it into their pockets.
And at this point more than 99.9 percent of the population of the world lives in a country with a central bank, and almost every nation on the planet has some form of income tax.
It is a global system that is designed to create as much debt as possible, and I recently shared with my readers that the total amount of debt in the world has hit a staggering all-time record high of 152 trillion dollars.
Interestingly, the Bible actually foretells of a time when rich men would hoard wealth in the last days. The following are the first five verses of the Book of James in the Modern English Version…
Come now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasures for the last days. 4 Indeed the wages that you kept back by fraud from the laborers who harvested your fields are crying, and the cries of those who harvested have entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts. 5 You have lived in pleasure on the earth and have been wayward. You have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter.
So much of the time we focus on the other great sins that we see all around us, but the truth is that one of the greatest sins of all in our world today is the sin of greed.
The borrower is the servant of the lender, and the global elite have used various forms of debt to turn the rest of the planet into their debt slaves.
As debt levels race higher and higher all over the planet, the elite are using the magic of compound interest to grab a bigger and bigger share of the pie.
Given enough time, those at the very top would have virtually everything and the rest of us would have virtually nothing. The middle class is shrinking all over the globe, and the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to grow at an astounding pace.
But the vast majority of people out there have no idea how money, debt, taxes and central banks really work, and so they have no idea that this is purposely being done to them.
So please share this article with as many people as you can. The truth is that we don’t have to have this much global poverty, and if we correctly identify the root causes of this poverty we can start working on some real solutions.
When it comes to “prepping”, many among the elite take things to an entirely different level. As you will see below, the elite are willing to pay big money for cutting edge home security measures, luxury bomb shelters and superyacht getaway submarines. Some of the things that the elite are demanding for their own protection go beyond even what we would see in a James Bond film, and serving the prepping needs of the elite has become a multi-billion dollar business. Meanwhile, the media outlets that the elite own continue to mock the rest of us for getting prepared. All the time we see headlines like this one that appeared in a major American news source: “Preppers: Meet the paranoid Americans awaiting the apocalypse“. Well, if we are paranoid for setting aside some extra food and supplies for the future, what does that make the people that you will read about in this article?
The elite live in a world that is completely different from the world that you and I live in. In wealthy enclaves of major global cities such as London, elitists are willing to shell out massive amounts of money to ensure that everyone else is kept out. The following comes from an article that was just published a few hours ago by the London Evening Standard entitled “The paranoid world of London’s super-rich: DNA-laced security mist and superyacht getaway submarines“…
Business is booming because billionaires are a paranoid bunch. Take one who recently moved to Mayfair. ‘He wanted everything, from protection from cyber hacking through to physical intrusion and kidnapping,’ says Bond Gunning. ‘We ended up installing fingerprint-activated locks for family members and programmable keys for staff that limit the time they are allowed into the property and the rooms they are able to enter and exit.
‘Inside and outside we installed 24-hour monitored CCTV cameras that are so hi-tech they can tell the difference between a dog, cat and a person. In the garden there are thermal-imaging cameras that can detect heat sources in the undergrowth. One thing intruders can’t hide is the heat of their bodies.
‘Should an intruder evade the cameras or ignore the warnings they automatically broadcast, the property itself is protected by bulletproof glass and alarm sensors in all rooms. There is a bullet, gas and bombproof panic or safe room, with its own food and water, medical supplies and communications, and an impregnable supply of fresh air. Just in case the family cannot make it there in time, key rooms are sealed by reinforced shutters.’
But for many elitists, those kinds of extreme security measures are simply not enough. That is why sales of “luxury doomsday shelters” are absolutely soaring. If “the end of the world” arrives unexpectedly, high net worth individuals want to know that there will be somewhere for them and their families to go. The following is an excerpt from an article about one such facility located in Indiana…
As we roll down US Highway 41 in Terre Haute, Indiana , my guide insists I give him my iPhone. Then he tosses me a satin blindfold. The terms of our trip were clear—I wasn’t to know where we were going or how we got there.That’s because we’re on our way to the undisclosed location of an underground bunker designed to survive the end of the world, whatever form that apocalypse takes.
When I remove my blindfold, I am standing in a grassy clearing looking at a boxy concrete structure that serves as the entrance to a Cold War–era government communications facility gutted and reborn as Vivos Indiana. This is the Ritz Carlton of doomsday shelters, a hideout where residents can wait out a nuclear winter or a zombie apocalypse in luxury and style while the rest of humanity melts and disintegrates. The living area has 12-and-a-half-foot ceilings, sumptuous black leather couches, wall art featuring cheerful Parisian street scenes, towering faux ferns, and plush carpets. Faith Hill croons from a large-screen TV set in front of three rows of comfy beige reclining chairs. The cupboards are stocked with 60 varieties of freeze-dried and canned foodstuffs; an evening meal might include spaghetti aglio e olio topped with skillet fried steak chunks, a fresh tomato-and-zucchini salad fresh from the hydroponic garden, and decadent turtle brownies. An eight-by-nine bedroom is designed for four people (there are larger units for six) and comes with double-queen bunks clothed in 600-thread-count ivory sheets and duvet covers worthy of a four-star hotel, a comparison highlighted on the Vivos website.
That sounds lovely.
But normal people like us cannot afford something like that. It will only be the elite that will be able to afford to hole up in underground bunkers while the world above descends into madness.
Other elitists will be taking off in their superyachts and heading out into the open ocean when things really start falling to pieces. And if their superyachts are threatened, some of them even have “getaway subs”. Here is more from the Evening Standard…
The ultimate vehicle of choice is no longer an armoured limousine or a private jet. They’re so Noughties. If you want bragging rights these days, you need your own submarine, which floats out of a sub-sea compartment in your superyacht. ‘It’s a toy, but if the worst happened, it could also be an escape route,’ says one prominent London tycoon with a weakness for Monaco-berthed superyachts — provided they have military-grade radar jammers and missile and torpedo defences.
So exactly why are so many among the elite so concerned about their own security these days?
Why are so many of them going to such extraordinary lengths to prepare for worst case scenarios?
Do they know something that the rest of us do not?
In a previous article, I included a quote from an article in the Mirror that was published earlier this year entitled “Panicked super rich buying boltholes with private airstrips to escape if poor rise up“…
Robert Johnson, president of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, told people at the World Economic Forum in Davos that many hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes.
He said: “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.”
The next time that someone criticizes you for prepping, just point out what the elite are doing.
Clearly, many of them are deeply concerned that something may be coming.
So are you preparing?
If so, what are you preparing for?
Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…
When it comes to geopolitics, there are often wheels working within wheels that are working within wheels. Once in a while we get a peek behind the scenes, but for the most part the machinations of the global elite remain shrouded in mystery most of the time. And sometimes the global elite appear to be doing things that, on the surface, do not seem to make much sense at all. What is going on in Europe is a perfect example of this. If everyone was negotiating honestly, I believe that a Greek debt deal would have been reached by now. As this endless crisis has stretched on month after month, it has become increasingly apparent that more is going on here than meets the eye. In particular, the IMF has been standing in the way of a deal time after time. So what do IMF officials want? Are they looking for the “unconditional surrender” of this new Greek government in order to send a message to other governments that would potentially defy them? Or could it be possible that the IMF actually wants a Greek debt default for some other insidious reason?
When the latest Greek proposal was embraced with enthusiasm by EU officials, many hoped that this meant that the crisis would soon be resolved. But it turns out that there is still one very important player that is not happy, and that is the IMF. The following comes from the Wall Street Journal…
But the IMF is still unhappy with key aspects of Greece’s new economic proposals and German officials were irritated by the speed with which the commission welcomed them, warning that much work needs to be done.
Greece’s plan calls for reducing the deficits in its pension system and government budget by relying heavily on raising taxes and social-security contributions, whereas the IMF wanted bigger spending cuts.
The Washington-based IMF has said Greece’s economy is already too heavily taxed and that too many additional tax increases would hurt economic growth, making it harder to pay down Greece’s debt.
“It is still short of everything that should be expected,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Monday, suggesting Greece will have to modify its proposals significantly to win the IMF’s backing.
So what would make the IMF “happy”?
Would anything short of total capitulation by the Greek government suffice?
Meanwhile, members of Syriza are expressing a high level of frustration with the compromises that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has already agreed to. At this point, there is even doubt whether the current Greek proposal could get through the Greek parliament. The following comes from Bloomberg…
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is facing the first signs of dissent within his own party over his latest plan to end a five-month standoff with creditors.
Some of Syriza’s more radical and populist lawmakers expressed opposition Tuesday to the proposal as the deal’s backers called on members to see the bigger picture.
“Personally, I cannot support such an agreement that is contrary to our election promises,” Dimitris Kodelas, a Syriza lawmaker associated with former Maoists, said in an interview. “I do not care about the consequences of my decision.”
Despite all of the optimism that we have seen this week, the odds of a Greek debt deal getting pushed through are looking slimmer by the day.
And even if a deal somehow miraculously happens, all it would really mean is that the can has been kicked down the road for a few more months…
Assuming Tsipras can force the deal through the Greek parliament, and that key creditors such as the IMF and Germany accept it too, it will do little more than buy time for negotiations on yet another rescue.
The final tranche of cash from the existing bailout should be enough to meet repayments due to the IMF and European Central Bank through the end of August. But the Greek government will then have to find more than two billion euros for both institutions in September and October.
“If this week concludes with agreement between Greece and its creditors, it won’t be long before the next chapter in this drama,” said Angus Campbell, senior analyst at FxPro.
And no matter what happens by the end of this month, it is a virtual certainty that the economic depression in Greece will just continue to deepen.
At this point, normal economic activity in the nation has pretty much ground to a halt. Just consider the following excerpt from a recent Zero Hedge article…
“Business-to-business payments have almost been paused,” one Athens businessman says. “They are just rolling over postdated cheques.”
For Greek banks, mortgage loans left unserviced by strategic defaulters have become a particular headache, especially since the Syriza-led government says it is committed to protecting low-income homeowners from foreclosures on their properties
“There’s a real issue of moral hazard . . . Around 70 percent of restructured mortgage loans aren’t being serviced because people think foreclosures will only be applied to big villa owners,” one banker said.
For a long time, I have been warning that the next major economic crisis would begin in Europe before spreading across the entire globe.
Greece has a relatively small economy, but Italy, Spain and France are going down the exact same road that Greece has gone.
And what IMF officials are doing right now is that they are setting a precedent for future debt negotiations that they know are almost certainly coming with other countries in the future.
Sadly, most of my readers (being Americans) don’t really grasp the importance of what is going on over in Europe. We are watching a horrific train wreck unfold in slow-motion, and what is going to happen over the next few weeks is going to have massive implications for the entire planet.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard and making a lot of money, but there is something wrong with being completely arrogant and smug about it. Today, many among the elite are savagely mocking the poor, and that is a huge mistake. You shouldn’t kick people when they are down. There are tens of millions of Americans that are deeply frustrated about losing their homes, losing their jobs or barely being able to survive in this economy. These frustrations have been one of the primary reasons for the rise of the Tea Party movement and the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement. What these movements have in common is that people in both movements are sick and tired of the status quo and they want something to be done about our broken system. There are huge numbers of families out there right now that have just about reached the end of their ropes. Instead of showing compassion, many of the ultra-wealthy have decided that it is funny to mock the poor and those that are suffering. So how are all of these protesters going to respond to the “let them eat cake” attitude of the Wall Street elite? The protesters are being told that nothing that they can do will change anything and that they should be grateful for what Wall Street and the ultra-wealthy have done for them. They are essentially being told that they should just shut up and go home. So will we see these protest movements become discouraged and die down, or will the patronizing attitudes of so many among the elite just inflame them even further?
Right now, there really are two different “Americas”. In one America, the stock market is surging, corporate profits are soaring and BMW is operating factories at 110% of capacity just to keep up with demand.
In the other America, unemployment is rampant, millions of families are being kicked out of their homes and more than 45 million Americans are on food stamps.
There is more economic frustration in this country today than there has been at any other time since the Great Depression. We are watching pressure build to very dangerous levels.
It is important to note that I certainly do not agree at all with the solutions being put forward by the organizers of the Occupy Wall Street protests. As I have written about previously, collectivism is one of our biggest problems, and more collectivism is not going to solve anything.
But it is definitely understandable that people are incredibly upset about this economy and that they want to protest. Most Americans realize that something is fundamentally wrong with our economic system.
Unfortunately, most of them do not understand how we have gotten to this point or what it is going to take to fix things. That is one of the reasons why I write about economic issues so much. We desperately need to educate America.
But what is undeniable is that there is a growing rage in this country that protest movements such as the Occupy Wall Street are giving a voice to.
Our system is badly broken. The people out there protesting in the streets may not understand much, but they do understand that something needs to change.
The Wall Street elite should be taking these protests as a signal that they need to get their house in order. The status quo just is not going to cut it. But instead of taking leadership and calling for significant change, many among the elite are openly mocking the protesters.
The incredible arrogance displayed by so many on Wall Street and by so many in Washington D.C. is absolutely appalling.
The following are 10 examples of how the elite are openly mocking the poor in America today….
#1 According to an article in The New York Times, poor families that lost their homes to foreclosure were openly mocked during a Halloween party thrown by the law firm of Steven J. Baum. This particular law firm represents many of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States….
The firm, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
Photos from this Halloween party are posted on The New York Times website. To say that they are appalling would be a huge understatement. The following is how The New York Times described one of the photos….
In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.
#2 To many on Wall Street, the OWS protests are one big joke. In fact, Wall Street executives have been spotted sipping champagne while watching the Occupy Wall Street protests from their balconies.
#3 In response to the Occupy Chicago protests, signs were put up in the windows of the building where the Chicago Board of Trade is located that spelled out this sentence: “We Are The 1%“.
#4 Many columnists for major financial publications have had no fear of mocking the Occupy Wall Street protesters. For example, Doug Hirschhorn recently wrote the following for Forbes….
As your Occupation of Wall Street continues, you may want to grasp a few things. First, it is not going to change anything in the short term and probably not much in the long-term either.
I hate to be the bearer of that news, but money makes the world go round and “Wall Street” is all about money. Second, the top traders, banks and hedge funds are still going to out earn and generate substantial profits from speculating on the disconnects in the prices of things generated from all the moving parts in the global economy and it has nothing to do with why you lost your house or job or can’t find a job. If anything the successful ones are helping you, your pensions funds, retirement savings and the economy in general. If Wall Street stops. The world stops. Period.
#5 Instead of attempting a balanced report on the Occupy Wall Street protests, Erin Burnett of CNN openly made fun of them during a recent broadcast. After being a stalwart on CNBC for so many years, Burnett has very close ties to Wall Street and apparently she does not like anyone criticizing her friends. You can see video of Burnett mocking the Occupy Wall Street movement right here.
#6 Barack Obama continues to mock the poor by telling them to cut back on vacations and little luxuries like going out to eat while at the same time sending his own family out on incredibly expensive vacations. The following is one example I noted in an article earlier this year….
Barack Obama recently made the following statement to American families that are struggling to survive in this economy: “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, or you might put off a vacation.” A few days after making that statement Obama sent his wife and children off on yet another vacation, this time to a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado.
Later on in that same article I mentioned another outrageously expensive vacation taken by the Obamas that was paid for by our taxes….
Back in August, Michelle Obama took her daughter Sasha and 40 of her friends for a vacation in Spain.
So what was the bill to the taxpayers for that little jaunt across the pond?
It is estimated that vacation alone cost U.S. taxpayers $375,000.
During a time when so many millions of American families are deeply, deeply suffering it is truly appalling that the residents of the White House would be so insensitive.
#7 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain recently declared that anyone that is unemployed or poor in America should only blame themselves….
“Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”
#8 Sometimes our politicians are so insensitive that it is almost hard to believe. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News while she was still the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi stated that we need poor people to have less children because it costs the government so much money to take care of them….
PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?
PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.
#9 Warren Buffett has some interesting observations on class warfare. He is one of the few wealthy Americans that is willing to say what everyone else is thinking. Back in 2006, Buffett was quoted as saying the following in an article in The New York Times….
“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
Buffett was not taking pride in the fact that the elite have won, but there are many others among the elite that are very proud of what they have done and they are not afraid to look down on the poor.
The level of income inequality that we have in the United States today is absolutely amazing. According to data from a few years ago, the average household income for the top 0.01% of all Americans was $27,342,212. According to that same data, for the bottom 90% of all Americans the average household income was just $31,244.
#10 Every single day, our “representatives” in Washington D.C. are living the high life at our expense. It is amazing that out of the entire population of the United States, we continue to overwhelming elect rich people to Congress. As I noted in a recent article, more than half of all the members of Congress are millionaires, and the median wealth of a U.S. Senator in 2009 was 2.38 million dollars.
Without a doubt, the wealthy rule over us all and they intend to maintain control and perpetuate the system which has rewarded them so handsomely.
When necessary, they are not afraid to call in the police to bust some skulls. Sadly, we are already seeing some brutally violent confrontations between law enforcement authorities and Occupy Wall Street protesters in many areas of the country. The other day, I wrote about the horrific violence that took place in Oakland recently….
Unfortunately, the authorities are not just going to sit by and watch these protests happen. In fact, they are already clamping down hard in many areas of the nation. For example, police in Oakland recently used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the Occupy protest in that city. When police opened fire, the streets of Oakland literally became a war zone for a few minutes. You can see shocking videos of the violence here, here and here.
Power and wealth have become incredibly concentrated in the United States today. As one scientific study demonstrated recently, the elite control almost the entire global economy. In fact, the University of Zurich study discovered that there are just 147 gigantic corporations at the core of it all.
It is not a good thing that such a very small group of people completely dominates all the rest of us.
Once again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard, making great contributions to society and becoming very wealthy.
However, what we have today is a fundamentally broken system that funnels most of the wealth and most of the power into the hands of the ultra-wealthy and the gigantic corporations that they own.
It would be great if the American people could come together and work to make some positive changes to our system.
But right now, it appears that strife, discord and hatred are going to continue to rapidly grow in this country. We have become a very divided nation and we are watching anger and frustration grow to very dangerous levels.
All of this is a recipe for mass chaos. Our country is marching toward a date with disaster and right now we show no signs of changing course.
Please pray for America.
We definitely need it.
Not everyone has been doing badly during the economic turmoil of the last few years. In fact, there are some Americans that are doing really, really well. While the vast majority of us struggle, there is one small segment of society that is seemingly doing better than ever. This was reflected in a recent article on CNBC in which it was noted that companies that cater to average Americans are doing rather poorly right now while companies that market luxury goods and services are generally performing exceptionally well. So why aren’t all American consumers jumping on the spending bandwagon? Well, it seems that there are a large number of Americans who either can’t spend a lot of money right now or who are very hesitant to. A stunningly high number of Americans are still unemployed, and for many other Americans, there is a very real fear that hard economic times will return soon. On the other hand, there is a significant percentage of Americans who are blowing money on luxury goods and services as if the economy has fully turned around and it is time to let the good times roll. So exactly what in the world is going on here?
Well, in 2010 life is very, very different depending on whether you are a “have” or a “have not”. The recent article on CNBC referenced above described it this way….
Consumer spending in the U.S. has turned into a tale of two cities in 2010, with an entire segment of consumers splurging confidently on the finer things in life, while another segment, concerned about unemployment and with little or no discretionary income, spends only on bare necessities.
So why is this happening?
It is happening because the rich are getting richer and they have plenty of money to buy stuff and the poor are getting poorer and have less money to spend than ever.
In case you haven’t been paying attention over the past couple of decades, what we have in America today is a system that is designed to funnel as much wealth into the hands of the elite as possible.
This isn’t capitalism that we have in America in 2010. Instead, what we have created is a system where the laws are set up so that the power elite and their big, dominant corporations always win.
Why do you think so many of America’s largest corporations pay so little in taxes?
Why do you think so many of them are showered with government subsidies, tax breaks and bailouts?
It’s not about competition anymore.
It’s about rigging the game in your favor.
The power elite and the giant corporations they control spend millions and millions on lobbying and campaign contributions and they expect a big return on that investment.
Let’s take a look at one example. Many people think that Barack Obama and the Democrats are supposed to be anti-business, right?
Well then why are some of Barack Obama’s biggest donors the very same corporations that are receiving giant bailouts, making record profits and paying their employees billions in bonuses?
Goldman Sachs was Barack Obama’s second biggest donor. Microsoft was number four. Citigroup was number six. JPMorgan Chase was number seven. Time Warner was number eight.
Are you starting to get the picture?
Every single year, the U.S. Congress passes law after law after law that makes it easier for big corporations to dominate and makes it easier for the rich to get even richer.
America’s economy is not about competition anymore.
It is about eliminating competition.
And unfortunately for middle class Americans, the giant predator corporations that now dominate our economy are realizing that they don’t really need nearly as many American workers anymore.
Instead, they are slowly but surely shipping our jobs off to the other side of the world where workers are willing to work for about a tenth as much.
And yet we still run out to the “big box” stores and fill up our carts with a bunch of plastic crap made on the other side of the world by these giant corporations.
Meanwhile, those giant corporations are taking the profits they make out of our communities and they are taking our jobs and are shipping them overseas.
So in the final analysis, is it any wonder why the income inequality gap is growing?
Without small businesses having a legitimate chance to compete and without good jobs for American workers, the middle class in America is going to continue to get chewed up and spit out.
The following are 30 statistics that prove that the elite are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is being destroyed in 2010….
The Rich Are Getting Richer
1 – As of 2007, the top 1 percent of all Americans was taking home 24 percent of the national income. This was a level that had not been seen since the days of the Great Depression.
2 – Incomes have been growing in the United States, but those at the very top of the pyramid have been gobbling up almost all of the income growth. According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
3 – Even official government figures bear out the fact that the rich are getting richer. An analysis of income-tax data by the Congressional Budget Office a few years ago found that the top 1% of all American households own nearly twice as much of the corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
4– Most Americans have suffered during the last few years, but not the boys and girls down on Wall Street. New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says that Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
5 – Even as the number of Americans living in poverty skyrockets, the number of millionaires just keeps growing. In fact, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million during 2009.
6 – The amount of money some of these Wall Street hotshots are making is incredible. Back in 2005, the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of 9 billion dollars. That would be bad enough, but even in these hard economic times the rich just keep getting richer. One year after the recent financial collapse the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of approximately $25 billion. That breaks down to an average of $1 billion each. The truth is that the United States has been experiencing uneven prosperity for quite some time and things just seem to get worse with each passing year.
The Poor Are Getting Poorer
7 – Government anti-poverty programs are exploding in size in response to the recent economic difficulties. USA Today is reporting that a record one in six Americans are now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program.
8 – Over 50 million Americans are on now Medicaid. That figure is up more than 17 percent since the beginning of the recession.
9 – The number of Americans in the food stamp program rose to a new all-time record of 40.8 million in May. That number is up almost 50 percent since the beginning of the recession.
10 – The number of Americans who cannot afford even the basic necessities is absolutely staggering. A whopping 50 million Americans could not afford to buy enough food in order to stay healthy at some point over the last year.
11 – Compared to other industrialized nations, the United States is doing very poorly. The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
12 – The saddest part of this is what we are doing to our children. According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010.
13 – But the American people cannot provide for their families if they don’t have jobs. Today there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone. In 2010, it takes the average unemployed American worker over 8 months to find a job.
14 – Approximately 10 million Americans are currently receiving unemployment insurance, which is a number that is nearly four times higher than what it was at back in 2007.
15 – The truth is that we are creating a permanent underclass of Americans that cannot get jobs. The number of Americans receiving long-term unemployment benefits has increased over 60 percent in just the past year.
16 – Increasingly, the wealth of the United States is being held in fewer and fewer hands. One study found that as of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
17 – It is not a good time to be living in “the bottom half” in America. The size of “the pie” being divided up among those at the low end of the wage scale is becoming really, really small. In fact, the bottom 40 percent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
The Middle Class Is Being Destroyed
18 – Even those Americans that still do have decent jobs are seeing their wealth fade rapidly. For example, U.S. families have $6 trillion less in housing wealth than they did just three years ago.
19 – Home ownership used to be a sign that one had arrived in the middle class, but in 2010 an increasing number of Americans are finding out that they simply can’t afford their homes anymore. One out of every seven mortgages were either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.
20 – The reality is that incomes have just not kept up with housing costs. This has put an incredible amount of pressure on the middle class. Just how much pressure? Well, only the top 5 percent of all U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
21 – The debt binge middle class Americans have been on over the past couple of decades has drained many of them completely dry, and now more Americans than ever have bad credit scores. Over 25 percent of Americans now have a credit score below 599, which means that they are a very bad credit risk.
22 – A rapidly rising number of Americans are actually choosing bankruptcy as a way out of their financial problems. Nationwide, bankruptcy filings rose 20 percent in the 12 month period ending this past June 30th.
23 – The middle class manufacturing jobs that once defined so many American cities are rapidly disappearing. Despite the fact that the U.S. population has dramatically increased, less Americans are employed in manufacturing today than in 1950.
24 – These days it seems like almost everyone is looking for a good job, but very few people are finding them. According to one recent survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.
25 – Even many of those Americans that still have decent jobs have been hit hard by this economic downturn. A recent Pew Research survey found that 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.
26 – The number of jobs that are evaporating is absolutely stunning. According to one analysis, the United States has lost a total of 10.5 million jobs since 2007.
27 – So where are the jobs going? It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. China’s trade surplus (much of it with the United States) climbed 140 percent in June compared to a year earlier.
28 – The truth is that “globalism” and “free trade” have put middle class American workers in direct competition with the cheapest labor in the world. This is what middle class American workers must now compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
29 – Due to these difficult economic conditions, the middle class is being squeezed as never before. According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck. That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
30 – So what kind of future do our young people have in front of them? Unfortunately, things don’t look pretty. Many fresh college graduates can’t even get a job that will allow them to be independent. One recent survey of last year’s college graduates discovered that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation. That was up significantly from 63 percent in 2006.