Gap Grows Between U.S. Richie Riches and Wretched American Poor

Of America's many great achievements in this young century, nothing can really top the savage rape and murder of the American Dream. Nobody really mentions it anymore, but ancient texts refer to this notion that everyone, through hard work, could become free and happy through the earning of riches, and then their kids would do even better, etc. Well, it is no longer true. Since the year 2000, only the wealthy have made more money. Everybody else is fucked, and the divide is rapidly getting wider. This is the conclusion of a three-year study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a communist-terrorist group consisting of the United States and other rich nations.

The gap between America's rich and poor has been growing for decades -- since the Reagan Era, specifically -- but the lopsided prosperity of the Clinton years did trickle down a little bit to the poor, and the middle class was barely holding on to its shaky rung of the ladder. Those minimal gains were violently reversed beginning in 2001, when what's-his-name and the gang took over the country.

Now, the poor have some new friends, as "the gap also increased between the rich and the middle class."

But how does America compare to the other OECD nations?

The United States is the country with the highest inequality level and poverty rate across the OECD, Mexico and Turkey excepted. Since 2000, income inequality has increased rapidly, continuing a long-term trend that goes back to the 1970s.

Rich households in America have been leaving both middle and poorer income groups behind. This has happened in many countries, but nowhere has this trend been so stark as in the United States. The average income of the richest 10% is US$93,000 in purchasing power parities, the highest level in the OECD. However, the poorest 10% of the US citizens have an income of US$5,800 per year -- about 20% lower than the average for OECD countries.

Huzzah! We are doing a bit better than Mexico and Turkey!

Whatever its historical flaws and prejudices against various races and women, the American ideal was that you could achieve things regardless of your class or background, as opposed to entrenched aristocratic, class and caste-based societies where your lot in life was determined by birth.

But mobility is no longer a regular part of American life. You have a much better chance of going from poor to rich in Old Europe Viking Lands such as Denmark and Sweden!

The gap is even bigger when it comes to U.S. Wealth, as opposed to earned income. The top 10% of Americans hold 71% of all wealth, while the top 1% alone holds up to 33% of all the nation's wealth.

So, who cares, right? Actually, you should care a lot -- especially if you're in the lucky Top 10%. Those bitters are growing in number, and growing in bitterness.

Launching the report in Paris, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría warned of the dangers posed by inequality and the need for governments to tackle it. "Growing inequality is divisive. It polarises societies, it divides regions within countries, and it carves up the world between rich and poor. Greater income inequality stifles upward mobility between generations, making it harder for talented and hard-working people to get the rewards they deserve. Ignoring increasing inequality is not an option."

A key driver of income inequality has been the number of low-skilled and poorly educated who are out of work.

You know what this is describing: a Sarah Palin rally. At some point, these people are going to put down the remote and pick up their guns and start hunting rich people. And they're not going to get anywhere close to Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, so you're going to look like a pretty good target, sitting there at the Starbucks with your $3 coffee and your MacBook and new Prius in the parking lot.

Income inequality and poverty rising in most OECD countries [OECD]

Study shows gap growing between rich and poor [AP]


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