Saturday, May 3, 2008

Gap Between Rich and Poor Keeps Widening

The so-called economic boom over the last 2 decades have not benefited the great majority of the American people. Although the widening gap precedes the Bush years, this individual born into privilege and great wealth has only made things worse:

There have always been "haves" and "have-nots" in the United States, but over the past three decades, the gap between them has gotten a lot wider, statistics from congressional numbers crunchers show.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, income for the bottom half of American households rose six percent since 1979 but, through 2005, the income of the top one percent skyrocketed - by 228 percent.

[...]About 70 percent of the economy is based on consumer spending, and that's presenting another problem, Greenhouse say: "What we're seeing now is gas prices soaring and debt levels soaring - a lot of Americans are not going out and buying so-called discretionary items like cars and flat-screen TVs, because people have to concentrate on buying food for their families and paying for health insurance and paying for utilities. So, right now, a lot of retail stores are hurting, and in turn, that's hurting a lot of American manufacturers.

"It's not unique to the United States because right now, worldwide, fuel prices are soaring. So, in Europe, in Japan, and the United States, consumers are feeling the squeeze. I think there's more inequality in the United States between the top and the bottom. It's not nearly as bad as in Europe, but I think the people on the bottom and even in the middle here in the United States are being squeezed worse than in many other countries."

What can be done about it?

Possible remedies, Greenhouse says, include enrolling more low income students in college, increasing pay for lower-wage union workers, and revitalizing the manufacturing base.

"A little-known secret is that, over the past seven years, the United States has lost one in five manufacturing jobs," he said. "Those are usually jobs that pay good wages, middle-class wages, usually provide middle-class benefits on health and pensions, and the United States seems not to be paying attention to this huge problem that has lost 3.5 million manufacturing jobs, and I think the government and industry have to work together to figure out how to preserve jobs."

There is a real solution. And that is the overthrowing of the two-party dictatorship that is driving this country into the ground. But that can only been done through the electoral process and by an alternative political movement. Visit the The People's Platform website and learn what you can do.