The Rich and the Rest of Us in the United States

Most of America is poor, broke, and getting poorer. So shows new Census statistics for 2011. Real median income for households declined 1.5% to $50,054 and has declined for the second year in a row. The household median income is 8.1% lower than 2007 and 8.9% lower than 1999!   The median belies the growing income inequality in the United States. Below is the Census graph of real household income by selected percentiles and illustrates our tragic unequal state. The top 5% increased their income by 66.2% while the the median income has only increased 19% since 1967. Real means inflation is removed.

household income percentile 2011

By age, the decline is for those under the age of 65 where median income for households dropped 2.1% from 2010 alone. The below Census graph showing the percent change in income from 2010 to 2011 per age bracket. One reason those between ages 55 to 64 are hammered might be workplace hiring age discrimination.

household income change by age 2011

The survey breaks up household equivalence-adjusted income by quintiles, evenly distributed. Equivalence-adjusted means they are accounting for the size of the household that income supports. The below pie chart illustrates the quintile distribution scale and notice the colors.

household income quintile

Now watch how equivalence-adjusted income is distributed per quintile in the below pie chart. The colors match the above pie chart. The top 20% are getting half of the income pie. The bottom 5th are only getting 3.4% of the equivalence-adjusted income. The poor and the middle class are getting crumbs, in so many words.

household income distribution percentage by quintile

Gets worse than that. Of the top 20% household income earners, the top 5% are getting 22.1% of that income. This is income inequality as it's finest. Welcome to the banana republic of the United States.

The below Census graph shows the last change in income by percentiles from 2010 to 2011. This graph should outrage you. Once again the top 20% of income earners gained while the middle class was hammered. The top 5th of income earners gained 1.6% from last year on income, with the top 5% increasing their income by 5.3%. Then, look at the middle class. The bottom 5th probably had no statistical change because they are already operating on fumes. Once again, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the poor being the U.S. middle class.

household income percentile change 2010 to 2011

The Gini index is an international measure of income inequality and going up in value is bad, unless of course you're a super rich and enjoy stepping on the down trodden. From the report:

Based on the Gini index, income inequality increased by 1.6 percent between 2010 and 2011; this represents the first time the Gini index has shown an annual increase since 1993, the earliest year available for comparable measures of income inequality. The Gini index was 0.477 in 2011. (The Gini index is a measure of household income inequality; zero represents perfect income equality and 1 perfect inequality.)

Below is a graph of the United States Gini index. These new results put the United States on par with China, the Dominican Republic, Napal and Ecuador for income inequality according to the CIA ranking.

gini index u.s. 2011

In other words, the United States, with all of her soaring rhetoric and American dreams is really a banana republic income inequality nightmare.

We'll have much more overviews of this report. For now we leave you with this damning report statistic:

During the 2-year period from 2009 to 2010, approximately 28.0 percent of the population had at least one spell of poverty lasting 2 or more months.



Trickle down economics and poverty

The numbers in your post say a lot. It makes the argument for trickle down economics seem somewhat self defeating because consumer spending is so vital to job growth. If businesses don't want to trickle, then how does increasing income disparity increase job growth?

income inequality decreases job growth

People forget globalization, and it was rightly characterized by wage repression. By offshore outsourcing jobs and bringing in foreign guest workers it wage represses the U.S.

Trickle upon economics does not increase job growth, at least any statistical correlation I've seen, so that's the problem, labor is an after thought these days. Maybe even call it after birth the way politicians and some economists look at labor. Something to "reduce the costs of".

Outrage, it's what's for dinner (and breakfast and lunch)

Scary, and truly depressing (at least for non-rulers). In true banana republic form, I'd love to see an analysis on some site that detailed political contributions vs. criminal prosecutions. In all banana republics, money and corruption trump the rule of law - laws apply to the little people only. Remember Helmsley said that regarding taxes in the 1980s and was mocked universally for it? Nowadays, it's okay and par for the course. Now she'd be seen as a job creator and we can all wipe her ass or die according to other job destroyers, media, and politicians. Sad.

Such a prosecution (or complete lack thereof) vs. donations analysis would involve too much work because like all other truths in 2012 US of Oligarchs, it would be ignored because it doesn't sell anything and might wake more people who still have jobs from their slumber. Phone hacking prosecutions, RICO prosecutions, FCPA prosecutions, money laundering prosecutions, conspiracy prosecutions, bribery prosecutions, etc. Easy enough to start at the DOJ/US Attorneys' levels - perhaps the DOJ would be so kind as to get one of their SES workers or GS-15s or Public Information Offices working on such a study. We all know they aren't prosecuting bankers or Murdoch for phone hacking + bribery, so they've got the time (and they also have hundreds of analysts who should be working on such studies too for our taxmoney).

Honestly, this and other studies should scare the living sh*t out of any living, breathing American. We are honestly moving full-speed ahead BACKWARDS! Things are supposed to get easier as years pass, not harder. But we see things are getting easier for those in power and harder for the rest of us. The American Dream is dead. And it's not even living better than our parents that's a goal. It's now being able to survive, to afford medical care so we can live into our 40s or 50s! Diagnosed with cancer? If you don't have a good job, then you're literally going to die. Even routine physicals, vision, and dental examinations are cost-prohibitive. Home ownership. Dead. Stable job. Dead. Caring about school because it pays off. Bullsh*t, you are a debt slave and unemployed. Some woman is forced into homelessness and raped or murdered because some plutocrat simply had to make $20 million more and fired her and 5,000 other people and other people refused to hire her because she was unemployed or overqualified? How's that for a Norman Rockwell painting? Should we take one more day of that? I know the greedy piggies at the top don't care about her or tens of millions of other Americans, but we do, and we want real accountability and real change now.
OUTRAGE, it's what's for dinner!

We never had a chance.

We in the middle, we trying to get to the middle, we trying to stay in the middle - were never going to make it. Strive as you might, work as hard as you can, follow the rules - doesn't matter.

What we thought of as the middle really wasn't. An econommic and social structure based on lies.

That's why the middle class leads revolutions - peaceful

Skills + expensive education + no chance to use either one = slight disenchantment. Robespierre, although we all disagree with his methods, was middle class. Seems Louis XVI didn't even have time for middle class Robespierre when he was a student prepared to greet him at a ceremony. Apparently Robes held a grudge. Oh well. Work hard + be honest + lifelong learning should = success or at least enough to provide for a family. Oops, did I just deprive a "non-profit" university of some cutting edge theory? Well, if I see this theory in some journal that no one reads by some professor, I'll demand my royalties. F it, "non-profit" my ass. Ask us for one more donation, please. Non-profit while administrators are making $500,000+ and 27 million Americans are unemployed, including millions of college and grad school alums?! Nonprofit, what a joke.

Love this. So true.

Love this. So true.

2012 Dutch East India Company and British East India Company

I'm tired because these words reach the choir and I'm sick of preaching. But seriously, isn't this the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia under the Dutch East India Company or India under the British East India Company? I say these words because I know in 1, or 2, or 20 years, the same psychopaths killing us now will say, "No one told me I was destroying the USA. Gosh, if only someone told me (while jumping over 100 hurdles to reach them) I could've saved the USA". Didn't those corporate folks dictate policy? Except now, and I want to be very clear on this, our government at all levels and our press has been completely bought like paid whores. Yes, like paid whores. Ask Bill O'Reilly or Stossel or MSNBC to describe how different we are from those nations and times (if they could find those countries on a map without help or without a $20 million annual script they must follow).

Again, our Founding Fathers said nothing about profit over democracy, NOTHING, NOTHING. We are a nation of freedoms and ideas, not business and profit. If businesses make profits, great, but never at the expense of democracy or freedom. Were thinkers like Descartes and Voltaire and Rousseau or our folks like Franklin and Madison and Paine and Washington and Jefferson ever talking about profit? About banker bonuses? About derivatives? About corporations or banks? Oh, when they did, they weren't speaking very highly of them, that's for sure. I want my country back, not for me, because unlike corporate boards and politician whores, I'm not selfish and profits and corporate boards never dictate policies. I want it back for my friends, my neighbors, for my fellow Americans that I'll never meet but I care about, and for the rest of the world - the Bill of Rights isn't sponsored by JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs or anyone else you dumb corporate bastards. Freaking idiots make us repeat the obvious ad nauseum, and because they rape and steal they think they are better than us because we want to trust our fellow Americans for a second or two while we just want a chance to rest and look out for others. Rot in Hell idiots, rot.

Sold to the highest bidder

In a society where money is all that matters - people sell out. The choice is clear, join the robbers or adapt to poverty. Most will adapt, never considering stealing.

The whole things makes me sad enough to want to cry,for all of us.

I share your despair

It baffles me that people can't see what the endgame is in all this. When I think about it I just want to curl up in a little ball and weep.

Their goal is to gut (already

Their goal is to gut (already achieved) and delete citizen protections against Bigness governing our lives, whether Big Business or Big Government---SAME DIFFERENCE---in the Constitution and, once that connective tissue is castrated, return the world to a newer improved high-tech feudalism (nearly achieved).

The present is composed of governments run by representatives from global corporations AGAINST the best interests of their citizens. The government is as if invaded and occupied by traitors doing their pirate council's bidding. There is no patriotism involved any more at any level above that of the citizen-dupe. Those are given, by their media, flags to wave as if the team is working for them, not against them, which the citizenry dutifully flies. It's fool-proof, in that fools are plentiful. If the fools awoke to realize they outnumber the traitors in and around government by a factor of 300,000 to 1, it would take 3 months to remove the cancer and bring back the Republic, currently dead. For that to come about, it would take leadership currently nonexistant, and the problems are metasticizing.

Wish you would tighten up

Wish you would tighten up your rhetoric, it could soar, instead of repetitively meandering into half-expressed asides that clog up its maneuverability.

Credible & Powerful

Robert's research is impeccable and message compelling. How can this information not have impact on policy makers? It deserves the widest possible sharing.

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awesome info!

hope you don't mind that i've pilfered some of the graphics here for a post on my blog.

good work - loads of info.