Reuters has a report from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Economic Policy Institute showing that, “Since the late 1990’s average incomes have declined 2.5 percent for families on the bottom fifth of the country’s economic ladder, while incomes have increased 9.1 percent for families on the top fifth.” The report goes on to say that middle class hasn’t fared very well either, as income for the middle class has grown only 1.3 percent in nearly eight years.
“The report’s bottom line is that since the late 1980’s income gaps widened in 37 states and have not narrowed in any states,” said Jared Bernstein, one of the report’s authors. “In fact, we’ve found that the trend toward growing inequality has accelerated during this decade.”
This will make it extremely difficult for the middle class to weather the coming recession.
The Pew Research Center has released the results of a survey finding that a majority of Americans said they have not progressed in the past five years. One in four, or 25 percent, said their economic situation had not improved, while 31 percent said they had fallen backward. Those numbers together are the highest since the survey question was first asked in 1964. Among the middle class, 54 percent said they had made no progress (26 percent) or fallen back (28 percent).
Today, oil tested a new high at $121 per barrel. Our government is spending billions of our tax dollars to bail out big time Wall Street Investment Houses that made bad decisions in their all out greed, and send you andÃ‚Â me a $300Ã‚Â as our bailout.Ã‚Â George says to compensate us for the falling values of our homes. I’m trying to call the part in the Constitution (that “quaint old document, as Bush henchman Gonzales liked to think of it) where it talks about “government for the corporations.”Dick (Mr. the insurgency is in it’s last throes, and they’ll greet usÃ‚Â as liberators) Cheney talked about the “resilient” US economy only a few months ago but like all of his bold predictions, it missed by a mile.
But, as former House Speaker Tip O’Neil was fond of saying, all politics is local. I am starting to see it at the street level. Tonight, I ran to a close by pizza buffet place. It ain’t that great, but it’s fairly cheap. When I walked in a young family with two little boys were kind of waiting just inside the door. The boys were really cute and clearly excited about getting to eat all the pizza they wanted.Ã‚Â I stood behind them a minute waiting for them to go up, and the dad waived me by. He was obviously rifling through his wallet and carefully counting his money.
As I was paying, I heard him tell the boys that they would eat there, but he wasn’t going to eat with them, and told his wife to go on. By now, I was just plain nosey, so I paid some attention as he paid for the two boys, and realized his wife wasn’t going to eat either.
After they had gotten seats, I went back and asked the manager at the register if the guy had only paid for the two boys. He said yes. Now I am lucky. I have never been poor, but I’ve had some pretty rough times along the way, and I’ve always gotten by thanks to, usually, unexpected help from friends, so I always feel like I should be “paying it forward.” I told the manager I thought the guy just didn’t have enough money on him, so I would pay for the two parents, but he was to just take them their plate and cup, and tell them it was on the house because the boys were having such fun, and wasn’t to embarass the guy by telling him someone had paid for it.
He was startled for aÃ‚Â minute and said in his accented English, “I don’t think of things like that, but you are right. So if you pay for one, I’ll pay for the other.” I sat well away from the family, but watched them have a really great time together.
Now I’m not telling that story to make myself a hero. That dinner was like $5.50. Little enough to make someone’s day a bit brighter. Watching the great time that family had was worth the price of admission. My point is that people aren’t getting ahead, they are getting further behind, and the current administration has been so busy taking care of big oil and their KBR friends, that they have allowed this economy to implode. And we Americans have sat by silently letting it happen because George told us we were at war…so no complaining while he oversees the single most corrupt administration in the history of this country. He and Dick Cheney are the worst kind of crooks…taking from the poorest. These two truly are less than human.
One of the Deep Thoughts on this site is a quote from Charles Darwin, who said, “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” It doesn’t take much to help people, but the current crooks and liars running this government are hell bent and determined to not only forego providing that help, but in enriching their wealthy friends at the expense of those who can least afford it.
It’s my government, it’s my tax dollars, and here today…I demand better!