Monday, July 26, 2010


The following is some baloney I found on the net today.
It is so riddled with economic misinformation that I could not let it stand.
This is just another communist-style class envy rant against capitalism.
My comments are in bold.

"The Middle Class in America Is Radically Shrinking. Here Are the Stats to Prove it
Posted Jul 15, 2010 02:25pm EDT by Michael Snyder in Recession
From The Business Insider
Editor's note: Michael Snyder is editor of
The 22 statistics detailed here prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence in America.
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer at a staggering rate. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a blinding pace."
Here are the statistics to prove it:
•    83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.

Is this measured as dollar value of all stocks or number of shares?
This is less alarming if we are measuring total dollar value.
It has always been true that the most wealthy own the greatest percentage of stocks.
This is nothing new.
It is also true that more Americans own stocks than ever.

•    61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

Is this because more Americans are making less money or because more Americans are spending more than they can afford?

•    66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

Is this measured by percent of income growth or by total dollars?
If this is measured by percent of income growth, then this could be a bad trend.
If this is measured by total dollars, it is not alarming.
If you make $100 dollars a week and you get a 10% raise, you get $10 more per week.
If you make $200 dollars a week and you get a 10% raise, you get $20 more per week.
Whose income grew more?
Duh, the person who was making more.
But the rate of increase was the same.

•    36 percent of Americans say that they don't contribute anything to retirement savings.

And 36 percent of Americans are under 20 years old and don't give a (beep) about retirement.

•    A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.

And 43 percent of Americans are under 25 years old and don't give a (beep) about retirement.

•    24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.

Sometimes this is because of personal financial difficulties.
Sometimes this is because these old geezers like their job.
Lately, this could be because the federal government is raising taxes and workers are not sure if they can afford to retire.

•    Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.

Not an unusual statistic when we have 10 percent unemployment and many people living on the edge of their income.

•    Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

We have just been through a strong housing value increase and decrease cycle caused by unrealistic federal mortgage funding requirements placed on banks.
This is an almost meaningless statistic.

•    For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.

This would be because the total value of new houses - those with outstanding mortgages - has become larger than the total value of older houses, which are mostly paid for, or have smaller unpaid balances.
Which is worth more, my 40 year old house with a $50,000 balance, or a 2 year old house with a $100,000 balance?

•    In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.

More communist class-envy bait.
Increased productivity has reduced the number of workers needed to build products.
Thus there are fewer line workers in relation to the number of executives.
This tilts the ratio in favor of the execs.

•    As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

Depending on the definition of "liquid assets" meant here - usually cash and savings- this is not alarming in itself.
Generally, the poorer a family is, the more of their cash they must spend on everyday expenses, as opposed to a more wealthy family which can hold more of their cash as savings.

•    The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

Many of the bottom 50 percent of "income earners" (not defined for us) are on government welfare, food stamps, live in government-subsidized housing, or are students flipping burgers on a part-time basis.
The federal Earned Income Tax Credit is classified as "income" and millions of low income people qualify for this benefit.
If you rent your home or apartment, you "own" less than someone who is paying the same amount as your rent on a mortgage.
Even thought they don't technically "own" their house.
For purposes of this statistic, they do.

•    Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.

Could this be because the stock market was up 17 percent in 2009 over 2008????
More communist class-envy bait.

•    In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.

This is very likely because on the increase in federal labor union membership.
While this item is meant to make us feel sorry for the poor downtrodden masses of private sector workers, it makes me wonder why our tax dollars are being wasted on overpaid federal workers.
This tilt also comes from the fact that many private sector jobs are in the lower paying retail and service industries (store clerks, restaurants, etc.) staffed by younger workers who are still in school or just out of school.
This lowers the AVERAGE earnings of private sector workers.
The federal jobs are generally staffed by older, more educated workers who have been working longer and thus earn more money.

•    The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America's corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.

If this is measured in dollars then this is no shocking news.
The dollar value of everything is nearly twice as much (or more) as it was 15 years ago.
If this is measured in total value of stock owned, this is still no big deal.
More executives are "paid" with company stock and/or stock options.

•    In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.

We are in the middle of a recession.
The average time needed to find a job always increases in recessions.
Not a good thing, but not abnormal, either.

•    More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.

Perhaps true.
But many of these workers are students working part time to pay for their education.
They will only work in these jobs until they graduate and are qualified for better-paying full-time jobs.
Many other workers in these jobs are spouses working to augment their household income a little.
This is not the main income for the family.

•    or the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

Perhaps true.
However, as the total U.S. population increases, and the percentage of unemployed workers/poor people remains the same, the number of people on food stamps will increase.
It is also not astounding that during a recession, there are more people applying for food stamps while they are unemployed.

•    This is what American workers now must 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.

Perhaps true.
But it also costs money to ship those Chinese-made and Cambodian-made products back here for sale.
BTW, there have been several strikes by Chinese auto workers demanding more money in recent months. (which they received)

•    Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.

Perhaps true.
But could this be because many of these children are born to poor black mothers who are promiscuous and believe that having more children will allow them to receive increased federal tax benefits, increased food stamp allowances, and increased rent subsidies?
It is also because many of these children have a mother who has been abandoned or divorced by her husband and must work a lower-paying job to support her family.
This is more of a moral issue than an economic issue.

•    Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.

Most of the wealthy are not affected by recessions.
If you have 10 million dollars and you lose half of it in a recession, does that really affect how much you spend for food this week?

•    The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

And they pay 96 percent of all personal income taxes.
Your point?

No comments:


April 15 th of 2013 was my last year to work for HR Block. I disliked the corporate pressure to make us call customers to try ...