Millions of Americans Living on Less Than $5,000/Year - Families Living on Less Than $10,000/Year
"This is an impressive crowd - the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elites; I call you my base."
-George W. Bush, October 29, 2000
The share of national income going to corporate profits has far outstripped the share going to wages and salaries. Manufacturing jobs with benefits and union protection have vanished and been supplanted by low-wage, low-security service-sector work. The richest fifth of US households enjoys more than 50 per cent of the national income, while the poorest fifth gets by on an estimated 3.5 per cent.
The average after-tax income of the top 1 per cent is 63 times larger than the average for the bottom 20 per cent - both because the rich have grown richer and also because the poor have grown poorer; about 19 per cent poorer since the late 1970s. The middle class, too, has been squeezed ever tighter. Every income group except for the top 20 per cent has lost ground in the past 30 years, regardless of whether the economy has boomed or tanked.