The Census Bureau is reporting that poverty is increasing, income for the middle class is declining and fewer people than ever are covered for health care.
According to the bureau, the number of U.S. residents in employer-sponsored health care plans plunged 3.7% between 2008 and 2009, to below 170 million.
The bureau also tells us that since 2000, nearly 12 million people slipped from the middle class into poverty. In 2009, 43.5 million Americans were classified as impoverished–over 14% of all Americans.
The new Census figures also show the average American family earned $49,777 in 2009, down from $52,388 in 1999, when adjusted for inflation.
Meanwhile, the top 1% in income is getting over 17% of all after-tax income. According to a study from the University of California at Berkeley, that’s the highest proportion of total national income in the pockets of the top 1% since 1928.
Yet we are still hearing squawks for deregulation and tax cuts–mostly benefiting the affluent, of course–to stimulate the economy. Those same advocates are advising us to forget about raising the minimum wage or extending unemployment benefits. After all, we as a nation can’t pay for such comforts and tax cuts for the rich as well, can we?
The fact is, though, that the rich spend darned little on luxuries as a percentage of their total income. Much of their wealth goes to investments such as corporate stocks and into overseas bank accounts, shielded from the view of the IRS.
Yet households earning over $1 million would get a hand-out of $31 billion next year alone under the tax cut extension envisioned by some in Congress.
As the U.S. Census bureau data show, deregulation and tax cuts bring trickle-down squalor. The tired old twaddle that taxing the rich hurts jobs is absurd, in view of the utter failure of recent tax cuts. These have deprived our economy of wealth for everyone but the wealthy, helping to slice jobs and desiccate income.