“The gains from economic growth in 2011 were quite unevenly shared as household income fell in the middle and rose at the top,” ~Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
If you haven’t read our article on income inequality “If Americans want to live the American dream, they should go to Denmark” – you should. It is time for a change in tax policy as President Obama has called for. He has proposed a minimum 30% tax rate on people making $1 million or more … an alternative minimum tax for the rich so people like Romney can’t avoid their taxes. Republicans say that plan is dead on arrival. I think Americans should rally around his plan.
In April of this year – every single Republican in the Senate except for one voted against the Buffett Rule as proposed by President Obama (source). They will only continue protecting their billionaire donors when poor Republicans start to see the game as it is in reality. Unfortunately – those poor conservatives think they’re just one turn away from joining the millionaire class ala Joe the Plumber. It is enough to want to hit yourself in the head.
Bloomberg writes HERE:
The U.S. Census Bureau released figures today that showed median household income fell, underscoring a sputtering economic recovery and struggling middle-class that are at the center of the presidential campaign.
The proportion of people living in poverty was 15 percent in 2011, little changed from 15.1 percent in 2010, while median household income dropped 1.5 percent. The 46.2 million people living in poverty remained at the highest level in the 53 years since the Census Bureau has been collecting that statistic.
And as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes … millions are being kept out of poverty due to safety net programs provided by the government HERE:
The Census data also show how many fewer people would be considered poor if two benefits that are not counted in the official poverty data — the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) —are counted, as many analysts across the political spectrum believe they should be. Census officials said that if counted, the EITC would be seen to have lifted 5.7 million people — including 3.1 million children — out of poverty in 2011, and SNAP to have lifted out 3.9 million people, including 1.7 million children. (See Figure 3.)
Under an alternative, more comprehensive measure of poverty that’s based on recommendations of a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel and that counts a fuller range of benefits — including the EITC, SNAP, low-income housing assistance, school lunches, and others — the increase in poverty was strikingly modest from 2007 to 2010 despite the Great Recession. Later this year, the Census Bureau will release data under this measure for 2011. Using the NAS-based measure, a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis found that six temporary income-assistance provisions that policymakers enacted in 2009 and 2010 — including emergency UI benefits, a SNAP benefit increase, and working-family tax credits — kept an estimated 6.9 million people above the poverty line in 2010.
But as we have shared HERE – Republicans are completely trying to kill a potential safety net.
Now – this chart gives you a pretty good idea of what “success” looks like to the Republican party. Remember – people can’t get access to TANF unless they have kids…so we’re talking about children in poverty here. And now as TANF support goes down each year due to “block grants” – families in poverty and deep poverty are increasing; there is a very clear correlation…it means more people are in poverty.
But for some reason … Republicans keep trying to cut safety programs like Medicare, Social Security, food stamps, and other assistance programs in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich. We’ve written about the trends for the middle class and the super rich HERE:
National income gained overall in 2010, but all of the gains were among the top 10 percent. Even within those 15.6 million households, the gains were extraordinarily concentrated among the super-rich, the top one percent of the top one percent.
Just 15,600 super-rich households pocketed an astonishing 37 percent of the entire national gain.
Saez shows that the top one percent’s share of real income growth is increasing with each economic expansion and it matters not whether the president is a Democrat or Republican. The top one percent enjoyed 45 percent of Clinton-era income growth, 65 percent of Bush-era growth and 93 percent of Obama-era growth, though that is only through 2010.
While markets are a factor, I think the evidence makes clear that government policy is at the core of the differing fortunes of the vast majority and the super-rich.
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