The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer
By: Sammy Quarrato
The American Dream to many Americans is an illusion and something that at one point used to be the reality. The United States is said to be the ‘land of opportunity’ and a place where you ‘get what you give’; but, the reality is far from it.
According to EPI (Economic Policy Institute), “From 1973 to 2013, hourly compensation of a typical (production/nonsupervisory) worker rose just 9 percent while productivity increased 74 percent— this means that workers have been producing far more than they receive in their paychecks and benefit packages from their employers”.
This means that the average American in the United States has not been adequately paid for the amount of work they have been producing, despite the hours of work rising.
One of the ways this happened was that union representation has dropped down since the 1980s peak. The union representation in 1945 was around 33% of workers involved in the union.
Meanwhile, the top 10% has seen their share of income rise when union membership sank where now they make about half of the net income.
Pew Research Center showed that the average wage in 1973 when you account for inflation was more than it is today.
This might come as a shock to some people, but the purchasing power of money was stronger back then. $4.03 in 1973 is equivalent to $23.68, which was the average wage at that time, compared to 2018 where the average wage was $22.65.
Even this doesn’t show the big picture, averages count everyone in the country from the poverty stricken members of society to the billionaires, where they own about $4 trillion of wealth, according to the Americans for Tax Fairness.
This is the same group of people in which for the first time in American history, billionaires in the country paid a lower effective corporate tax rate than the average American.
According to the Social Security Administration, in 2018, 50% of Americans were making approximately $32k a year or less. This same group of Americans has been getting poorer, hence the famous term, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
This is undeniable, according to the People’s Policy Project, “Between 1989 and 2018, the top 1 percent increased its total net worth by $21 trillion. The bottom 50 percent saw its net worth decrease by $900 billion over the same period.”
It’s far worse than what has been stated, it has become so inadequate that 40% of Americans are unable to afford a $400 emergency fund.
This means that 2 out of every 5 people that may have an unexpected bill, such as medical bills, will go into the red zone and possibly become bankrupt.
The federal minimum wage is especially something that has been extremely overlooked. It hasn’t increased since 2009, which means it’s been $7.25 for nearly 12 years.
If you accounted for inflation, the minimum wage would be about $12 per hour. If you accounted for productivity, it would be about $25 per hour.
An excuse that is often utilized by the corporate elite is that if your job is a “low-skill” job, you shouldn’t be paid a living wage. This is a twisted way of saying that someone working a full time job should not be making a living wage, or have a decent life.
Someone is always going to need to fill that job, and in other countries, they pay their workers a living wage and even above that for those so-called “low-skill” jobs.
Yet, there are legitimate concerns of what would occur if you increase the wages of workers for these types of jobs, such as the price of the products going up, exponentially.
In Denmark, there is no minimum wage, that’s because every adult worker in Denmark is in a union, including those who work in Mcdonald’s.
According to Business Insider, “—in Denmark, McDonald’s employees make twice what they do in the US, and the Big Mac costs just 35 cents more”. The American people are being exploited.
American workers are being underrepresented, underpaid, scammed, exploited, abused, disrespected, and overall being neglected by those who are supposed to represent them in the government.
This is occurring because the same people who are benefitting from the system are paying off politicians to continue to look the other way while the overwhelming majority of Americans are not being listened to.
This is not a capitalist society, this is a corporate socialist one where the people on the top privatize the wins and socialize the losses.