Monday, April 24, 2006

The New Gilded Age

Here is some food for thought from the current issue of Mother Jones magazine:

Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage has fallen 42% since its peak in 1968.
If the $5.15 hourly minimum wage had risen at the same rate as CEO compensation since 1990, it would now stand at $23.03.
Only the wealthiest 20% of Americans spend more on entertainment than on health care.
In 2005, there were 9 million American millionaires, an increase of 62% since 2002.
The $17,530 earned by the average Wal-Mart employee last year was $1,820 below the poverty line for a family of 4.
5 of America's 10 richest people are Wal-Mart heirs.
Public companies spend 10% of their earnings compensating their top 5 executives.
The bidder who won a round of golf with Tiger Woods for $30,100 at a 2004 Buick charity auction could deduct all but $200 for taxes.
Poor Americans spend one-quarter of their income on residential energy costs.
For performing in the Live8 concerts to "make poverty history", musicians each got gift bags worth up to $12,000.
And, a word of personal commentary:
Will future historians be studying the early 21st Century thinking about how power and privilege have led to demise similar to that of the early part of the 20th Century? As has been said before, time will tell. With any amount of good fortune, there will come a leader who will understand the peril of allowing society to drift so far out of control, and bring us back to a greater level of equality so that each of us can have the hope of realizing the American dream, rather than working a lifetime to help someone else realize theirs.

3 comments:

Mandi said...

And to expand on your thoughts...
The military pays just enough that service members and their fmailies dont qualify for food stamps. A few years ago the military decided it looked bad to have their forces on food stamps and govt aid, so they upped the salaries just enough, so now no food stamps. Isnt the gubmint wonderful?

Anthony said...

That's pathetic. When you think of the sacrifice that our men and women in the service are making for our benefit. They should be paid a lot more, and appreciated more, too.

jay lassiter said...

pathetic pretty much says it, anthony.