Random Thoughts on Poverty:

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Random Thoughts on Poverty:

Sociology Dept. of University of California at Santa Cruz: 2004

By A. Burt


Top 1% had 42.2% of all Wealth.

Next 19% had 50.3% of all Wealth.

The bottom 80% had 7.5% of all the Wealth.

20% of the population owned 92.5% of all the Wealth in the Nation.



.02% of all households make $250,000 or more a year.


United States Department of Labor

In Oct. of 1938 the minimum wage was .25 cents an hour.

In Jan. of 1977 the minimum wage was $2.30 per hour.


U.S. Bureau of the Census; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; Statistical Abstract of the United States; and Survey of Current Business.

From records kept from 1938 until 2007 the minimum wage has never raised family of four above the poverty level.  The closet it came was in 1968 but even then it fell far short. While the minimum wage remained in the same general area the cost of living increased dramatically.


Spendable take home pay or the poverty trap minimum wage was at its lowest percentage in 2006. The level has since been increased but those now living in poverty or else homeless are epidemic.


When these homes are foreclosed they go to auction and just as in the Savings and Loan Scandals they are then sold to the very Wealthy. The number of Billionaires in 1982 was 13. The number of Billionaires in 1990 was 99 and it has grown exponentially since, especially since 2001.


The Combined News Services and Evolution Solutions Newsroom: New Haven, Conn. – 2004:

A 2004 analysis of data collected by the US Census reports that 60 Million Americans now live on less than $7.00 a day. That means that one of every five Americans lives on less than $2,555 a year. But the riches 1% of the population gets 16% of the national income, double what they got in 1960.


The Global income inequity is greater that it has ever been in human history. More than one half of the Worlds population living on less than three dollars a day but the top 1% is receiving as much as the entire bottom 57% combined.


America, the wealthy, most abundant nation on Earth has the widest gap between the rich and the poor to any other Industrial nation.


More bad news is the fact that there has been no increase in non-supervisory wages since 1972. 25 Million Americans now depend on emergency food aid. And this number is rapidly increasing. This is a brutal reminder of just how the extreme political right has destroyed the social safety net over the last 25 years. It has been a consorted effort and when Globalization has reached full gallop the destructive effects of this effort will be felt across the entire working class regardless of its location.


This will be exacerbated by the ever growing gap between the rich and the poor. By the rising power and structure of a winner-take all culture that celebrates greed and egotism, by rewarding the super rich at the expense of the poor.


New York Times/allbusiness.com

The Average CEO’s pay is 821 times the minimum wage.


Wall Street Journal

In the 1999 IPO, Henry Paulson became Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. Goldman was instrumental I the economic problems we face today and Paulson, who left in May of 2006 to become U.S. Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush. The massive profits from sub-prime loans in 2007 brought about questions about Goldman’s and in particularly Paulson’s role in the mess when it finally broke in 2008.


Paulson’s answer was a three page note, without any specifics or regulations for 750 Billion dollars. The Congress was not even allowed to ask any questions about the money. To whom it was given or how it was spent. When Paulson and Bernanke were ask by Congress for some answers they simply refused to answer.


Paulson was replaced by Lloyd Blankfein as the new CEO. Blankfein pay, not counting stock options or other perks was 5,267 times the minimum wage.


World Prout Assembly (World Prout Assembly works to create one universal coalition, to mobilize moralists to support local and global anti-exploitation struggles, to end the economic hegemony of transnational corporations and the political hegemony of any present or future superpowers. World Prout Assembly seeks to unite moralists everywhere against exploitation anywhere. We seek to gather together the unheralded and unsung heroes and heroines around the globe who quietly do yeoman work in countless local struggles against oppression - be it fundamentalism, fascism, communism, patriarchy, or corporate capitalism. Struggle starts with the fight to reclaim economic sovereignty of local communities. Struggle thrives when the local people plan the development of their district and then regional economies. It is the struggle for economic democracy. Thus World Prout Assembly endeavors to unite all struggles against oppression into one global struggle, as we seek to create one world, one humanity and one family. http://www.wiserearth.org/organization/view/a04b8cf0fca7ea11707b72b6c3b43b6e )


In June of 2008 the average minimum wage would not be less that $6.55 an hour. For a 40 hour week that comes to $262.00 a week or $13,670.37 a year. The official poverty level for a family of four is $19,971.00 a year. 37 Million Americans live below the official poverty level. But the increase of the very poor has increased so much that in just the last six years 5 Million more have joined the ranks. Presently more than 90 Million Americans or a third of the nation squeeze by with incomes that are less than twice the poverty level.


The gap between the rich and poor ha increased at such an alarming rate that the top 10% of the wage earners own 70% of nation’s wealth and according to a Federal Reserve Report the wealthiest 1% owns more than the combined 95% of the assets of the bottom.


In 2005 the top 300,000 Americans collective enjoyed almost as much income – 21.8% - as the bottom 150 Million Americans. More than double their share of income in 1980.


The average CEO now realizes an average income, before stock options and other perks of 11.8 Million dollars a year verses the paltry $27,460 of the average worker. Or more in one day than the average worker makes in one year. To add even more insult to these bloated salaries of the CEO’s the American taxpayer subsidize those ridicules CEO salaries through tax breaks that are not available to the average tax payer and just plain old give away to the CEO of Millions and even Billions of dollars.

Universal Living Wage Campaign

Richard Troxell, National Chairman


By July 24, 2009 the Federal Minimum Wage will be $7.25. This has not seen this kind of an increase since 1997 or for ten years. Unfortunately a raise to $7.25 an hour will not get one single homeless minimum wage worker housing in any urban area.


For example, the formula according to the Universal Living Wage and based on existing Governmental guideline would require a wage of $11.73 to get an efficiency apartment and $12.08 an hour for a one bedroom in Ithaca, New York. It would require $9.38 an hour for and efficiency in Cleveland and $10.88 an hour for a one bedroom.


While the increase to $7.25 an hour may afford renters and efficiency in rural America the reality is very little of this housing stock actually exists. And it has been proven and cited in Beth Schulman’s book, The Betrayal of Work; that the American workers are staying in minimum wage jobs such as Wal-Mart for ten years and attempting to raise families on these limited wages.


The approach that Universal Living Wage Campaign uses is based on existing Government Guidelines, indexing the wage to the local cost of housing throughout the United States. This approach, although it will never be approved by any Government body, assures a worker that works 40 hours a week, whether in Austin, Boston, L.A. or anywhere else in the country will be able to afford shelter, food, clothing and have enough left for emergencies.


By continuing to raise the minimum wage only in small increments assures that the worker will never reach the Federal Poverty Level. There is a lot to be said when a worker can work 40 hours a week and still not afford the basic necessities of life without subsidies and many times not even then.


The American business benefits greatly from the workers and should provide a living wage but they never will. The basic premises is a fair wage for a fair days work. But there is one element that the American business can never give up or else they simple refuse. It is their all consuming greed, the unbridled ability to steal the life of its workers, for a wage that will not provide the basics. But will offer the business unfair gains. It is known as economical slavery.


Other factors are involved such as the toxic EARMARK. In 2005 the GAO found an estimated 16,000 separate earmarks, un-related to the bills they were attached to totaling 48 Billion.


The Bush tax cuts which will expire in 2010 would cost the U.S. Treasury nearly 1.8 Trillion dollars if they were extended as Bush and the Republicans want. When Bush took office he had just under $200 Billion but in less than a year had spent the $200 Billion plus another $175.00 Billion. This continued until 2008 when he had spent another 1000 Billion, that 1 Trillion and this does not include the $750.00 Billion he gave and I said gave to the banks.


In 2007 the U.S. public debt was 5 Trillion or 36.8% of the GDP and the total debt was 9 Trillion or 65.5% of the GDP. The total debt including intra-governmental securities such as the Social Security Trust Fund (about 2.2 Trillion in 2007) and the Civil Service Retirement Fund was 9.6 Trillion by 2008.


One of the worst, if not the worst is the International Monetary Fund. Michael Hudson from Global Research reported that the IMF would now collect debts on the behalf of the World’s largest Banks. This would make, among other things, Iceland pay for the incompetent British Banking Deregulations.


A better understanding can be found in a direct quote from Michael Hudson in his article on Global Research published May 11, 2009:






“Last month the G-20 authorized the International Monetary Fund to increase its loan resources to $1 trillion. It’s not hard to see why. Weakening currencies in the post-Soviet states threaten to raise default rates on foreign-currency mortgages as collapse of the Baltic real estate bubble drags down Swedish banks, while the Hungarian property plunge threatens Austrian banks. It seems reasonable to infer that creditor-nation banks hope to be bailed out. The IMF is expected to lend the Baltic, central European and other debtor-country governments money to pay them. These hapless debtor economies are then to follow IMF “conditionalities” to squeeze enough money out of their populations to pay foreign creditors – and repay the Fund by imposing yet more onerous taxes on their labor and industry, making them even more high-cost and therefore pushing them even further into trade and credit dependency. This is why there have been so many riots recently in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Ukraine, as was the case for so many decades throughout the Latin American countries that introduced the term “IMF riot” to the global vocabulary.
For fifty years the IMF has organized such payouts to creditor nations. Loans are made to debtor-country governments to “promote exchange-rate and price stability.” In practice this means pouring tens of billions of dollars into currency markets to make bad gambles against raiders. This is supposed to avert the beggar-my-neighbor nationalism and financial protectionism that aggravated depression in the 1930s. But the practical effect of IMF lending is to demand that debtor countries impose onerous IMF “conditionalities” that stifle their domestic markets. This is why the IMF was left with almost no customers until last year’s debt crisis deranged the world’s foreign exchange markets.
It is supposed to be merely incidental that the largest IMF shareholders, the United States and Britain, happen to be the major creditor nations and their banks the main beneficiaries of IMF loans. But in a Parliamentary question-and-answer session on May 6, Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown spilled the beans. Under pressure for his notorious “light-touch regulation” as Chancellor of the Exchequer (1997-2007), he undid half a century of rhetorical pretense by announcing that he was pressuring the IMF to bail out Britain in its nasty dispute with the Icelandic owners of a British bank that went under. He was in a position to know the nitty-gritty of who owed what and which nation’s monetary authorities were responsible for which banks. So when he said that he was strong-arming the IMF and other organizations to force Iceland’s government to pay for his own government’s mistakes, he must have known this was breaking the unwritten law of pretending that the IMF is not the servant of creditor nations in bilateral disputes with smaller economies.


Now let’s take a look at mean average of the present cost of living, now it will vary from location to location but it is a good picture of the problems faced by a hard working American family.

RENT: $250.00 for a slum and up to $2,500.00 for a decent place with the average cost at $1,000.00

UTILITIES: Average $250.00

CAR: $400.00


FOOD: $500.00


These costs are just the bare essentials. The very least one needs to simply get from one day to the next.


The World Prout Assembly puts the poverty level at $19,971.00 a year.

A 40 hour work week at the minimum wage is $13,670.00.

The combined cost of the bare essentials mentioned above is $24,360.00.

This leaves you $10,690.00 short of what is needed.


You have just become homeless, witnessed and directly experienced the planned economic slavery designed and implemented by Large Corporations.


And it is designed to keep you exactly where you are… there is no escape from the unbridled greed of the American Corporation and even though slavery is illegal that is exactly what you are… a slave.


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