Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Can You Spare A Dime?

An opinion piece [more fact than opinion] in today's New York Times is a wake-up call to everyone working in the Private sector and needs to be a wake-up call to everyone working on tax dollars. Income is dropping for the under-65 years of age working population.

To me there's no mystery involved. The tax myth that giving tax breaks to corporations and the rich will somehow enrich us all is empirically false. Taxes continue to rise, government has ballooned, and parents and children are taking the hardest hits.

Downward Mobility from the New York Times Opinion section.

If you’re still harboring the notion that the economy is “good,” prepare to be disabused.

Even the best number from yesterday’s Census Bureau report for 2005 is bad news for most Americans. It shows that median income rose 1.1 percent last year, to $46,326, the first increase since it peaked in 1999. But the entire increase is attributable to the 23 million households headed by someone over age 65. So the gain is likely from investment income and Social Security, not wages and salaries.

For the other 91 million households, the median dropped, by half a percent, or $275. Incomes for the under-65 crowd were hurt by a decline in wages and salaries among full-time working men for the second year in a row, and among full-time working women for the third straight year. In all, median income for the under-65 group was $2,000 lower in 2005 than in 2001, when the last recession bottomed out.

Despite the Bush-era expansion, the number of Americans living in poverty in 2005 — 37 million — was the same as in 2004. This is the first time the number has not risen since 2000. But the share of the population now in poverty — 12.6 percent — is still higher than at the trough of the last recession, when it was 11.7 percent. And among the poor, 43 percent were living below half the poverty line in 2005 — $7,800 for a family of three. That’s the highest percentage of people in “deep poverty” since the government started keeping track of those numbers in 1975.

As for the uninsured, their ranks grew in 2005 by 1.3 million people, to a record 46.6 million, or 15.9 percent. That’s also worse than the recession year 2001, reflecting the rising costs of health coverage and a dearth of initiatives to help families and companies cope with the burden. For the first time since 1998, the percentage of uninsured children increased in 2005.

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