Sunday, November 7, 2010

growing economic inequality

I've just read a very good article and it got me thinking.

As others, I am mighty worried about the turn of elections. I also can't understand it. I can't get why it is seen as a positive boost to the country's economy when the top percentile gets to be richer and the rest struggle to pay bills. The taxes go lower and lower, and tax cuts for the richest just cause them to stuff their wallets and happily fire workers when used up. The workers salaries hardly changed over the past decades, being below the levels from the '60s. At the same time the salaries of the richest multiplied.
To be honest, I had no idea that the top 1% is when the medium salary is above $368,000 (according to this presentation from Slate). I really thought that to be in the top one percent you have to earn above million $ or something like that... well, that's what the top 0.1% is. I really thought that if you are a successful "small" businessman, lawyer with a partner who's a successful doctor and so on, it will place you in "high middle class", somewhere around top 30% or so... not top 1%.
The huge disparity between the rich and poor is scary. I can't understand how people vote by millions for the rich to get richer instead of helping fellow human to get up on his/her feet and be successful.
Our economy is not stimulated by building one more mansion or one more huge yacht. It's moving thanks to millions who are able to afford going to the movies, restaurants, or for a week of vacation. Who can afford buying grocery, regular clothes and ordinary cars. Who are able to buy new appliances, carpets and books. That's what moves the economy ahead, not the top 0.1% investing in their own riches, not caring at all what is going on with their workers.

I am lucky, I have a job. At least till June. I work like a horse, much more than I should, because these are hard times... As a teacher in a private school I shouldn't be expected to teach 6 classes a day, with no increased salary. But I am still glad I do have a job, where I am respected, appreciated and where I actually like what I am doing. I am by myself, I don't need to worry about my kids, unemployed spouse and bills. I do support my Mom, but as for now I am managing it. And it is truly disturbing that with my teacher salary I am probably somewhere in the top 40%. It really shouldn't be the case.

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