It’s official, the disparity between the wealthy in the US and the poor has reached an all time high. The super rich have done very well since we entered the current Depression and the middle class continue to be converted to the working poor if they have a job at all. We are coming up to winter with a higher than ever number of Americans with no utility connection.
The former middle-class are using up their savings, wearing out their cars if the car hasn’t been repossessed. They are wearing out their clothes and neglecting medical needs so their bodies are wearing out too. It’s no surprise the consumer confidence is down again. Corporate CEO confidence is down as well but that’s just a reflection of their political talking points, they are doing very well at the top of the food chain.
Marriage has hit an all time low and people are putting off having kids as they did in the 1930s. The number of U.S. households receiving food stamps was up by 2 million last year to 11.7 million, a more than 20% increase. This is the highest level on record with 1 in 10 families was receiving government food aid. In all, 46 states and the District of Columbia had increases in food stamps, with the largest jumps in Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin. Milwaukee used to be known as the machine shop to the world but that title would now go to Shanghai and Wisconsin goes on food stamps.
The percentage of old folks that are working is up again even though the number of people forced to retire is up sharply. People who were retired have no choice but to go back to work if they can, often taking service jobs that kids used to have, further increasing youth unemployment.
The stock market has been up all through September and the crystal ball folks are predicting a new boom in the DOW with Stock Traders Almanac predicting the index will hit 38,820 by 2025. Don’t confuse that number with the title of the best selling book DOW 36,000. Don’t recall the book? It came out just before the Dot-com bubble burst.
Gold jumped sharply today going past 1300 as the global unease grows. The embargo by China of rare earth exports continues and is approaching its first full week. Japan who is at the center of the ban is not getting any response from diplomatic overtures.
Corporate junk bonds are selling briskly in the “retail” market, these are small non-institutional investors that are chasing higher yields and regulators are worrying that this will lead to a bubble burst that these investors won’t be able to handle. This will move still more middle class people down to the level of the working poor.
The median family income declined again last year and while it still has a ways to go to get down to the official poverty rate, it continues to move relentlessly in that direction. Half of families are already way below a level that would be considered the American dream by anybody especially if you take into account rising healthcare and education costs. The rich are getting richer and everybody else is getting poorer, less healthy, less educated and more desperate.