A Facebook reader has e-mailed asking that we expand upon the reasons for our achievement vs. entitlement statement. In the future please post all comments to this blog so that everyone can see them.
Its important for us to understand that the entitlement society that we’ve built isn’t working for tens of millions of citizens. As of June 1 the national unemployment rate is 9.1%. An all-time high of 44M persons, or 14.5% of the population, are now on food stamps. Over 14% of the population, or 44M persons, are below the U.S. poverty threshold.
The trends are ominous. The income gap ratio between the top 20% (which receives 49.4% of all income) and those below the poverty line (3.4% of all income) of 14.5 to 1 is increasing and double the 7.69 to 1 ratio of 1968. Today 90% of Americans describe themselves as middle-income. The average two-income family earns far more today than did the single-breadwinner family of a generation ago, and yet, once they have paid the mortgage, the car payments, the taxes, the health insurance, and the day-care bills, today’s dual-income families have less discretionary income and less money to put away for a rainy day than the single-income family of a generation ago.
Each year, more Americans file for bankruptcy than graduate from college. Household net worth has fallen about 23% since December, 2007 with the collapse of home prices and the stock market. Economist Robert Gordon, reflecting broadly-held views, predicts that based on his knowledge of early American economic history, he thinks it is fairly safe to predict that the period (from 2007-2027) will witness the slowest growth ever in GDP per capita and, therefore, American living standards. Why? The Baby Boomers will retire, meaning millions of them will stop contributing to the economy and will start living off of programs like Social Security, disability insurance and Medicare. No technological revolution, like the internet, is on the horizon to juice growth either. What’s worse is that the spell of gloom Gordon predicts would come after, well, a spell of gloom. For the decade before the recession, the United States GDP has grown at a reasonably healthy clip. But most workers have experienced no real income gains at all. Instead, the income gap has widened, with wealth accruing disproportionately to the very, very well-off. Click here for the full reference.
This is where we are – it’s where the Republican and Democratic parties have taken us. Changing the faces won’t create the changes that are needed. The American Party will create the course change needed.