Here's the news, unsurprising to those who follow this sort of stuff...
WASHINGTON — The income gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew last year to its widest amount on record as young adults and children in particular struggled to stay afloat in the recession.
The top-earning 20 percent of Americans — those making more than $100,000 each year — received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line, according to newly released census figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.
A different measure, the international Gini index, found U.S. income inequality at its highest level since the Census Bureau began tracking household income in 1967. The U.S. also has the greatest disparity among Western industrialized nations.
At the top, the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year, census data show. Families at the $50,000 median level slipped lower.
And the "money" quote...
Rea Hederman Jr., a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, agreed that census data show families of all income levels had tepid earnings in 2009, with poorer Americans taking a larger hit. "It's certainly going to take a while for people to recover," he said.
Yes, it's going to take a while, especially if we extend Bush's tax-cut giveaway to the rich while pililng debt on everyone else. And his "a while to recover" is actually more accurately phrased as "never". There isn't going to be a recovery, in this sense, given the current environment.
And what is the current environment, you ask? Here's a hint...
More people are getting their news about the upcoming election from cable television than any other source, and from Fox News more than any other cable channel, according to a POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll released Monday.
The poll found that 81 percent of those polled get their news about the midterm elections from cable channels, like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, or their websites, compared with 71 percent from national network news channels, such as ABC, NBC or CBS, and their websites.Among cable news channels, Fox was the clear winner, with 42 percent of respondents saying it is their main source, compared with 30 percent who cited CNN and 12 percent who rely on MSNBC
Heck, even today Mr. Murdoch has one of his minions arguing that his taxes need to be cut even lower (BTW, that article is filled with the usual Fox wharrgarbl, damned lies and statistics [compare]). It's also an argument for how News Corpse taxes should be cut...again. This picture seems somewhat appropriate....
...especially when we look at the rest of the data from that first link.
_The poorest poor are at record highs. The share of Americans below half the poverty line — $10,977 for a family of four — rose from 5.7 percent in 2008 to 6.3 percent. It was the highest level since the government began tracking that group in 1975.
_The poverty gap between young and old has doubled since 2000, due partly to the strength of Social Security in helping buoy Americans 65 and over. Child poverty is now 21 percent compared with 9 percent for older Americans. In 2000, when child poverty was at 16 percent, elderly poverty stood at 10 percent.
_Safety nets are helping fill health gaps. The percentage of children covered by government-sponsored health insurance such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program jumped to 37 percent, or 27.6 million, from 24 percent in 2000. That helped offset steady losses in employer-sponsored insurance.
And so it goes...
BTW, this angle of analysis (income disparity) was probably the strongest indicator that we were headed for a collapse. Previous to the recent economic troubles, the last time the U.S. had diverged so far between the haves and have nots was right before the Great Depression.
When the labor force of a country realizes that no matter how hard they work they won't make any progress, and the real money is being made by people who do no real work, it has far-reaching consequences.
UPDATE: Oh, and I missed this horribleness....
Fox’s opinionated personalities were also rated as having the greatest positive impact on the political debate in the country. Bill O’Reilly was rated as having, by far, the greatest positive impact, with 49 percent of respondents rating him positively, and 32 percent negatively.
Glenn Beck was the second most-positively rated personality, with 38 percent of respondents saying he had a positive impact, and 32 percent saying he had a negative impact...MSNBC’s personalities were largely ranked as unknown by respondents: 70 percent said they had never heard of Ed Schultz, 55 percent said they had never heard of Rachel Maddow and 42 percent said they had never heard of Keith Olbermann.
Again, this demonstrates rather forcefully that those referencing the "lamestream media" (you know, people who use those terms, like girls in junior high school) are talking about Fox.
This poll seemed somewhat off, and I finally saw the bright spot and the explanation...
This result might, to some extent, be explained by the age of those polled. The largest segment of respondents, 21 percent, were between 55 years old and 64 years old, with 20 percent between 45 and 54. Only 5 percent were between 18 and 24, and 7 percent were between 25 and 29.
Other recent polls have shown that the largest segment of “The Daily Show’s” audience is under 30, while the largest segment of Fox News’s audience is over 60.
This is something of a side note and a bit of positive news for the future. Once the Boomers die off, we might actually have a chance of having an informed (rather than faux outraged) electorate again. Unfortunately they'll be so cynical and snarky anyone endeavoring to actually fix the huge mess the Boomers will leave us with will face constant ridicule. Hmmm, maybe we already live in the future...