Can you trust national averages? As bad as the jobless data you hear are, you have not been told the whole truth. If you think the terrible impact of America's Great Recession is shown by an official unemployment rate of about 10 percent, think again.
Economic inequality and the myth of Reagan trickle down logic are shown by new data from the Center for Labor Market Studies at NortheasternUniversity in Boston. The report noted: "What has been missing from the public debate over the labor market crisis is an honest and detailed analysis of which American workers have been most adversely affected by the deep deterioration in labor markets." The researchers found a correlation between household income and unemployment rate in the last quarter of 2009: Look carefully at these numbers and see how unemployment rises as income drops:
$150,000 or more, 3.2 percent
$100,000 to 149,999, 8 percent
$75,000 to $99,999, 5 percent
$60,000 to $75,000, 6.4 percent
$50,000 to $59,000, 7.8 percent
$40,000 to $49,000, 9 percent
$30,000 to $39,999, 12.2 percent
$20,000 to $29,999, 19.7 percent
$12,500 to $20,000, 19.1 percent
$12,499 or less, 30.8 percent
Ten times worse unemployment in the lowest class than in the highest class! Truly amazing and disheartening, don't you think? And you can also infer that in some hard hit geographical areas the poorest people and people of color are being even more adversely impacted. And don't think for a minute that things have really improved in 2010.
The report summed up the situation: "A true labor market depression faced those in the bottom"of the income distribution; a deep labor market recession prevailed among those in the middle of the distribution, and close to a full employment environment prevailed at the top." People at the top remain winners no matter how bad the whole economy. Why? The wealthy Upper Class controls so much of the political system and benefit from countless government policies. They may lose something in an economic meltdown but not enough to suffer significantly.
Conversely, those at the bottom of the economic system with no political power are experiencing something as bad as the Great Depression, with no end in sight.
What pundits don't emphasize is that government policies that do not target lower income groups are a failure and disgrace. Worse than destroying the middle class, we are creating a Lower Class like that found in third world countries. Indeed, compared to places like China and European nations, America's poor are suffering about as badly as anyone on the planet, except for a few dismal places like Haiti. Needing food handouts, losing homes, missing health insurance, and lacking jobs mock the American Dream.