22 Facts That Prove That The Bottom 90% Of America Is Systematically Getting Poorer

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

The mainstream media is not telling you this, but the truth is that most Americans are steadily getting poorer.  The middle class is being absolutely eviscerated, and poverty is soaring to unprecedented heights.  The fact that 90 percent of the population is constantly sliding downhill is not good for our society.  The United States is supposed to be a land of opportunity with a vibrant free market system that enables average people to make better lives for themselves.

Unfortunately, free enterprise is being strangled to death in the United States today.  Entrepreneurs and small business are being pounded into oblivion by rules, regulations, red tape and oppressive levels of taxation.  At the same time, millions of jobs have been shipped out of the United States by corporate giants and sent to countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.  All of this has happened under both Democrats and Republicans.  Meanwhile, wealth and power continue to become even more heavily concentrated in the hands of big government and big corporations.

Our founding fathers warned that we should not allow such large concentrations of wealth and power, because they tend to funnel the rewards of society into the hands of a select few.  We need to change the rules of the game so that entrepreneurs, small businesses and average workers can thrive in this country once again.  If big government and big corporations continue to gobble up even more wealth and power, the wealth inequality that we see right now will only get even worse.

The following are 22 facts that prove that the bottom 90 percent of America is systematically getting poorer...

#1 According to the Pew Research Center, the top 7 percent of all U.S. households own 63 percent of all the wealth in the country.

#2 Between 2009 and 2011, the wealth of the bottom 93 percent of all Americans declined by 4 percent, while the wealth of the top 7 percent of all Americans increased by 28 percent.

#3 On average, households in the top 7 percent have 24 times as much wealth as households in the bottom 93 percent.

#4 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#5 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wealthiest one percent of all American households have 288 times the amount of wealth that the average middle class American family does on average.

#6 According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

#7 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.

#8 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.

#9 In the United States today, corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high, but wages as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time low.

#10 In 1980, CEOs at S&P 500 companies made 42 times as much as their employees did on average.  Today, CEOs at S&P 500 companies make 354 times as much as their employees do on average.  In fact, there are many CEOs that make more than 1000 times what the average employees in their companies make.

#11 According to a report recently issued by the Pew Research Center, Americans over the age of 65 have 47 times as much wealth as Americans under the age of 35 on average.

#12 U.S. families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

#13 Back in 2007, about 28 percent of all working families were considered to be among "the working poor".  Today, that number is up to 32 percent even though our politicians tell us that the economy is supposedly recovering.

#14 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

#15 Today, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

#16 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

#17 As I mentioned yesterday, the homeownership rate in America is now at its lowest level in nearly 18 years.

#18 The United States now ranks 93rd in the world in income inequality.

#19 Approximately one out of every five households in the United States is now on food stamps.

#20 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.

#21 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either "poor" or "low income".

#22 At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

Even if your income just stays the same, you are still getting poorer because inflation is a tax that is constantly chipping away at the value of every single dollar that you own.  The cost of everything that we buy on a regular basis (food, gas, health insurance, etc.) is constantly going up, and if your income is not keeping pace that means that you are getting poorer.

That is just one reason why the Federal Reserve system is so insidious.  They are killing the middle class with inflation.  For much more on the Federal Reserve and why it should be abolished, please see this article: "10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve".

So if most Americans are getting poorer, then why aren't our politicians doing something to fix it?

Well, the sad truth of the matter is that the big corporations fund the campaigns of our corrupt politicians.  They know that the candidate that raises the most money almost always wins, and so it provides an incentive for our politicians to be very good to those that have the money.

Plus, many of our politicians are way too busy having a good time to be bothered with doing anything for us.  Take Barack Obama for example.  According to The Telegraph, Barack Obama has spent twice as much time playing golf and vacationing as he has on attending economic meetings...

In an analysis of the presidential diary and newspaper reports, the Government Accountability Institute found that Mr Obama has spent 976 hours since his January 2009 election on holiday and playing golf.

In contrast, he has only spent 474.4 hours in economic meetings.

"As a government watchdog group, we just tabulate the numbers and let others decide how to interpret them," said Peter Schweizer, president of GAI, which compiled the report.

But this is a problem that is not going away.  The bottom 90 percent of the country is systematically getting poorer, and if this continues it will inevitably result in massive social problems.  The video posted below does a great job of graphically illustrating the crisis that we are facing...

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
The Navigator's picture

End the Fed, bring back Constitutional Money (gold & silver), replace the income tax with a national sales tax and be rid of the IRS.

jbvtme's picture

get rid of the property tax...institute term limits...dump the administrative agencies

HulkHogan's picture

How does that help the 50% of Americas who get 2.5% of the wealth of the country? I'm not being a smart ass, I need this explained.

Antifederalist's picture

For one, sound money would allow working people to save and earn a real return on their savings. Thrift would be rewarded, not punished. Savers would be able to have secure retirements. Presently the are getting fucked.

The Second Rule's picture

Don't you think we've gone past that? I mean don't you think we've gone past the point where any of that matters anymore?

Pool Shark's picture



Poverty is growing because we subsidize it...


[the war on poverty is over. Poverty won.]


Prometheus418's picture

I do.

Starting today, without going into the reasons why- you already know them, the rest of my life is devoted to the engineered distruction of every system of government in the world.  Yes, I will die for this- No, I don't care.  I'm already cheering for every freedom fighter that engages in kinetic action in the news, and it can't be long before I join them.

This world has become an unlivable hell-hole, and I, for one, would rather die on my feet screaming Fuck You, than die licking the boots of my self-proclaimed "masters."

And lucky, lucky, for all those reading.  I don't even need to be near you for you to participate- hell, at this point, I don't even have to be alive.  For you, the folks on the Left coast, this should be especially poignant.  You know how you feel kind of safe believing that we all have your backs if North Korea lobs a nuke strapped to a bottle rocket and a prayer?  Guess what?  You're fucked.  I literally built the systems that you are counting on with my own hands, and I was pissed off the whole time.  They're probabably ok, though, right?  After all, we're all "only human" and we all make mistakes, right?  Isn't that why you voted to kill my kids so that bums could have debit cards to use at the liquor stores?  Oddly enough, the same reasoning applied when I "pocket-vetoed" your right to security (killing my kids to get bums drunk, that is.)  Guess we were on the same page after all, and you can go back to sniffing your farts.

The contractors for the military don't design those missile defense shields, not really- they make a rough draft, and I do all the work that makes them actually function.  And, so sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, you can fucking die.  Do you think that I will provide even one transient moment of insight to save your sorry asses when my paycheck can't feed my family?  Do you think I have done so in years?  Well, you're quite the optimist, aren't you?  But I'm no Jack Bauer, and neither is my team.  I hear more about suicide for insurance money every fucking day of my life than I do about saving you, and that is the literal truth- and it's not a new development.  We hung on long enough to ensure that your whole infrastructure has rotted from the same cancer that killed us- that's called being a "team player," for those of you who missed the memo.

That's what happens when you try to kill my family to feed your hoboes.  What, you didn't think there could ever be any blowback?

The Second Rule's picture

That was weird. I did get some of it, but most was in the kornfield.

Prometheus418's picture

Don't sweat it...

On a long enough timeline, you'll be rowing the same boat.


Radical Marijuana's picture

I suppose that is why the link below about generally rising suicide rates is trumphed by suicide rates in the armed forces, and the most overwhelming suicide rates in veterans!

I used to feel that the longer one took to wake up, the better that was for one's career, since it got harder and harder to have any kind of mainstream career, the sooner one woke up. However, I would qualify that with saying that the more one actually provided what one thought was real service to one's country, then the more imperative it personally becomes to never wake up to the realities which surrounded one's situation, because the more one believed in ideals about public service, the worse one is going to end up feeling betrayed!

Most of the comments here so far have tended to be extremely pessimistic, but therefore, the most realistic. ... However, I truly can not comprehend what it would be like to have worked within the established systems for a few decades, before I recognized that those were destroying my future, while reducing everything I had worked for to shit! 


Toying with US


DHS Ammo Splurge: Who's Their Target?
The Second Rule's picture

No. I liked a lot of it actually. But a good part was obscured in a surrealist veil.

Prometheus418's picture

When we speak, we commincate not only facts and figures, but also emotions.  This becomes doubly hard when the speech is text, and not modified by tone and body language.

Technical writing is actually a very large portion of my day-to-day life, and I do know how to carefully and accurately communicate instructions, facts and figures.  That is not what I do on this forum.  To the best of my ability, I try to represent the middle class from a "boots on the ground" POV.   I've studied the demographics of ZH readers, and I know that this is one of the only availible venues for me to speak to those who are calling the shots in this crisis short of blowing some stuff up and hoping that they read my manifesto.  There are a few others, and on those, I have different names.

That is not to say that a single word of what I write is false- it is not.  It *is* somewhat purple at times, though.  That is compensation for the sterile nature of text.  I could express myself dispassionately, but that would not in any way communicate the very genuine hurt, sadness and rage that I feel every day as I see the lives, future prospects and hopes of my friends and neighbors fade away to serve the whims of a select few.

So yes, the message is sometimes clouded.  It has to be- when you live in a surreal world, only surreal words will do to explain it.  But don't let that diminish what I have to say here- it is neither joke nor hyperbole.  We've all been pushed to the wall- and I actually have had some "elite" training.  What I do here is karmic balance, a warning to those who have gone too far before it is too late for them.

They won't listen, they never do.  But at least I'll be able to say they were warned.

pelican's picture

I don't have any threats to issue.  However, I just want to comment on the suicide issue.  I have worked every day of my life and it was all destroyed because of the internal rot.  


Anyway, my retirement will be death at work or suicide.  This country decided that the only people that have value are those on reality TV and those on wall street.  Everyone else is fucked.  (PS. Ironic that I worked many years keeping the communists at bay, only to be fucked over by the Wall Street crowd)

The country is filled with unnatural aristrocacy and they have won and they will further bring the country to its death.  


I am just fucked with nothing to look for except death.  

The Second Rule's picture

Anger is better than sadness. Speaking as one who knows.

Prometheus418's picture

Just take as many with you as you can, Pelican.

Just as you worked to keep Communism at bay, I worked on Missile defense to keep your avatar at bay.  No more.  I've gone "Galt" for a while now, but there is a point where passively allowing design flaws to pass without comment can't help but to move to the big leagues.  That means tracking those flaws and directly targeting them.  

Again, even if I were to be fired or killed today, it's already been front-run.  The writing has been on the wall for a while.

Just remember, your family gets to choose for themselves.  It's not that hard for a clever man to end things in such a way that they are provided for financially.  Don't know about you, but my children have never known freedom, and they might live a life they can enjoy if left in their ignorance.  Nothing sadder than seeing a man kill his kids before opening the exit door, IMO.


LetThemEatRand's picture

Sorry to read of your strife, but consider that you are in this situation because others have "gone Galt."  Galt was a fictional industrialist who thought workers were leeches.  The message of Atlas Shrugged is that anyone who does not run the corporation is a leech loser.  Feel like a leech or do you feel like you've had the blood sucked out of you?

Prometheus418's picture

Had the blood sucked out of me, of course.

I know what you're saying, LTER.  I'm not on the bandwagon of those hating you.  I disagree with some of your arguments, but that goes back to a previous post.  Sadly, I don't work for a Rearden, I work for a Taggart- a couple of heirs who may or may not have had good intentions, but continually cave in the walls we build for them through inaction and apparent apathy.

But that being said, it's a complex world.  Not a day goes by without the engineering department being blamed for every evil in the company- both from above and from below.  The floor dances to our tune, but has no problem pointing a finger when they don't listen to it.  To them, we're the parasites, because we're what they see and can blame.  The handful of folks above shovel the shit down- conveniently forgetting at every opportunity that we warned them about the results of their inaction and provided solutions that were never implemented.

In this case, however, I am using the meme of "going Galt" loosely.  It's not about the "workers-" it's about the thousands I see who do not work, and do not care to- as well as the landed gentry who feel that their inherited wealth and privledges grant them some sort of divine right to enslave me and mine.  Similar to the Kingdom model you postulate.  

When I work to the best of my abilities, it enriches everyone but myself and my family.  It leads to more work with the same or less reward.  When I slack off and do little, I am paid the same but have less stress- I am also not contributing to generational wealth that is being used as a cudgel in an attempt to force my mind to produce.  

Remember, it wasn't just the owners who were lionized in that book- Eddie Willers was a hero in his own right as well.  I'll admit that Rand kind of screwed that example up in the end, but at least he got an honorable mention.

LetThemEatRand's picture

I won't debate Rand with you because you're having a bad day and I don't begin to claim that I know the answer.   Chances are if you're in the engineering department that you'll get your day.  The best revenge is living well.

The Second Rule's picture

Being a 'supporter' or a 'producer' for the system normally yields tremendous benefits. Until, that point in time when you wake up, like in your penultimate paragraph. Waking up is dangerous. Waking up puts you at tremendous (and immediate) risk. Those who wake up must make a choice: Do I continue to be a producer, or, a suporter of the system, or, do I STOP? Those who stop will incur the everlasting wrath of the system which will tear them and their lives apart. Those who decide to continue being supporters and producers will do quite well...

They'll get the vacation house in Veil or Kauaii. They'll get the promotions. They'll get the bonuses and the 401ks. They'll get the stock options. It's just like in the movie They Live. Those who go along with the system reap the benefits of the system. Those who do not are reaped.

Bearwagon's picture

"At least we lived well for twelve years!" Hermann Göring, Nuremberg 1945

Says it all ...

Col_Sanders's picture

Based on your description, I feel like you could be sitting in the cube next to me...

I never thought much about it, but I've been doing the same thing - "going Galt" loosely.  It is so much less stressful to just let it ride and go along with whatver the non-engineering types demand.  Rather than break my neck trying to explain the physics as well as the cost/benefit of doing it right the first time, I just let it slide with a smile.  And when it breaks, I take my time fixing it because it obviously wasn't that big of a deal when it was being built, so it can't possibly be that big of a deal now that it's broken.

Do I know how to fix it quickly?  Maybe.  Will I do it?  Nope.  I'll take care of it when I'm back from lunch - which now lasts at least two hours by the way...

Perhaps they should have given me - and everyone else in engineering - a raise that would actually keep up with the real inflation level instead of throwing all those hundred-thousand-dollar executive parties and then claiming that "times are tough" when it's review time.


The Second Rule's picture

You're smarter than me. It took me my entire career to work out the "proper" work methodology.

The Second Rule's picture

I'd had a few too many gin & tonics last night to properly appreciate what you were saying. But now that I re-read with a sober eye, I can see, you are a gifted writer and thinker.

Liberty2012's picture

One cannot be completely against Rand and for Freedom at the same time.

Workers are producers. Producers are workers. That's pretty much the whole point of the book. "Elites" cannot maintain their "status" without convincing others to work for them.

Galt was a producing worker - working for someone else's motor company - until he "woke up". "Going Galt" means recognizing that you always work for yourself, even when someone else signs the paycheck.

When he saw the rottenness of the system, he decided to take action.

One of the reasons the book focuses on heads of companies is because all of them were contributing to the problem, feeding the beast, without realizing it. Another reason is that they were the quickest way to expose the beast and stop the corrupt system.

The book did a great job describing the problem, thereby offering a glimpse on how to solve it. People "waking up" is a key part of that.

We the People create the world we live in with every choice we make.

Truth => Individual => Responsibility => Freedom

Everything good in life requires free will.

The Second Rule's picture

That's dark. I know darkness. Been there a few times.

Bunders's picture





If you hate them stop working for them. If they're stealing from your families future stop working for them. R. Buckminster Fuller had served as an engineer in the US Armed Forces and on retiring found himself stood on a cliff edge with the intention of committing suicide. He decided, instead, to devote himself wholeheartedly and exclusively to endeavours  that had the potential to benefit all mankind equally. 


Sharing is caring, protectionism is theft?

Scro's picture

Dude, you need to switch to decaf.

Prometheus418's picture

No, you need to find your balls.  

How can you not be enraged by the theft and murder of everything around you, Timmy?  Is it some kind of magic pill that keeps your days full of sunshine and rainbows?

pelican's picture

It looks rather clear the plan is to transfer the wealth to a few.  Once that occurs, the rest of the country will be brought into third world status.  Why you ask?  Too many people consuming too much stuff. The wealthy families see this and are planning for popluation reduction. They will try poverity first, and if that doesn't work war.


It is amazing, this could be a beutiful beutiful life, however a few people fuck it up for everyone else.


vulcanraven's picture

The only thing that keeps this economy alive is credit, spending, and debt. Along with hot beef injections from the FED.


USGDP is Consumerism. All savers must die.





krispkritter's picture

47% should not receive anything they don't work for.  The other 50% will be allowed to keep what they DO work for and only pay for what they consume. No workee, no payee. Charity starts in the home(that isn't mortgaged, taxed, in foreclosure due to bank fraud, etc.).  It worked before, it can work again. Oh, and Bernanke, this just came in an email: FUCK YOU!

Terminus C's picture

It is the corporate welfare that funnels the wealth of the middle and poor to the top, don't kid yourself, "socialism" is welfare for the rich, not the poor.

krispkritter's picture

To me, a separate thread. I don't believe that 'corporate welfare' would survive sunlight if Citizen's hadn't paved the way for the largest goodie basket of all time for politicians paying off their 'corporate constituents'.  I don't think corp's would survive wholesale abandonment by consumers creating and selling their goods and keeping their own profits.  No doubt .Gov largesse to corps would have to end but that's where term limits, reversal of Citizen's, and the revocation of the 17th come to mind among a laundry list of other changes.

Whatta's picture

Yeah...my number one is to get rid of the special interests influence in DC. No more buying-off of this now fascist fuck government.

A government that serves the people and not corporate masters and themselves.

A government that gets the same ratshit deal they try and pawn off on the public...like zerOcare, no insider trading, same retirement, etc.

Offthebeach's picture

Good luck with that. I believe the first law passed and signed by Washington was a hack, corporate, money bill to support shipping.
( it's always about the money )

beaker's picture

Outlaw lobbyists while we're at it

mayhem_korner's picture



You mean by shooting them, not by passing some law, right?

Marco's picture

Hah, sure get rid of one of the few effective taxes which prevent wealth accumulation ... hell throw in estate taxes too. Surely that will help.

I could get behind giving an individual non transferrable exemption sufficient for say a small farm though.

Freddie's picture

Constitutional Money is also also called bimetalism.  The central banksters aka European bankster families killed President McKinley because he was supporting bimetalism for the USA.   One of the last good guys in America.

Marco's picture

So ... taxation used to pay people who arbitrage unnaturally fixed gold/silver exchange rates is a good thing? That is what bimetallism always results in after all.

Mandel Bot's picture

I think you are confusing fiat with real money

Marco's picture

No, I'm talking about bimetallism ... a historic system where the exchange rate between gold and silver was artificially fixed by government, which always resulted in arbitrage and lots of taxes going to the people performing that arbitrage.

yogibear's picture

Woodrow Wilson after creating the Federal Reserve said:

I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world. No longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.