Thursday, June 20, 2013

U.S. middle class ranks 27th in wealth

America is the richest country in the world.


A new study shows the U.S. ranks 27th in the world when it comes to middle-class wealth.

Here's more bad news: Wages fell faster in the first quarter of 2013 than they have at any time in the last 65 years.

Though the U.S. ranks first in overall wealth, average Americans don't get a fair share of the wealth they create.

AlterNet came up with a list that explains why:
  • Weak labor laws undermine unions and give large corporations more power to keep wages and benefits down. Unions now represent less than 7 percent of all private sector workers, the lowest ever recorded. 
  • America encourages globalization of production so that workers here are in constant competition with the lower-wage workers all over the world as well as with highly automated technologies.
  • Our minimum wage is pathetic, especially in comparison to other developed nations. (We’re #13.) Nobody can live decently on $7.25 an hour. Our poverty-level minimum wage puts downward pressure on the wages of all working people.
  • Wall Street is out of control. Once deregulation started 30 years ago, money has gushed to the top as Wall Street was free to find more and more unethical ways to fleece us. 
  • Higher education puts our kids into debt. In most other countries higher education is practically tuition-free. Indebted students are not likely to accumulate wealth anytime soon. 
  • The wealthy dominate politics. Nowhere else in the developed world are the rich and their corporations able to buy elections with such impunity.
(Read the whole list here.)