oes our educational system. I'm going to tell you a fact, then back it up with statistical data, the accuracy of which you can directly verify for yourself, and readers will still have a hard time accepting it as the truth. Here it is:
Most Americans are relatively worse off in many ways than people in 19 other industrialized powerhouse countries (Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland). These countries are the United States’ industrial peers, and part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Let’s take a look at the details:
Per Capita Income: U.S. Second Income
Inequality: U.S. First (meaning worst)
Overall Poverty Rate: U.S.
Highest Child Poverty Rate: U.S. Highest
Elderly Poverty Rate: U.S. Highest
Infant Mortality Rate: U.S. First (meaning worst)
Leisure Time: U.S. Last (meaning worst)
Maternity Leave: U.S. Last (meaning worst)
Try to let this information sink in if you can. The United States of America, supposedly a shining beacon and the envy of all the world, has the highest infant mortality rate of its 19 other peer industrialized nations. We have the highest poverty rates. We have the highest income inequality of anyone. Worse still, if you were to take away the top 1% of income earners in the United States, our median-income would completely free-fall to levels well below the rest of our industrialized peer nations. In other words, the average income for most Americans is actually far, far less than the listed median.
Shouldn’t this news shock us? Shouldn’t be reported on every media outlet as the biggest news story around? BREAKING NEWS: Our country is in serious trouble, and falling behind the rest of the industrialized world!
Something must be done. But no, instead I could find only a single published article about the data, from a blog no less, The Village Voice. Here’s some of what they wrote about some of these numbers: Income inequality: "Despite the relatively high median income in the United States, inequality in the United States is so severe that low-income households in the United States are actually worse off than low-income households in all but four peer countries." Leisure time: "The average full-time U.S. worker, at 46.7 weeks per year, works more than the average worker in any peer countries, and about one month more than the overall average, which is 42.6 weeks."
Maternity leave: "The United States [ranks] last among its peer countries in generosity of mandated maternity leave benefits." Child care: "The United States spent $1,803 per child, which was less than a fourth of what was spent in Denmark, less than a third of what was spent in Norway and Sweden, less than half of what was spent in Finland and France, and well below spending in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.”
On (Not) Getting By in America
The previous statistical information, while deeply troubling, is actually just the tip of the iceberg of unreported and ignored American realities. Let’s look at some others (this section will be continuously updated as new information is located):
% US Wealth Controlled by the Top Fifth of Americans: 93 percent
Median Wealth, Black Women: $05.00 (Five Dollars)
# of Citizens Jailed: 1st in the world
# of Homeless Americans: Between 2.3 and 3.5 Million
Trade Deficit Ranking (out of 190 Countries):190th (Worst)
Corporate Welfare in the United States
% of Foreign-owned Corporations doing Business in the US Paying ZERO US Taxes: 72 Percent
% of US Corporations paying ZERO US Taxes: 67 Percent
Effective Tax Rate paid by all Publicly Traded Corporations:12 Percent
Effective Tax Rate Paid by Largest Multinationals: 25 Percent
US taxes paid by Exxon-Mobile paid on $37.3 Billion profit in 2009:
US taxes paid by General Electric on $10.3 Billion Profit in 2009: ZERO
US taxes Paid by Bailout Recipient Bank of America on $4.4 Billion Profit in 2009: ZERO
US Taxes Paid by Chevron on $18.5 Billion Profit in 2009: 200 million
(1.1% Tax Rate)
US Taxes Paid by Verizon on $11.6 Billion Profit in 2009: 1.1
Billion (10% Tax Rate)
According to the Government Accountability Office, nearly three fourths of all foreign-owned corporations doing business inside the United States pay no taxes on that activity in multiple years between 1998 and 2005. Nearly the same amount of US-based corporations pay zero taxes to the United States Government. These facts fly in the face of the ongoing Wall Street and corporate media narrative that US Corporations face the highest taxes in the world. But that should come as no surprise: lying to the American public to cover up the pillaging of the nation is nothing new.
Corporate industry advocates and insiders are quick to claim that these numbers exist because 72% of Foreign companies and 67% of US Companies did not make a profit in the year that they paid no taxes. So of course they should not be expected to pay. I am pleased to report that this claim is a blatant, provable falsehood. Exxon Mobile reported 37.3 billion dollars profit in 2008, from 313 billion dollars in total sales, and paid not a dime to the United States government in taxes. Not one cent. General Electric not only reported 10.3 billion in profit, not only paid not a dime to the United States government in taxes, but actually received 1.1billion back from the government in 2009. Two additional examples above show some of the nations largest corporations turning a profit and paying a tax rate of around 10 percent – not the famed 35 percent marginal rate always being railed against by Wall Street. Indeed, the effective tax rate for all publicly traded companies in 2002 (last year of record) was an obscene 12 percent – less than what many hard working middle income families pay each year.
That percentage had been steadily decreasing over the last decade and the trend shows no sign of stopping. Again industry advocates are quick to claim that part of the reason for this average effective rate is because of companies operating as losses who thus owe no taxes. But again the facts get in the way of their narrative. In addition to the two examples of profitable companies paying about 10 percent, the GAO reports that of just the largest multinational corporations (excluding smaller domestic only companies more likely to operate at a loss) the average effective rate is still 25% – far less than the marginal 35% rate.
These statistics must be connected to the previous statistics in part one. We must be reminded, in light of this information on business-as-usual in America that we have the highest income inequality and highest poverty of the next twenty richest countries in the world, our industrialized peer nations.
Charting the American Decent Into Last-Phase Empire
The top 10% of America controls 71.5% of US Wealth – The Bottom 50% control 2.5%
Household income gains have flip-flopped in the last 30 years
The Gap Between Richest and Poorest Dramatically Widens in the Post-Reagan Era
For the Last 20 Years, Everybody Wins! Except for American Workers
Real average earnings have not increased in 50 years
But savings rates are sinking
The American Dream? Can you Pull Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps? Not Usually, No.
If you aren't in the top 1%, then you're getting a bum deal.
We are a Prison Nation
and a War Nation, Too
Those who find great comfort in shouting “I’m proud to be an American” what exactly are you proud of? Shouldn’t we be embarrassed to death about losing out to the rest of the industrialized world in every single one of these categories? Shouldn’t we be outraged by the blatant pillaging of working America by the financial elite? It is a literal fact that our international peers are beating us across the board on what I believe to be key moral indicators of the health of our nation.
So, what does “USA #1” Mean? Number one in what?
(Some source information already included in charts . The remainder is listed below. Special thanks to additional data miners: From http://practical-vision.blogspot.com/2009/03/we-are-losing-america-right-before-our.html
gmoney, SocialistLez, Bert & Oregone of Democratic
Wealth Distribution: http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html
Household Income Inequality: http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/08/SWA06_Tab8.16.jpg
Poverty Rates: http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/08/SWA06_Tab8.17.jpg
Child Poverty Rates: http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/08/SWA06_Fig8G.jpg
Social Expenditure vs. Child Poverty: http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/08/SWA06_Fig8H.jpg
Infant Mortality Rates Per 1,000 Live Births: http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/08/SWA06_Fig8K.jpg
Public / Private Expenditures on Health Care: http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/08/SWA06_Fig8I.jpg
% of Foreign and US Corporations Paying Zero US Taxes http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08957.pdf
Effective Tax Rate for all Publicly Traded Corporations http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0419/p16s03-cogn.html
Effective Tax Rate for Largest (Multinational) Corporations http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08950.pdf
All other Corporate Welfare Data (on US Tax Payments for
The top 10% of America controls 71.5% of US Wealth – The Bottom 50%
control 2.5% http://extremeinequality.org/ The gap
between the top 1% and everyone else hasn't been this bad since the
Roaring Twenties http://www.thenation.com/special/images/extreme_inequalitychart.jpg
The American Dream? Can you Pull Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps?
Not Usually, No. http://emlab.berkeley.edu/users/webfac/dromer/e291_f07/Saez.pdf
The Gap Between Richest and Poorest Dramatically Widens in the
Post-Reagan Era http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html
Defense Spending – Global Comparisons http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending#USMilitarySpending
Median Income of Black Women in the United States: http://uspoverty.change.org/blog/view/the_median_net_wealth_of_black_women_is_5US
U.S. Incarceration Rates: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/us/23prison.html?_r=1
Additional statistical information, and excerpts of full SWA
report: http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/ Number
of Homeless Americans http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/How_Many.html
by Political Heretic -
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