Posts Tagged ‘poverty’


According to a new World Bank report [ht: sm], on inequality in South Asia, among the United States, Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam, the probability of moving out of poverty within a generation (from 2005 to 2010) was highest in Vietnam.

Just to put a point on it: upward mobility from poverty was the same in the United States as in Bangladesh.


Is 2015 going to be the year of class?

It certainly seems so, to judge by the widening gap between the wage and profit shares (the wage share in blue on the right scale of the chart above, the profit share in red on the left scale) and the worries recently expressed by politicians, economists, and journalists.

There is, of course, Mitt Romney on income inequality and the “scourge of poverty” (because Republicans have nowhere else to go, having been boxed in by Barack Obama on most other issues, but they’re going to have a hard time going against their pro-business agenda, especially with Romney as the standard-bearer).

And Obama himself, who apparently is going to propose closing the multibillion-dollar tax loopholes used by the wealthiest Americans, imposing a fee on big financial firms, and then using the revenue to benefit the middle-class (but he’s unlikely to get much bipartisan support in Congress for any kind of serious moves on those issues).

Plus we have the spectacle of Larry Summers (together with Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls) openly expressing his concern for the future of democracy if capitalism cannot deliver broad-based prosperity, which may give rise to “political alienation, a loss of social trust, and increasing conflict across the lines of race, class, and ethnicity.”


But, as Mike Whitney [ht: ja] reminds us, the problem of class war is not a recent phenomenon: the most recent chapter started in the mid-1970s, when “everything started going down the plughole.” Once wages became detached from productivity,

the rich progressively got richer. They used their wealth to reduce taxes on capital, roll back critical regulations, break up the unions, install their own lapdog politicians, push through trade agreements that pitted US workers against low-paid labor in the developing world, and induce their shady Central Bank buddies to keep interest rates locked below the rate of inflation so they could cream hefty profits off gigantic asset bubbles. Now, 40 years later, they own the whole shooting match, lock, stock and barrel. And it’s all because management decided to take the lion’s share of productivity gains which threw the whole system off-kilter undermining the basic pillars of democratic government.

That’s where we stand today, in the midst of a class war. And, as everyone now acknowledges, only one side—a tiny minority at the top—is winning.



Yes, that’s right: for the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families.

The Southern Education Foundation reports that 51 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in the 2012-2013 school year were eligible for the federal program that provides free and reduced-price lunches. In 40 of the 50 states, low income students comprised no less than 40 percent of all public schoolchildren. In 21 states, children eligible for free or reduced-price lunches were a majority of the students in 2013.

As we know, a small minority at the top are doing much better during the course of the current recovery. But a large group at the bottom are not doing better at all. They have no option but to send their children to public schools, which are then charged with the responsibility of creating equal opportunity for poor children.

That’s the American way. We permit the growth of grotesque inequalities in our society and then demand that public schools solve all the problems that stem from those inequalities.

But they can’t. No matter how hard public-school teachers try.


Special mention

01_klossnerj_it_labor_market_01-13-2014-100535429-gallery.idge mike4dec

Chart of the day

Posted: 26 December 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, many more so-called millennials (young adults, 18-34 years old) are living in poverty today, and they have lower rates of employment, compared with their counterparts in 1980.

  • One in five young adults lives in poverty (13.5 million people), up from one in seven (8.4 million people) in 1980.
  • Today, 65 percent of young adults are employed, down from 69 percent in 1980.



Special mention

ows_141843152835519 Steve Bell 09.12.14


Special mention

157195_600 157266_600