Reality - Symptoms
The financial wealth of the top one percent of households now exceeds the
combined wealth of the bottom 95 percent (Edward N. Wolff, "Recent Trends in
Wealth Ownership," a paper for the conference on "Benefits and Mechanisms for
Spreading Asset Ownership in the United States," New York University, December
10-12, 1998. In 1995, the financial wealth of the top one percent was greater
than the bottom 90 percent.)
The wealth of the Forbes 400 richest Americans grew by an average $940 million each from 1997-1999 while over a recent 12-year period the net worth of the bottom 40 percent of households declined 80 percent (Forbes 400, October 11, 1999.)
The Federal Reserve found in its latest survey of consumer finances that although median family net worth rose 17.6 percent between 1995 and 1998, family wealth was "substantially below" 1989 levels for all income groups under age 55 (Edward N. Wolff, "Recent Trends in Wealth Ownership," Ibid. The period cited was 1983 to 1995, based on the Federal Reserve's 1995 Survey of Consumer Finances)...
From 1983-1997, only the top five percent of households saw an increase in their net worth while wealth declined for everyone else (Federal Reserve Bulletin, January 2000, p. 6)
As of 1997, the median household financial wealth (marketable assets less home equity) was $11,700, $1,300 lower than in 1989 (idem)
For the first time since the Great Depression, the national savings rate turned negative (during the first quarter of 1999) (Feldstein, chairman of Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, was a key architect of supply-side economics).
Economist Robert Frank reports that the top one percent captured 70 percent of all earnings growth since the mid-1970's
On an inflation-adjusted basis, the median hourly wage in 1998 was 7 percent lower than in 1973 - when Richard Nixon was in the White House
The pay gap between top executives and production workers grew from 42:1 in 1980 to 419:1 in 1998 (excluding the value of stock options) (Forbes)
Executive pay at the nation's 365 largest companies rose an average 481 percent from 1990 to 1998 while corporate profits rose 108 percent (Forbes)
Had the typical worker's pay risen in tandem with executive pay, the average production worker would now earn $110,000 a year and the minimum wage would be $22.08 (Forbes).
The work year has expanded by 184 hours since 1970, an additional 4-1/2 weeks on the job for the same or less pay (Juliet S. Schor, The Overworked American (New York: Basic Books, 1992 - Economic Policy Institute found that the annual hours worked expanded by 45 hours from 1989-1994.)
More than 65 million anti-depressant prescriptions were written in 1998.
Parents spend 40 percent less time with their children today than they did thirty years ago
Had increases in the minimum wage kept pace with inflation since the 1960s, the minimum wage would now exceed the earnings of nearly 30 percent of U.S. workers.
According to the Census Bureau, the top fifth of households now claim 49.2 percent of national income while the bottom fifth gets by on 3.6 percent
Except for inflation adjustments, today's poverty formula remains unchanged since 1965 when it was designed by Lyndon Johnson to address severe nutritional deprivation but only if "the housewife is a careful shopper, a skillful cook and a good manager who will prepare all the family's meals at home."
The national poverty rate remains above that for any year in the 1970's.
One in every four preschoolers in the United States now lives in poverty
Raising the poverty threshold to $19,500 (as recommended by the Census Bureau) boosts the poverty rate to a record-high 17 percent, leaving 46 million Americans short of that minimal level.
Nine years into the longest economic expansion in the nation's history, labor's share of the national income remains two to four percentage points below the levels reached in the late 1960's and early 1970's
Household debt as a percentage of personal income rose from 58 percent in 1973 to an estimated 85 percent in 1997. ...
The world's 200 largest corporations account for 28 percent of global economic activity while employing less than one-quarter of one percent of the global workforce.
Every jet fighter sold by a developed country to a developing country costs the schooling of three million children
In the 1997 fiscal year, the United States exported $8.3 billion of arms to non-democratic countries.