An American Anti-Magnificat

Source: Progressive Christians Uniting

The Working Poor: The IRS says that the bottom fifth of U.S. taxpayers–some 26 million–made under $11,000 in 2004 and had an average income of $5,743–up 2.4 percent from 2000. A “taxpayer” can be a single individual or a couple with children, meaning that the poorest 60 million Americans–everyone covered by these 25 million tax returns–enjoyed an average income of less than $7 per day per person. (The official poverty line in 2004 was $27 for a single adult below retirement age.)

The Very Wealthy: Incomes at the very top–some 300,000 households–also slipped a bit between 2000 and 2004, but this group still reported significantly more income than the poorest 120 million Americans earned in 2004. The elite group increased its share of national income substantially over the period from 1979–the oldest year studied by the IRS. (In 1979 the top households received “only” about a third of the income of the big group at the bottom.)

A Disturbing Pattern: We often hear consoling numbers about overall income growth in the U.S., but this aggregate growth masks a horrendously uneven distribution. For example…

*the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers made 95 cents in 2004 for each dollar they made ini 1979: that is, over a period of 25 years their real income actually fell

*the next best off group–those between the 60th and 80th rungs on the ladder–moved upward over the period, but only by two cents, earning $1.02 in 2004 for every dollar they had earned in 1979

*only those in the top 5 percent had significant gains: those between the 95 and 99th rungs on the ladder saw their income rise by 53 percent over the period

*a full third of the aggregate growth in national income went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers–and more than half of that to the top tenth of 1 percent. Members of this super-elite group were making $3.48 in 2004 for every dollar they made in 2000. Moreover, the Bush tax cuts for the superrich meant that for each inflation-adjusted dollar they had after taxes in 1979, their 2004 equivalent was $3.94.

Mind you, this changes reflect income distribution in the United States, not wealth distribution, which is even more grotesquely unequal.


Cato said...

The bottom third or so doesn't even pay taxes anymore. "The bottom 60% of taxpayers" now and then is deceiving as this number changes and gets smaller all the time (as less and less people pay taxes so that in the long run only a minority will pay taxes to the majority. And the South shall rise again!).

Anonymous said...

Actually, economically speaking, everything will workout. However, in the long run we're all dead -- the casue of death will most likely be from flooding caused be global warming.

Cato said...

Flooding from "global warming" will not happen. Have you ever been to a sauna? And have you ever heard of a man by the name of Archimedes? Did you know that the Anartic sheet aside from one small area where iceberg calves off is growing? Also, what do you know about salinity, the "oceanic converyor", and negative feedback loops that are all over nature?

Anonymous said...

Cato's been reading Steve Milloy again. And I thought Cato had a brain. Someone stop him before gives us a "scientific" lecture on negative feedboack loops and quotes a 200 B.C. Greek scientist.

Cato said...

True statements, regardless of when they were made, are still true. "Oh it was so long ago, the laws of nature surely must have changed since then". I mean, who the hell uses the Pythagorean theorem or anything like that anymore? It's a bunch of truth a long time ago, but it's no longer true! What's true is what I decide is true!!!!!!

As for negative feedback loops they are all over nature, from a microscopic level regarding hormone regulation in your own body, to a macroscopic level regarding ecosystem regulation on a local level and even a global level.

But go back to that group think thing you've got going on. Working out well. Boogey men gonna get ya! Look out! Do as the men in suits say!

Anonymous said...


Rush Limbaugh compares the ice cap melting to a drink in glass mixed with ice and, say, Kool-Aid. Rush points out that, if you let the ice melt, that glass doesn't overflow. So wants the big worry?

Andy Rand said...


I too thought you had a brain. At least
a big enough one to not have to sift your info through Steve Miloy's Climatic Coffee Filter.
Tell me you understand those assinine equations in the Miloy challenge? Better yet tell me they mean something.
Both Milloy and the Algorites are propaganda machines. But at least the algorites point out that their studies are peer reviewed. Steve Milloy is without peer.
Also, if Miloy ever found evidence arthropogenic effects on global warming, Exxon would soak up his funding faster that a Texas Oil well.

I think a lot of people just don't want to move to Florida when they retire. They may not have to.
With Global warming the South will rise again.

Anonymous said...

Geez Cato, take a pill and calm down. All that pent up pressure causing steam to come out of your ears and methane to come out of your ass will just lead to more anthropogenic global warming. I think you need to use more exclamation points to get your point across. Let me try that (!!!!!!!!!). Hey that works.

You're so smart, Cato. Read me another bedtime story about macroscopic ecosystem regulation. You must be as good a scientist as Steve Milloy.

Our grandkids will look back on your writings and thank you for your insight.

Cato said...

I was not reading Steve Milloy nor do I have any opinion on whether or not he is reliable since I do not read his work. Since I wasn't reading Milloy, I really am not going to defend him since he had nothing to do with what I said. Instead of addressing my points, as usual when people go into a corner, a straw man was attacked. Fallacies are not arguments. This entire thing came about from me following some rube baiting with fallacies. Perhaps I should have known better.

I do, however, remember from I believe preschool that Archimedes is as correct today as he was in "200 BC" and only an a complete idiot would point out that he was from 200 BC as some sort of "criticism".

I'm done here.

Andy Rand said...


Just when I think you're catching on to the light hearted spirit around here(or to you perhaps you think it dim witted) you go and get all serious.
If you missed my other Holiday message of good cheer, I'll repeat it here.

Happy Holidays.

Anonymous said...

I don't suppose anybody noticed the article used meaningless statistics comparisons to make its point. It was so obvious that the numbers were rigged that the article is worthles.

Anonymous said...

Cato stopped using exclamation points and switched to italics to start making his points. I'd do that too, except I'm such a COMPLETE IDIOT (his words, not mine), that I can't figure out how to do italics on this dang blog.


(Actually, I'm not done here. I'll be back here a lot. I just wanted to say that - just like Cato does when he wants to bloggily stomp off with a huff. What a weenie.)