Rich keep Getting Richer in US

Washington, Jul 6 (IANS/EFE): The White House proposal to curb tax deductions that benefit firms and high-income individuals as part of the deficit-reduction negotiations that are continuing Tuesday have put the magnifying glass on the richest 10 percent of the US population, whose share of the national wealth is growing.

"Any agreement to reduce our deficit is going to require tough decisions and balanced solutions," President Barack Obama said at a press conference last week. "I think it's only fair to ask an oil company or a corporate jet owner that has done so well to give up a tax break that no other business enjoys."

The numbers show that things are going ever better for US millionaires and billionaires.

A June 18 article in The Washington Post mentioned that the richest 10 percent of the population had in 2008 - the last year for which data are available - almost the same share of the total national income as the remaining 90 percent.

The statistics compiled by the Post show that the income of the richest 0.1 percent, about 152,000 people, increased by 385 percent between 1970 and 2008, to $5.6 million per capita per year on average.

On the other hand, the bottom 90 percent have seen their purchasing power fall by 1 percent over the same period, with a median annual household income of $31,244.

The data reflect the growing social inequality in the US since the 1970s after the period of stability that followed World War II.

Income inequality also has increased in countries like China, India and Britain, but the trend has been more pronounced in the US, which now ranks alongside developing countries such as Cameroon and Ivory Coast.

Sarah Bloom Raskin, one of the seven Federal Reserve governors, last week warned that the inequality stems from the stagnation in income for the majority of Americans and the rapid increase in the wealth of the top 1 percent.

"This inequality is destabilising and undermines the ability of the economy to grow sustainably and efficiently," she said at a forum in Washington sponsored by the New America Foundation


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