Monday, October 25, 2010
Deja Vu all over again...
New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy
One out of every 34 Americans who earned wages in 2008 earned absolutely nothing -- not one cent -- in 2009.
The stunning figure was released earlier this month by the Social Security Administration, but apparently went unreported until it appeared today on Tax.com in a column by Pulitzer Prize-winning tax reporter David Cay Johnston.
It's not just every 34th earner whose financial situation has been upended by the financial crisis. Average wages, median wages, and total wages have all declined -- except at the very top, where they leaped dramatically, increasing five-fold.
Johnston writes that while the number of Americans earning more than $50 million fell from 131 in 2008 to 74 in 2009, those that remained at the top increased their income from an average of $91.2 million in 2008 to almost $519 million.
The wealth is astounding, says Johnston. "That's nearly $10 million in weekly pay!... These 74 people made as much as the 19 million lowest-paid people in America, who constitute one in every eight workers."