Alternet: Half of America Is in or Damn Near Close to Living in Poverty

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From Alternet:

by Paul Buchheit

Recent reports have documented the growing rates of impoverishment in the U.S., and new information surfacing in the past 12 months shows that the trend is continuing, and probably worsening. 

Congress should be filled with guilt -- and shame -- for failing to deal with the enormous wealth disparities that are turning our country into the equivalent of a 3rd-world nation. 

Half of Americans Make Less than a Living Wage 

According to the Social Security Administration, over half of Americans make less than $30,000 per year. 

That's less than an appropriate average living wage of $16.87 per hour, as calculated by Alliance for a Just Society (AJS), and it's not enough -- even with two full-time workers -- to attain an "adequate but modest living standard" for a family of four, which at the median is over $60,000, according to the Economic Policy Institute. 

AJS also found that there are 7 job seekers for every job opening that pays enough ($15/hr) for a single adult to make ends meet. 

Half of Americans Have No Savings 

A study by Go Banking Rates reveals that nearly 50 percent of Americans have no savings. Over 70 percent of us have less than $1,000. Pew Research supports this finding with survey results that show nearly half of American households spending more than they earn. The lack of savings is particularly evident with young adults, who went from a five-percent savings rate before the recession to a negative savings rate today. 

Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman summarize: "Since the bottom half of the distribution always owns close to zero wealth on net, the bottom 90% wealth share is the same as the share of wealth owned by top 50-90% families." 

Read the full article from Alternet