Working Poor Get Poorer, Top 0.1 Percent Get Richer

Long-perpetuated is the belief that poor people deserve their station. If they had only studied more, worked harder, sacrificed a greater deal, they wouldn’t be where they are now.
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Of course, this view negates the very real fact that poverty is cyclical, and the divide between rich and poor has grown exponentially in recent decades. People point to cases where those receiving food aid also have an iPhone. The reality is that the relative cost of electronics has dropped, making them more accessible, but the cost of things like education and child care – the very things that could help one rise out of poverty – have skyrocketed.

Miami foreclosure defense lawyers know it’s this kind of attitude that has allowed large financial institutions to pin the blame for the housing market crash on home buyers, ignoring the enormous role that their own greed, deceit and extensive abuse of the system played in the fiasco.

There has been a push against “the top one percent.” But a recent column by U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) illustrates it’s not even so much them as the top 0.1 percent. These represent the 15,000 wealthiest people in America. In 1960, this group owned 8 percent of the national wealth. Today, they own 22 percent, and it’s increasing. Those with a net worth in excess of $20 million possess nearly a quarter of everything.

Meanwhile, those at the bottom half of the one percent, Grayson noted, have seen marked declines in their wealth, while those in the top 0.5 percent have seen their wealth remain stagnant.

For the rest of us, things have been much worse. It’s been downhill since the late 1980s. We’ve seen home equity values plummet. The value of small businesses has tanked. Liquid asset values, such as stocks, bond, cash, have all been decimated. As Grayson noted, the only middle class form of wealth that has remained steady is 401(k)s and pensions – but one-fourth of the workforce doesn’t have one.

In order to keep up with the credit card debt, the bottom 90 percent in this country have had to spend more than they earned every single year for the last two decades, all the way up until the Great Recession made it impossible to keep up and bankruptcy filings soared.

The bottom 50 percent, meanwhile, have a net worth of absolutely nothing. Zero.

At what point did we forget that progressive taxation benefits us all? After taxes, the wealthiest in this country take home a six percent return on their investments. That means that the average worker would have to get a six percent raise annually just to keep pace with them.

The rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting poorer. Even those who are relatively well off now may only be a few unfortunate events away from reality. A divorce. A sick child. A car breaking down. Many people find themselves suffocated by debt. Those with student loan debts have no relief because they can no longer be discharged in a bankruptcy.

So let’s stop haranguing the poor and get honest about the true source of our collective economic woes.

If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Debt Warriors with Bruce Jacobs,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.

Additional Resources:
What Made America Famous, May 17, 2014, By U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-FL, The Huffington Post
More Blog Entries:
Report: Settlement Negotiated Before Scope of Foreclosure Abuses Was Clear, May 11, 2014, Miami Foreclosure Lawyer Blog