Friday, October 21, 2011

You know how bad you think things are? They're worse than that.

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I was doing my normal review of news web sites this morning when I came across this headline at the Washington Post:

The median U.S. wage in 2010 was just $26,363
At first I was shocked by this but then, not so much. David Dayen had this post at FDL News back in September
There were a couple other pieces of big news from the release of Census data. First, real median household income declined in 2010 by 2.3%. The average household now makes $49,445 a year.
My bold. If you think about it, with the rise of multi-person earners in households, the two figures are not at all incompatible. Nevertheless, it is still a concern It reinforces the message being sent by the folks at the various #Occupy efforts around the country.

This post from points out some of the aspects of this:
Though the average wage of a single earner stood at $39,959.30 per year, that number was skewed by those at the very top of the survey - the 93,725 earners who took home more than $1 million annually. That top sliver - a fraction of a fraction of the top 1 percent - collectively took home $224.6 billion , or about $2.4 million per top earner.


When one end or the other of a set becomes skewed, averages become extremely misleading. The $40,000-per-year figure seems reasonable until you realize that just over 66 percent of all workers come in under that number. As the SSA states, "by definition, 50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage."

In more prosperous times, it might have been safe to assume that the average 4-person household contained two wage earners, but with U-6 unemployment at a seasonally adjusted rate of 16.5 percent in September, that's far from certain. It looks like half of all American families are a single layoff away from living in poverty.

n the meantime, the major banks earnings are boosted by an accounting quirk called the debt value adjustment, which means that their earnings rise if their creditors perceive their debt as riskier, and thus less valuable, TheStreet reports.

When two facts like these are set against each other, is it any wonder that the occupations in Zuccotti Park, Dewey Square and Grant Park continue to gather momentum?
According to this wiki, the 2011 poverty line for a single person is $10, 890 while for a family of four it is $22,350. In this post from last December, I did a "what-if" based on one person working a full-time, minimum wage job. Obviously, there are millions of people not even close to working a full time, minimum wage job.

This Google Docs Spreadsheet breaks out the income/population spread in $5K increments. This article from The Atlantic offers some perspective on the various group sizes.

Yeah, I'm part of the 99%. Why aren't you?

And because I can:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Only MOTUs and Banksters get TARPs.

Author's Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

So there I was this morning, having completed my daily check for jobs in my chosen field of Software Quality Assurance and Testing (I do wish it would take longer than five minutes as that would mean there are actually some improvements in the economy but such is life), when I reached the NY Times and saw this article with the headline from Mayor Bloomberg that "‘Tent City’ Goes Beyond Free Speech":

“The Constitution doesn’t protect tents,” he said at a news conference in Queens. “It protects speech and assembly.”

The mayor expressed concern that those exercising a “right to be silent” might be getting drowned out amid the din of the protests.

“We can’t have a place where only one point of view is allowed,” he said. “There are places where I think it’s appropriate to express yourself, and there are other places that are appropriate to set up Tent City. They don’t necessarily have to be one and the same.”
A quick check of der Google shows that a lot of elected officials in places such as Durham, NC, Hennepin Co, MN, Seattle, WA, San Francisco and even Sydney, Australia are apparently in full agreement with Mayor Bloomberg. In fact, in this quick check, it was only Hartford, CT that did not seem to think tents and Tarps are the cause of the decline of Western Civilization. (I'm sure there are other cities fighting the use of tents and tarps and there may even be a couple of others allowing them besides Hartford).

David Dayen at FDL News notes that in fact there is only one tent in Zuccotti Park, a medicine tent. It seems folks owe a bit of thanks to Jesse Jackson for helping to block the NYPD from taking this tent down:
Bloomberg’s foray into originalism notwithstanding, the focus on tents also apparently extends to medicine. Because hours after the mayor made this statement, the NYPD tried to take down the medical tent at Zuccotti Park. Jesse Jackson, who was randomly on the scene in the middle of the night when this went down, helped save the tent, which is apparently not Constitutionally protected. Incidentally, the medical tent is the only tent at Zucotti Park. So he must really have it out for that tent. Such an eyesore!
So tell me Mr Mayor, where in the Constitution does it say that taxpayers have to bail out TBTF banks and give them a "TARP?" It seems that if Banksters and MOTUs get a TARP that protects their bonuses, surely folks who are protesting that largesse can have a tarp to protect themselves from the weather.

It seems to this ol' country boy that so many of the politicians around the globe are paid to be bullish and protect the MOTU and Banksters. Along with the Bloomberg article, today's NY Times had another article about how Gov Cuomo refuses to extend New York's "millionaire's tax":
Even as Occupy Wall Street stokes debate over income inequality, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo dug in his heels on Monday against extending a so-called millionaires’ tax on high-earning New Yorkers, saying the income tax surcharge would place New York at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states.
The problem when politicians are so bullish about the MOTU and banksters? When there are a lot of bulls around, there's bound to be a lot of bull shit around.

H/T Peterr for the post title

And because I can: