Lifted from reader rjs newletter:
Synopsis below the fold:
Wage Statistics Show The Rich Get Richer Again in 2012 -The rich get richer and income inequality in America continues with no end in sight. The latest evidence is from the social security administration The gap between rich and the rest of us continues to grow. The social security administration keeps statistics on average and median wages as reported on Federal income taxes and contributions to deferred compensation plans. They use income tax data to calculate your social security benefits. Below is a chart of the average wage and median wage from 1990 to 2012. Median means 50% of all wage earners earned that wage or less.T he average wage has increased 110.7% since 1990, yet the median wage has only increased 89.8%. The reason the average wage has increased more than the median is the super rich. Average wages are calculated by taking the total compensation in America and dividing by the number of wage earners. The reason the median and average wage diverge is because those few at the top making millions push the average wage amount much higher. To see this disparity of how most of America is working for peanuts, below is a graph of wage earners by income bracket. A full 15.2% of wage earners makeless than $5,000 per year. A whopping 24.2%, of all wage earners make less than $10,000 per year and almost a third, 32.2%, of American wage earners make under $15,000. Think about trying to rent a one bedroom apartment never mind feed oneself with these kinds of wages.
“Mommy, take us home and we will never ask for food again” — The dire situation of Greek families facing economic hardship crossed the big ocean and reached the United States. In an article with heartbreaking examples, The Huffington Post highlights the plight of many families who cannot feed their children, the malnutrition spreading among elementary and high-school children and the many civic initiatives to give a helping hand and a warm meal to the thousands in need. “Mommy, take us home and we will never ask for food again!” With this heartbreaking cry, a girl residing at a nursery in the Kallithea area of Athens tugs on her mother’s skirt and begs her to take her and her two siblings back home. The mother, visiting to cuddle and play with her children at the nursery that is providing them with food and shelter, runs away crying as she can not afford to take her children with her.“But, sweetheart, we have nothing to eat at home,” she replies. Undaunted, the child continues with a seriousness way beyond her years, “Mommy, take us home and we will never be hungry again, I promise you!” This story, along with many other similar tales of destitute families unable to feed and clothe their children, has become so common in Greece that UNICEF reports an unbelievable 600,000 of the country’s young are malnourished and living below the poverty line.
NYC Food Bank Head: 40% Of Veterans Need Food Assistance — Veterans are returning to New York City from their service only to be faced with going hungry, the head a city food bank said. As WCBS reported, Margarette Purvis, president and CEO of the Food Bank for New York City, tried to raise awareness about the plight of former service members during a speech in the Bronx on Sunday. “On this Veterans Day, when we’re waving our flags — I need every New Yorker to know — 40 percent of New York City veterans are relying on soup kitchens and pantries,” Purvis said. That amounts to 95,000 people. “That is not a guesstimate; that is a fact,” she said. Purvis added that matters will only get worse now that $5 billion has been cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
Too Much Of Too Little – The 4-year-old grabbed a bag of cheddar-flavored potato chips and a granola bar. The 9-year-old filled a bowl with sugary cereal and then gulped down chocolate milk. Their mother, Blanca, arrived at the refrigerator and reached into the drawer where she stored the insulin needed to treat her diabetes. She filled a needle with fluid and injected it into her stomach with a practiced jab. For almost a decade, Blanca had supported her five children by stretching $430 in monthly food stamp benefits, adding lard to thicken her refried beans and buying instant soup by the case at a nearby dollar store. She shopped for “quantity over quality,” she said, aiming to fill a grocery cart for $100 or less. But the cheap foods she could afford on the standard government allotment of about $1.50 per meal also tended to be among the least nutritious — heavy in preservatives, fats, salt and refined sugar. Now Clarissa, her 13-year-old daughter, had a darkening ring around her neck that suggested early-onset diabetes from too much sugar. Now Antonio, 9, was sharing dosages of his mother’s cholesterol medication. Now Blanca herself was too sick to work, receiving disability payments at age 40 and testing her blood-sugar level twice each day to guard against the stroke doctors warned was forthcoming as a result of her diet.
Harsher cuts are on their way — Winter is coming, and the automatic cuts known as sequestration means that poor families across the country will have less money to heat their homes. Last week, the government gave out 10% less to states for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, as compared to the previous year—a decrease that’s partly due to looming sequestration cuts in 2014. For Maine, whose funding got cut 3%, that means families are receiving $129 less in heating aid just as the temperature has started to drop. “That doesn’t buy enough heat to get through the winter,” “The only thing you can tell them is to close off the rest of the house and stay in one room.” It’s a reminder that the worst is yet to come for many programs if the across-the-board cuts continue, as agencies run out of stopgap measures that have kept them afloat for the last year and more reductions make themselves felt. Unless Congress reverses the cuts, defense discretionary spending will be cut by an estimated $19 billion in 2014 and non-defense spending will be cut $12 billion more, according Michael Linden, managing director for economic policy at the Center for American Progress. That’s on top of the cuts that have already occurred since March, when sequestration began. The reductions shrank defense spending by $9 billion this year, and non-defense spending by $36 billion, as compared to 2012.