CFED Scorecard

Today's News: Gut-Wrenching Inequality Goes Unchecked

Hamilton Nolan
Gawker
Jan 30, 2015

A new day dawns, and with it, a new detailed report laying out exactly how garishly unequal our national economic situation has become. Behold the bitter fruit of America. This is what we do here.

Today's report comes from the CFED. Here are its broad outlines, which have not changed in some time, except to get worse, and worse, and worse:

  • A full 25% of jobs are considered "low wage," an increase of more than 4% in a single year. The American poverty rate stands at almost 15%, and one in eight workers is considered "underemployed."
  • Forty four percent of U.S. households—including one in four middle class households—do not have enough savings to tide them over for three months if they lose their income. More than half of U.S. consumers have credit scores considered subprime.
  • Fewer than two thirds of Americans own homes, a 20-year low. Fewer than half of workers have a retirement savings plan. Average annual income in 2013 fell below $50,000, a decline from the year before.
  • For non-white families, the story is even worse: compared to white households, they have less savings, worse credit scores, and are less likely to own homes, own businesses, or have a college degree.

In other inequality news, the ongoing accumulation of wealth at the very top of the income chart is reshaping the entire national economy and driving businesses and services towards rich consumers and away from everyone else: "Demand bifurcated," one expert tells the Wall Street Journal, which means that demand grew among the rich and declined or disappeared among the middle and lower classes, due to the fact that their incomes are not growing a bit.

We will continue to bring you updates on how the above dynamics are getting worse in the coming years.

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