Tag Archives: Income Disparity

$39,000 For a Backpack? Luxury Items Flying Off the Shelves

As Marie Antoinette allegedly said, when told the poor had no bread, “Let them eat cake.”

I bet she would have had one of these bags….

Some kids can’t pay their college tuition without mortgaging their future with student loans and others carry a backpack that costs more than a year’s tuition at an Ivy League College???

Something is very wrong here….

From AlterNet.org:

If you wanted to sum up what people mean when they toss around phrases like “class war” and “the 99 percent”  and “WTF,” you might put it all down to this: $39,000 backpacks. Sold out.

It’s been four years since the entrepreneurial Olsen sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley, launched their luxury fashion line, the Row, and three months since they debuted their stylish and exorbitantly priced black crocodile bag. But it was the news this week that at the Paris launch of the handbag line, Ashley Olsen bragged that the backpack “was the first thing that sold off the shelf” that really took the let-them-eat-cake. Olsen added that luxury brands do well in hard times, noting that “During our last economic crisis in the U.S., the only thing that went up was Hermès,” before, in the words of Women’s Wear Daily, “returning to sip Champagne with guests including Michelle Harper and Christian Louboutin.” As a commenter on CNN observed of this news, “This is what’s wrong with America. The income inequality in this country is outrageous, we are well on our way to becoming a 3rd world country.” Or, as another more aptly expressed it, “That’s cray cray.”

via $39,000 For a Backpack? Luxury Items Flying Off the Shelves | | AlterNet.

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If Top 1% Hadn’t Ripped Off Trillions, You’d Likely Be Making Thousands of Dollars More Right Now

There are some very important numbers in this post from AlterNet.org.

This really illustrates, historically speaking, how disparate income distribution is now compared to past years.

Entire article is worth a read;  here is a brief excerpt along with the link to the full version:

 

Contained in that simple message is an implied demand, whether or not people recognize it: undoing several decades of increasing inequality in this country.

Economists Thomas Picketty and Emanuel Saez sliced and diced America’s income going all the way back to 1913, and their results tell us exactly what the Occupy Wall Street movement is about, at least in broad terms.

Choose a year from some fondly remembered past when the American economy generated broadly shared prosperity. How about 1947? That year, the top 1 percent of U.S. households grabbed a bit less than 12 percent of the nation’s pre-tax income, and the other 99 percent shared around 88 percent of the take. It wasn’t a perfect time, but it was an era when a large middle-class was emerging.

Or maybe you think 1967 was a great time to be an American worker. That year, the top 1 percent grabbed 10.7 percent of the pile, and the other 99 percent divvied up around 89 percent of our income.

Between 1949 and 1979, those at the top never took in more than 12.8 percent of the total. When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, they grabbed 10 percent of our economic output, and the rest of us shared 90 percent. And that’s when things started to shift, relatively rapidly. In Reagan’s final year in office, the top 1 percent of American households grabbed 15.5 percent of the nation’s income.

By the time George W. Bush was elected, they were taking in 21.5 percent. And in 2007, the year before the crash, they were pulling in 23.5 percent of our pre-tax income, leaving the other 99 percent to share just 76.5 percent of the fruits of our output.

via If Top 1% Hadn’t Ripped Off Trillions, You’d Likely Be Making Thousands of Dollars More Right Now | | AlterNet.

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CEO of Walmart Makes in One Hour What the Average Employee Makes In a Year

Lots of good articles up at Alternet.com today and this is one of them…

This just isn’t right….

Another reason for me to keep up my 12+ year boycott of Wal-Mart….

The crowd in DC seems to have forgotten you can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy middle class.  Try as they might, the Rich just can’t buy everything…

S. Robson “Rob” Walton, Walmart chairman, has a net worth of about $19.7 billion. And he’s only number 9 on the list of 2010’s top 20 richest Americans.

Walmart workers, meanwhile, make around $8.75 an hour—about $18,000 a year. They’d have to work over a million years to approach what the chairman of Walmart Stores is sitting on. Alice and Jim Walton each have about $20 billion, and Christy Walton has $24 billion.

Last year Jonathan Turley noted that the CEO of Walmart, Michael Duke, makes his average employee’s yearly salary every hour.

A new report by the Washington Post on “Breakaway Wealth” contains new research by economists Jon Bakija, Adam Cole and Bradley T. Heim, who analyzed tax returns from the top 0.1 percent of earners in the U.S. That top percentile takes home more than 20 percent of the personal income in the country, and their average income is $5.4 million. The average income of the bottom 90 percent, according to the Post, is just $31,244.

via CEO of Walmart Makes in One Hour What the Average Employee Makes In a Year: How Skyrocketing Inequality Is Hurting America | | AlterNet.

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