Monday, February 10, 2014

Workers Pay for the Civilization Only the Parasitic Rich Get to Enjoy

Oliver Wendell Holmes said "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."

He neglected to add that the more money you have, the more civilization you need and the more civilization you use.

And thanks to 30 years of repug lies, the less you pay for it.

If you're working class, you get no benefit from the air-traffic control system - run by the government and paid for by your taxes - because you can't afford to fly. But if you're rich, you fly everywhere and you get benefits far exceeding your tax contribution to the service.

Ditto interstate highways that are useless to the urban poor (no, the gas tax does not come close to paying for all that asphalt.)

If you're working class, you see a lot of cops, but mostly as antagonists. Law enforcement helps the rich, but is paid for by the poor.

The tens of billions of workers' tax dollars that go to big corporations as subsidies manifest as increases in stock prices - a benefit that goes only to the filthy rich who own 95 percent of stocks in this country.

And on and on.  Most of our taxes go to pay for services and benefits used mostly if not solely by the rich.

And by the rich, I mean people earning more than $100,000 per year. Think 100 grand is not much money? Fuck you.

Lawyers Guns and Money:

Anyway, the government just published figures on wages in America in 2012. Some highlights:

153.6 million Americans earned wages last year. This means that just under 40% of all Americans 16 years or older earned no wages in 2012 (there were approximately 252 million such people in the country last year). Breaking down these figures into income categories:

Median wage of all Americans 16 and older in 2012 (working and non-working): $6,250
Median wage of Americans in 2012 who worked for income: $27,519
15.8% of adult Americans earned $50,000 or more in 2012.
26% of Americans who worked for income earned $50,000 or more in 2012.
18.9% of adult Americans of working age (ages 16-64) earned $50,000 or more in 2012.
95.5% of adult Americans earned less than $100,000 in 2012.
58.8% of adult Americans either didn’t earn income or earned less than $10,000 in 2012.
24.2% of Americans who worked for income earned less than $10,000 in 2012.
39.6% of Americans who worked for income earned less than $20,000 in 2012.
63.5% of adult Americans either didn’t earn income or earned less than $20,000 in 2012.

The last three statistics drive home a point that remains largely invisible among the privileged classes (defined here as social contexts in which people have arguments about how difficult it is or isn’t to support a family on a low-six figure salary). We read that the unemployment rate is down to 7.0% and think that doesn’t sound too bad — after all 93 is a lot larger than seven. Except:

40% of people with jobs are working for poverty-level wages.

Nearly three out of five adult Americans made basically no money at all last year (No money at all being defined as less than $10,000. BTW less than 13% of the population is 65 or over, and 65 is increasingly becoming a constructive rather than an actual retirement age).

If a “good job” is defined as one that generates wages of $50,000 (a figure that needless to say would make many of the people in the Prawfs thread shriek in agony at the mere thought of trying to survive on a third world income), then fewer than one in six adult Americans currently has a good job.

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