By the numbers, Bernie Sanders is the ‘centrist’ candidate. The families all the way up to the very center of America have actually lost wealth since the recession. The families from the center to the 90th percentile have seen their share of national wealth drop dramatically. This 90% of America needs a President who will focus on a living wage and affordable health care and the reduction of inequality. That’s Bernie.
$40 TRILLION: Wealth Taken by the Richest 10% in Ten Years. The Poorest 50% Got NOTHING.
Since 2010 wealth has doubled for the richest 10% while dropping for the poorest 50%. Average net worth per adult has gone from $1.6 million to $3.2 million for the richest 10%. Average net worth for the poorest 50% has dropped from about $11,000 to about $10,000. The wealth data comes from the 2019 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook.
The true middle class (median to 90th percentile, according to Piketty, Saez, and Zucman) saw a sizable wealth increase, but their share of total wealth dropped by over 10 percent.
The money-minded media keeps talking about the surging economy. It’s only surging for already-rich Americans. Even with the recent downturn, the stock market has more than tripled in value since the recession. America’s richest 10% own 84 percent of the stocks.
ZERO: Wage Increase over 50 Years
Stagnant wages go back over 50 years, as documented by Piketty, Saez, and Zucman: “For working-age men, median pretax labor income…is the same in 2014 as in 1964, about $35,000.” Pew Research concurs: “what wage gains there have been have mostly flowed to the highest-paid tier of workers.” The trend continues. Real wages have decreased since just before the recession.
The media gushes over the low unemployment rate. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics bases the official unemployment rate on employees “who did any work for pay or profit” during the week being surveyed. That includes part-time workers who are employed for just ONE HOUR A WEEK.
$10,739: Health Care Costs per American per Year
Economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton provide a disturbing overview of the American health care system.
The U.S. has much higher per capita health care expenses than other wealthy countries — but a lower life expectancy. If U.S. health care as a share of GDP were the same as Switzerland’s, $8,300 could be returned to every American household.
Where does our health care money go? To “the owners and executives of pharmaceutical companies, to medical-device manufacturers, to insurers and to large, ever more monopolistic hospitals.” This all adds up to a huge administrative expense, which would be greatly diminished by a single-payer system.
Case and Deaton tell us: “Americans like to believe that their system is a free-market one, in spite of the fact that the government is paying half of the cost, is paying the prices demanded by pharmaceutical companies without negotiation, is permitting professional associations to restrict supply, and is subsidizing employer-provided health care through the tax system…the health care industry is protected in Washington by its lobbyists — five for every member of Congress.”
6,872: Civilians Killed by American Bombs in Yemen
That’s over two 9/11’s, caused in great part by our military policies. But most Americans know little about it.
Drone warfare is a very personal ongoing tragedy for helpless and vulnerable people. Near a village in Yemen a man named Rabee’a was examining well sites when jagged pieces of a bomb, flying thousands of miles per hour, blew off the top half of his face. Next to him, his cousin Al-Qadi was burning alive. Another man, Fahd, felt a piece of shrapnel tear through his back and exit through his chest…now he was killing himself with every breath.
So most Yemenis have stopped digging wells. It’s too dangerous. As result cholera has become an epidemic, with nearly one million suspected cases. According to the organization Save the Children, 85,000 Yemeni children under the age of 5 may have already died of starvation and disease. Nearly 7,000 civilians have been killed, the majority by Saudi Arabian airstrikes, with the great majority of bombs and drones coming from American weapons manufacturers. Airstrikes have hit homes, markets, hospitals, schools, mosques, weddings, and funerals.
For a conservative base in America that professes shock at abortion, hypocrisy abounds about the value of life in Yemen. Congress failed to override Trump’s veto of the attempt to end the killing of innocents by curtailing arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Trump even revoked an Obama-era requirement to report the number of drone deaths.
Perversely, part of the mission of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program is to “promote world peace.”
It will be extremely difficult to change a mindset that is driven by the media-controlling richest 10% of our country. One of their strategies is to use the word ‘social’ in a way that scares people. But Bernie’s fight is for social justice, and for social responsibility. The beaten-down center of America will take the first step in the battle against inequality if it listens to him.