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Rich and poor divide expands in America

Published time: October 01, 2010 19:20
Edited time: October 01, 2010 19:20

New US Census Bureau numbers released show the problem of the gap between the rich and the poor isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, the problem is only getting worse.

Author, journalist, and senior fellow at Demos Nomi Prins said things in the US have gotten worse this year, even more so than in 2009.

She explained that the number of people below the poverty line make up 3.4 percent of all income generated in US in 2009, whereas the top 20 percent made up over 50 percent of the income.

What that means is, that if you have a pie, every poor person that get’s one slice of that pie stands next to a person who got fourteen and a half slides of that pie,” said Prins.

Prins said the gap has continued to grow over the last several decades, accelerating in the last decade and specifically in recent years. The US has the biggest gap between rich and poor persons of any developed country. Currently, one in seven Americans lives below the poverty line.

What has happened is the wealthy have continued to accumulate more wealth relative to the rest of the country, have been able to manipulate the laws, legislation, the politicians that create the system that enables this top continue,” said Prins.

Something must change to prevent the continuance of the system, she said, arguing that the trend will continue if something does not change to stop it.

According to economist Max Fraad Wolff, with the present economic realities the American dream is inevitably turning into a fable.

“The social glue of historic American life, the social mobility and the ability to get ahead on work, is turning into an increasingly historically viable and presently incorrect fable of understanding which has little or no bearing on the lives of people in the country, particularly younger people,” he said. “We have made a tax policy that has more or less intentionally made the society less equal for 20 years and is now getting more unequal by the day.”

Watch the full interview with Max Fraad Wolff

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