Showing posts with label poverty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poverty. Show all posts

Monday, January 4, 2021

Amid Warnings of Surging Worldwide Poverty, Planet's 500 Richest People Added $1.8 Trillion to Combined Wealth in 2020

Tesla CEO Elon Musk saw the greatest increase in personal wealth in 2020—reported to be the fastest wealth creation in history, according to Bloomberg.(Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Bloomberg's year-end report on the wealth of the world's billionaires shows that the richest 500 people on the planet added $1.8 trillion to their combined wealth in 2020, accumulating a total net worth of $7.6 trillion. 

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index recorded its largest annual gain in the list's history last year, with a 31% increase in the wealth of the richest people.

The historic hoarding of wealth came as the world confronted the coronavirus pandemic and its corresponding economic crisis, which the United Nations last month warned is a "tipping point" set to send more than 207 million additional people into extreme poverty in the next decade—bringing the number of people living in extreme poverty to one billion by 2030. 

Even in the richest country in the world, the United States, the rapidly widening gap between the richest and poorest people grew especially stark in 2020.

As Dan Price, an entrepreneur and advocate for fair wages, tweeted, the 500 richest people in the world amassed as much wealth in 2020 as "the poorest 165 million Americans have earned in their entire lives."

Nine of the top 10 richest people in the world live in the United States and own more than $1.5 trillion. Meanwhile, with more than half of U.S. adults living in households that lost income due to the pandemic, nearly 26 million Americans reported having insufficient food and other groceries in November—contributing to a rise in shop-lifting of essential goods including diapers and baby formula. About 12 million renters were expected to owe nearly $6,000 in back rent after the new year. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk enjoyed an historic growth in wealth last year, becoming the second richest person in the world and knocking Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates down to third place. Musk's total net worth grew by $142 billion in 2020, to $170 billion—the fastest creation of personal wealth in history, according to Bloomberg. 

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is at the top of the list, with a net worth of $190 billion. Bezos added more than $75 billion to his wealth in 2020, as the public grew dependent on online shopping due to Covid-19 restrictions and concern for public health. 

While Bezos and a select few others in the U.S. have amassed historic gains in personal wealth in the last year, the federal government has yet to extend much in the way of meaningful assistance to struggling Americans. The Republican-led Senate on Friday continued to stonewall a vote on legislation that would send $2,000 checks to many American households.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) denounced the proposal as "socialism for rich people" even though the plan includes a phaseout structure and individuals making only up to $115,000 per year—not those in the highest tax brackets—would receive checks. 

"Surging billionaire wealth hits a painful nerve for the millions of people who have lost loved ones and experienced declines in their health, wealth, and livelihoods," Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, told Bloomberg this week. "Worse, it undermines any sense that we are 'in this together'—the solidarity required to weather the difficult months ahead." 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Big Business of Poverty pimps the poor


Two years ago, during the aftermath of police violence and protest demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, the nation witnessed a militarized police force, and learned of dismal police-community relations, as well as a scheme resembling debtor prisons.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated and issued their report, "Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department". 

They found practices that were unlawful, deeply-entrenched and unconstitutional: “Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs. This emphasis on revenue has compromised the institutional character of Ferguson’s police department, contributing to a pattern of unconstitutional policing, and has also shaped its municipal court, leading to procedures that raise due process concerns and inflict unnecessary harm on members of the Ferguson community.” While the report shows a link between debtor prisons and the prison industrial complex – there’s also strong link to the growing poverty industry as well too.
  
Daniel L. Hatcher has written a new book on this topic called, The Poverty Industry: The exploitation of America’s most vulnerable citizens.  Mr. Hatcher recently visited the Busboys and Poets Bookstore and CafĂ© in Washington D. C., on June 29th, to talk about his new book.  For roughly thirty minutes before a question/answer session, Mr. Hatcher provided a glimpse into the poverty industrial complex and how this massive network manages to divert funds from, who Mr. Hatcher appropriately characterizes as America’s most vulnerable citizens – impoverished families, abused and neglected children, and the disabled and elderly poor. “My hope to getting this book out is to provide awareness because with awareness you have the potential for change.  So in the poverty industry, I’m hoping to expose and explain several of these revenue maximizing practices that states and state agencies to use on the most vulnerable populations,” explains Mr. Hatcher.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Poverty in America: who is really deserving of help?

By Charles Brooks

The Economic Policy Institute recently reported that in the roughly three decades leading up to the most recent recession, looking at the officially measured poverty rate, educational upgrading and overall income growth were the two biggest poverty-reducing factors, while income inequality was the largest poverty-increasing factor. The federal government set the poverty line at $23,550 for a family of four in 2013, $11,490 for a single individual, and $4,020 for each individual person. The Blackboard spoke with Dr. Wilhelmina A. Leigh, who serves as a Senior Research Associate with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, about poverty in America: “People have to be aware of (poverty), care about it and understand that having the kind of inequality we have in this country is not good for any of us. People have to be made aware, somehow, that inequality and high levels of poverty impairs all of our lives and limits the growth of our economy.”

The poor suffers again...billion$ in cut$ to food stamp$

By Charles Brooks

                         Photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

Just ten days after delivering his most recent State of the Union address, where he described 2014 as the “year of action” – President Barack Obama kicked off the year by signing into law a $987 billion Farm Bill. In doing so, the president signed away $80 billion, over a ten-year period, in cuts to food stamp benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cuts will affect approximately 850,000 people, who will see their monthly benefits reduced by $90. But just a few days ago, President Obama stood before the nation and outlined his proposals designed to tackle poverty, income inequality and economic mobility. These proposals focused on job creation, immigration reform, tax policy reform, job training, and unemployment insurance reform. Yet days later, President Obama talks about the reforms and the billions of dollars the new law will save. The $987 billion Farm Bill appears to be another example of how public policy can exacerbate poverty while simultaneously advancing income inequality. Consider for a moment that while billions of dollars are cut from food stamps – the agribusiness interests will reap the benefit$.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

President Obama's State of the Union address - "At least they're thinking about it..."

By Charles Brooks
(Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
In the days leading up to President Barack Obama’s fifth State of the Union (SOTU) address, income inequality emerged as a highly anticipated topic to be discussed. This was quite understandable and actually made sense considering the recent events - the president’s speech on income inequality (though billed as a speech on economic mobility), his announcement of the Promise Zones as part of his administration’s anti-poverty strategy, and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. As the president delivered his address and spoke about working hard and getting ahead in America, he said, “Now, let's face it: That belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.” The President continues, “Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by; let alone to get ahead. And too many still aren't working at all. So our job is to reverse these trends.”