“Booming” Economy Leaves Millions Behind: Part Two

Part one of this article appeared on April 10, 2022. ((Many other articles containing extensive facts and statistics on economic and social decline can be found by searching for “Shawgi Tell” at Dissident Voice.))

Below is additional data on the decline of the economy and the miserable conditions facing millions every day. The main focus is the U.S.

33% of Americans were denied credit in the past year.

81% of Americans think a recession will hit this year.

Inflation in the U.S. is more than three times higher than it was last year, straining Americans’ finances.

The extremely high cost of houses is leaving millions out of the home ownership market.

About 72% of those who bought homes within the past 2 years received help from family with their down payment.

Consumers are taking on more credit card debt, just as interest rates are expected to rise.

Bankruptcy filings are creeping back up in early 2022.

735 billionaires in the U.S. have seen their collective wealth soar by 62% over the past two years while worker earnings have grown just 10%, modest gains eaten away by the rising costs of food, housing, and other necessities.

Between 2009 and 2017 depression rates increased more than 60% among teens 14–17 years old. Other age cohorts also saw large increases during the same time period. It is reasonable to assume that even more people of all ages experienced depression and/or anxiety between 2017-2022. The “Covid Pandemic” has traumatized billions.

Across Los Angeles County, California last year (2021), the unsheltered died in record numbers, an average of five homeless deaths a day, most in plain view of the world around them.

San Francisco alone is home to 77 billionaires, but more than 34,000 people are homeless across the Bay Area and more than 800,000 live in poverty.

Security and dignity in retirement is also becoming a pipe dream for millions. Since 1974, more than 140,000 companies have ended their defined-benefit plans. More than a third of workers — more than 50 million people — don’t even have access to a 401(k) or other so-called defined-contribution plan. Of those who do, more than a quarter don’t participate.

Twenty five percent of college graduates over the age of 25 make less than $35,000 a year, with many close to the poverty level.

Globally, another quarter billion people will fall into poverty this year, Oxfam Says.

In addition, interest rates at home and abroad are expected to rise in the coming months, which means that the cost of borrowing money will increase, which means that more people will be paying even more for various forms of debt that they hold. This will reduce disposable income, which means that the standard of living and the velocity of money will further decrease as well.

There is no sign that economic turbulence, insecurity, and volatility will diminish in 2023 or 2024. We are in a deep all-sided economic crisis that is adversely affecting the social, cultural, and political spheres. The rate of profit continues to fall for owners of capital. Supply chain disruptions, production delays, delivery delays, and other economic problems continue at home and abroad as well. For example, parts for many vehicles being repaired at collision repair shops across the U.S. can take months to arrive, leaving customers and workers very frustrated.

Yet another “lost decade” is upon us. Consistent and sustained progress is elusive in an economy based on private ownership of the majority of the wealth produced by working people. Life is not going to improve when more of what workers produce is seized and controlled by even fewer people every year.

More economic updates are forthcoming. A comprehensive up-to-date picture of the economic and social carnage that is actually unfolding nationally and internationally is gradually emerging.

The necessity for change that favors the people is presenting itself very forcefully at this time. The crisis of the capitalist economic system has become unusually severe. There is a rapid breakdown at all levels, which is why life is becoming more chaotic, anarchic, violent, and untenable. The human personality is being violated severely. It is no surprise that mental and emotional illnesses have increased significantly in the recent period. Millions wake up every day asking themselves: “What shocking or horrible thing will happen today?” “What kind of bad economic news are we going to get this week?” “What new conflict, crisis, or war is upon us now?” There is no reprieve from the chaos, violence, and accelerating social and economic breakdown. Things feel like dystopian bedlam. Even worse, everyone is supposed to accept that there is no alternative to the unsustainable status quo.

But reality, life, and people have a way of being resilient and overcoming what seems like a never-ending nightmare. Nothing lasts forever, everything is transient. The thesis-antithesis-synthesis cycle has not disappeared under today’s unprecedented conditions. The dialectic lives even in these difficult times. It is up to working people and all enlightened forces to grasp this dialectic and use action with analysis to move humanity forward in a human-centered direction. It can be done and must be done.

Shawgi Tell is author of the book Charter School Report Card. He can be reached at stell5@naz.edu.. Read other articles by Shawgi.