The Other America
New Internationalist magazine,
* Divisions of wealth and power have reached
unprecedented levels in America. While wages and welfare have
stagnated or declined, the superrich have got immeasurably richer.
The 'gini co-efficient' contrasts the
income of the richest 10% of the population with the poorest 10%.
Zero represents perfect equality and 100 perfect inequality. In
the late 1990s the US was the 71st most unequal out of 112 countries
- the same as Turkmenistan.
* More than 31 million Americans live
in poverty. The number fell sharply from 1959 to the early 1 970s,
then rose again until the early 1 990s. The rate then fell gradually
until 2000 when it began to rise again - it rises rapidly during
economic recession, which has prevailed in the US since 2000.
Very little progress has been made on tackling poverty since the
* Second Harvest, the largest network
of Food Banks in the US, fed nearly 10% of the population in 1998
- and still had to turn away several million people.
* In California, only 56% of tenants can
afford the official Fair Market Rent.
* Real wages in the US are now 12% less
than they were in 1973.
* Half the working population has no pension
* In 1998, combined public and private
expenditure on health in the US was $4,180 per person. That was
$1,441 more than its nearest rival, Switzerland, and by far the
highest in the world. Despite this:
* 38.7 million people- including 8.5 million
children - were without health insurance in the year 2000
* When unemployment rose from 6 million
in March to 7.7 million in October 2001, 725,000 workers lost
their health insurance,
* In March 2002,1.36 million healthcare
workers (including some doctors) had no health insurance: an increase
of 98% since 1 998
* What's good for the dollar and the US
economy is good for the world. That is the principle on which
the global economic system is based. So Americans must keep on
consuming come what may - including escalating public and personal
* Consumer debt (mostly credit cards)
in the US more than doubled between June 1992 and June 2002, when
it reached $1,71 3 billion ($1.7 trillion). This represents roughly
5B,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. It is increasing
at a rate of $90 billion a month.
* On 1 3 August 2002, the US national
debt stood at $6,161 billion ($6.1 trillion). This makes the US
the world's largest debtor by a very long way - more than $20,000
per head of the US population. It increases by about $1 billion
* The annual trade deficit (the amount
by which imports exceed exports) grew from $29.5 billion in 1991
to $450 billion in 2000 - the largest in US history.
* By way of contrast, in 1 999 the US
devoted just 0.1 % of its Gross National Product to overseas aid:
by far the smallest of any of the 28 members of the rich-country
club, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD); the US owes the UN $1 billion.
* The US and the Russian Federation incarcerate
more people than anywhere else in the world - by a huge margin.
* In February 2000, the US prison population
reached 2 million. This represents 25% of the entire prison population
of the world - from just 5% of the world's population.
* More than 500,000 people are employed
by the prison system - running close to the two largest private
employers, WalMart and General Motors.
The US spends more on its armed forces
than the rest of the world put together.
* The military accounts for $343 billion
of the total Federal budget of $1,900 billion in 2002.
* Since 11 September 2001 the military
budget has jumped by $46 billion.
* In 2000 the number of active military
personnel was 1.4 million, down from a 'peacetime' peak of 2.2
million in 1987 - but still making the military the largest single
employer in the US.
* Between 1 995 and 1 999 the US accounted
for 48% of all conventional arms exports - compared with its nearest
rivals Russia (13%), France (11 %) and Britain (7%).
World in United States
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