Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Talk about privilege. Rich get to live longer. Poor & middle class don't.

"Poverty is a life-threatening issue for millions of people in this country, and this report confirms it."—Sen. Bernie Sanders
There are now around 100 million, or nearly a third of the U.S. population living in poverty or near poverty. This figure is missing from glowing news reports about the booming Trump economy. While there are millions of white people living in poverty, poverty rates among African-Americans, Latinx, and Native Americans run two to three times higher. 

newly released report from the U.S. General Accounting Office on Retirement Security, commissioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders reveals that the rich are living longer lives, while poor and middle-income Americans are dying at a comparatively earlier age. Talk about privilege!

This from the report:
GAO found that among Americans aged 51-61 in 1992, fewer than half of those in the poorest 20 percent of America’s wealth distribution had survived by 2014—48 percent. Among the richest 20 percent, 75.5 percent were still alive. The poorest 20 percent were twice as likely to die over the 22-year period than the wealthiest 20 percent.
 GAO similarly observed this massive disparity in life expectancy when examining income and education: only half of those without college degrees and in the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution survived to 2014. Among those with college degrees and in the top 20 percent, based on mid-career earnings, 80 percent were still alive.
There's some -- but not much -- mention of racial inequality in the report.
GAO also found that white households in the bottom two earnings groups had higher estimated median incomes, and white households in all earnings groups generally had greater estimated median wealth, than racial minority households in those earnings groups.
"We must put an end to the obscene income and wealth inequality in our country, and ensure living wages, quality healthcare, and retirement security for our seniors as human rights," said Sanders. "If we do not urgently act to solve the economic distress of millions of Americans, a whole generation will be condemned to an early death."

Bernie never mentions race in his introduction to the report. It seems to be his perennial blindspot. But he deserves credit for being the only candidate speaking out forcefully on income and wealth inequality.

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