This is a peek into my next book, Rhetoric to Results, How the States are Getting Down to Business and Rediscovering the Promise of America. Next week’s peek: China, No Longer the Sleeping Giant.
While ingenuity still thrives in pockets of this great nation, the facts about our decline prove one undeniable truth: it’s real.
More People are Poor
- The number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
- For the first time ever, more than one million public school students in the United States are homeless. That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.
- Approximately 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.
- An estimated 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
- One out of every four American workers makes $10 an hour or less.
- One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.
The Middle Class is Losing Ground
- Median household income in the U.S. has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by over $4,000 during that time span.
- According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971. Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are.
Good Jobs are Disappearing
- In September 2009, during the depths of the last economic crisis, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed. In November 2012, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed. So more than 3 years later we are in the exact same place.
- In 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing, but now there are less than 12 million.
- The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
- 53 percent of all Americans with a Bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or under-employed last year.
We are Less and Less Competitive
- The U.S. share of global GDP has fallen from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011.
- The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
- Our trade deficit with China in 2011 was $295.5 billion. That was the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the planet.
Our Debt Climbs
- Amazingly, the U.S. national debt is now up to $16.3 trillion. When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was $10.6 trillion.
- During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government accumulated about as much debt as it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.
The Wealthy are Getting More Wealthy
- Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high. Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP are near an all-time low.
- Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans own more wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.
- The wealthiest 400 families in the United States have about as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of all Americans combined.
The facts make it clear, we can no longer afford to talk about the problems, we have to start solving them.