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How not created equally we are

By Dian Vujovich

The one thing about equally that many folks forget is while we might be created equally, no two of us are the same. And when it comes to money, salaries or career options, no two of us have the same talents, earning capacity, income, savings or luck. Live a few decades and recognizing all of that becomes clear as a bell.

Here’s more about the vast income and salary gaps that exist:

•Congress folk do pretty well. Average folk, not so hot. The annual salary for those in Congress is $174,00 plus perks. Plus plus, they can vote themselves a pay raise each year. Very nice perk, wouldn’t you say? Ordinary citizens can’t do that. The median household income dropped 3 percent to $50,221 between 2008 and 2009.

•Research from Thomas Piketty using IRS data showed that the top 1 percent of households took home 23.5 percent of income in 2007 (using the most recent data available). Although that was the largest share since 1928, it fell to 20.9 percent in 2008.

•Emmanuel Saez’s research, an economist at U. of California t Berkeley, found the last period of economic expansion, 2002 to 2007, showed the top 1 percent saw their annual income grow by over 10 percent: The other 99 percent had an annual income growth rate of 1.3 percent. In other words, the top 1 percent received 65 cents of every dollar in income growth.

• In 2005, Ajay Kapur, of DeutscheBank, told clients that the U.S. and a few other economies around the world were turning into “plutonomies”. That happens when the wealthy few power everything while everyone else gets crumbs.

Kapur says that plutonomies happen only once or twice a century. The last time it happened in America was during the “Roaring 1920s”.

• The number of states whose pension plans were fully funded in 2000 totaled 26. This year it’s 3.

•The average salary for CEOs of companies in the S&P 500 in 2009: $8.5 million.

•The average income for people 45-54, since the recession began in 2007, has fallen by over 5 percent.

•Yesterday, Nov.18, 2010, Senate Republicans blocked a measure designed to reduce the wage disparities between men and women in the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Bottom line: With respect to money and our incomes, we are not all created equally. Nor have we ever been or ever will be.

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