Friday, March 19, 2004

The effect of the concentration of wealth on families

Title: Why Women have to Work
Source: Time
Date: March 22, 2004

From the article:
    Since the mid-'70s, the amount of the average family budget earmarked for the mortgage has increased a whopping 69% (adjusted for inflation). At the same time, the average father's income increased less than 1%. How to make up the difference? Mom's paycheck of course.
As pointed out here, "The average chief executive of a major corporation now gets $10.8 million a year, almost 20 times as much as in 1981, as the result of a classic market failure." Why has CEO pay skyrocketed while pay for average Americans stagnated like this? It is because the wealth of this nation is rapidly concentrating. Most of it is going to America's wealthiest citizens instead of spreading out to benefit everyone.

As shown above, the concentration of wealth is having a significant impact on working American families.

The article continues:
    These moms aren't marching to the office so they can get into brand-new McMansions. In fact, the average family today lives in a house that is older than the one Mom and Dad grew up in, and scarcely half a room bigger. The average couple with young children now shells out more than $127,000 for a home, up from $72,000 (adjusted for inflation) less than 20 years ago.

    Then there is preschool. No longer an optional "Mother's Day Out" enterprise, preschool is widely viewed as a prerequisite for elementary school. But that prerequisite isn't offered at most public schools, which means that any mother who wants her kids to have access to this "essential start to early education," as the experts call it, has to come up with cold, hard cash. A full-time preschool program can cost over $5,000 a year—more than a year's tuition at most state universities! Add the cost of health insurance (for those lucky enough to have it) and the eventual price of sending a kid to college (double—when adjusted for inflation—what it was a generation ago), and most middle-class moms find they have no choice but to get a job if they want to make ends meet.
Only when we realize what is happening and actively work to halt the concentration of wealth will things change.


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