Northwest Oregon Labor Council

Statement by President Trumka On New Census Bureau Poverty, Income Statistics

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
On New Census Bureau Poverty, Income Statistics
September 13, 2011

Washington, DC—Today’s release of yet more chilling economic data from the Census Bureau is further evidence that a generation-long experiment with right-wing economic theories has failed America.

The poverty rate jumped to 15.1 percent in 2010, meaning that nearly one in six Americans is in poverty, the highest level in a generation. Meanwhile, more than one in five American children are now living in poverty -- an extraordinary failure for a wealthy country. Real median household income was lower in 2010 than in 1997, meaning that the typical American family has experienced no real improvement in income in the last 14 years, a nearly unprecedented stagnation, during a period of productivity growth, technological innovation and rapid global economic integration.

For a generation, Americans were told that if we lowered taxes on the rich and dismantled rules and regulations, we would have more and better jobs for everyone. We were told that trade deals like NAFTA would create jobs and increase wealth for workers.

As America reaches record levels of economic inequality and corporate CEO pay continues to skyrocket -- median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 –working Americans are being left behind.

We need to end this economic experiment gone wrong before the American dream is left behind for good.

And yet last night’s Republican presidential debate brought only more of the same: even more tax cuts for the rich, even fewer rules to constrain corporate America, and more flawed trade deals.

America needs to return to the principles that led to increased economic security for all and a growing middle class. We need family-sustaining jobs, more investments in our future, and fair taxation. President Obama is calling for the kinds of policies that will move us toward returning people to the work they need and to begin to heal our fractured economy.

Most dramatically, we need an end to the failed experiment that has led to a boom and bust, increasingly unequal economy that works only for the very richest Americans.

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