WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, released the following statement today after a government report showed the gap between the richest and poorest American has grown larger than ever before:
“Today’s release of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey is another painful reminder that too many Americans are suffering while the economy remains sluggish.
“According to the report, the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans received 49.4 percent of all income, compared to 3.4 percent combined for all Americans living in poverty, marking the greatest level of disparity since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking household income in 1967.
“These figures underscore the argument that members of the Congressional Black Caucus have made for more than two years, that the economic downturn has hit some communities much harder than others.
“The sluggish pace of the recovery has left too many Americans behind. It is disheartening to see that while the incomes of those making more than $180,000 annually actually rose during the recession, working families earning near the median income of $50,000, watched their incomes slide.
“Prosperity and opportunity are hallmarks of the American Dream, which unfortunately are fast becoming the exclusive province of those with wealth and means. There are some in Congress who are more concerned with giving tax cuts to the wealthy and protecting tax loopholes for corporations and oil companies as they continue to ignore the pressing needs of unemployed and underemployed Americans at the margins of our economy.
“Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are committed to ensuring that all Americans take part in our nation's recovery as we pursue policies that create jobs, stimulate the economy and close the gap between rich and poor.”