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27 Oct, 2009 06:13

Gap between rich and poor widens in US

Barack Obama has called on US banks to return a favor to Americans. He wants more lending to small businesses as a “thank you” for being bailed out. But average Americans are seeing just seeing the rich getting richer.

Wall Street is rising from the ashes and consumption of luxury items is resuming.

Real estate agent Alon Chabad is selling Manhattan’s second most-expensive apartment. The two-floor, nine-bedroom apartment is on the market for $13.5 million.

High-end real estate sales in the Big Apple went rotten at the start of the recession. But with a bailout here, and some government assistance there, tables have turned.

“I see much more serious people coming into the table if it’s for a $2 million apartment or a $5 million apartment, or even a $13 million apartment,” Chabad said.

“It’s because things are looking better. We see a lot more confidence. It’s also because a lot of companies made a lot of money during this recession,” he added.

Wall Street banks bailed out by US taxpayers are profiting. Employees reaping rewards through financial bonuses are reigniting the sales of yesteryear.

The rich are once again are spreading their fortunes. However, cash is not necessarily trickling down to the bottom. 29 million Americans are searching for full-time work, while foreclosure activity throughout the country has hit a record high.

Queen’s is New York City’s foreclosure capital. Walking through the borough, the depth of devastation is visible on nearly every block.

Helen Maxwell is one of many foreclosure prevention counselors providing free assistance to an endless list of New Yorkers who are afraid of going homeless.

“We’re in the eye of the storm when it comes to foreclosures,” Helen explained.

“People constantly are knocking our doors and the phone never stops ringing. So it’s been pretty devastating,” she added.

While Goldman Sachs reports historic profits, more than 930,000 foreclosure applications have been processed in the past three months. So struggles facing common folks are far from over:

“My biggest concern right now is that I want to find a way out to pay off this mortgage,” one local resident told RT.

The gap between rich and poor is visibly growing much wider.

Author Les Leopold says financiers began looting the country in the 70’s, as productivity rose, and salaries didn’t.

“In 2007, those people who reported incomes of ten million dollars and over (there are 18,000 such people), they had as much income as the bottom 35 million people,” Leopold explained.

“And those reporting a million or more in income had as much income as half the population,” he added.

“It’s getting worse now because the 29 million unemployed and underemployed are their using up their resources and the prospects of finding jobs now is very difficult,” he concluded.

Leopold says America has turned into a billionaire bailout nation, as the poorest sink deeper into debt. So, when Wall Street delivers a good forecast, the sunshine may all depend on where you stand.

And trend forecaster Gerald Celente says that record profits for US corporations come at a great cost for the country in general.