Americans shoplift $1.8 billion of stuff in four weeks

Americans have shoplifted an outrageous USD 1.8 billion worth of goods during the four weeks leading up to Christmas, a 6 percent increase from 2010.

This comes despite the fact that this year stores are offering big reductions because American people aren't spending as much as they used to.

Though some Americans might suffer from kleptomania, the dismal economy is the reason behind this, driving Americans to buy less and steal more or at least giving them an excuse for doing so.

A US report published earlier this month indicated that nearly 1 in 2 Americans have now fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

Based on the report by the US Census Bureau 49.1 million Americans live below the poverty line, meaning 146.4 million Americans, or 48 percent are considered low-income or poor.

The US recession began in 2007. More than a year after the recession officially ended in 2009, the US unemployment rate remains above 9 percent, and the poverty rate rose to 15.3 percent in 2010 from 14.3 percent in 2009.

The “incredibly unequal top-down distribution of wealth” in the US has formed an elite group who controls most aspects of the country's affluence, according to analysts.

This has led to the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement which emerged on September 17 in the financial district of New York City to protest at a number of issues including the wars in the Middle East, US financial crisis, rising poverty, soaring unemployment, and high bonuses for Wall Street executives.