Income inequality surpasses historic high

Cutting Red Tape

Lobbyists symbolically “cut red tape” freeing up banking sector from evil government regulation in 2003

Well, we finally did it. What’s sobering is it only took a few hundred million dollars of PR investment, mostly funded by a handful of wealthy right-wing zillionaires, to unravel decades of progress and set us back almost 100 years:

Al-jazeera — U.S. income inequality has been growing for almost three decades. But until last year, the top 1 percent’s share of pre-tax income had not yet surpassed the 18.7 percent it reached in 1927, according to an analysis of IRS figures dating to 1913 by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics and Oxford University.

One of them, Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, said the incomes of the richest Americans might have surged last year in part because they cashed in stock holdings to avoid higher capital gains taxes that took effect in January. Last year, the incomes of the top 1 percent rose 19.6 percent compared with a 1 percent increase for the remaining 99 percent.

A massive federal intervention using borrowed money beginning with the bailout in 2008 staved off the collapse of the wealthiest people’s holdings in the US. Which somehow means they get to scold the rest of us about taking on debt and the evils of the federal government. You can’t make this shit up. Millions tumbled out of the middle-class into poverty, some losing everything they had, many facing homelessness, but meanwhile, the top 0.1% have done just greeeeat!

But since the recession officially ended in June 2009, the top 1 percent have enjoyed the benefits of rising corporate profits and stock prices: 95 percent of the income gains reported since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent.

That compares with a 45 percent share for the top 1 percent in the economic expansion of the 1990s and a 65 percent share from the expansion that followed the 2001 recession.The top 10 percent haven’t done badly, either. Last year, they captured 48.2 percent of income, another record. Their biggest previous take was 46.3 percent in 1932.

Clearly we need more tax cuts for the rich and less red-tape regulation for Wall Street and big bizness …


  1. johnb says

    What we really need is a societal commitment to full employment. This would mean putting about 10 million people back to work. Then all workers would have greater bargaining power and wages would go up, while corporate profits fell. Of course, at that point the Federal Reserve would engineer another recession because of “inflation.”

  2. unbound says

    But, but…we still aren’t #1 for income inequality. We just caught up to Mexico, but we still have a ways to go to catch up to South Africa….

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