Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bread And Circuses

Slate's Timothy Noah begins a detailed analysis of what he calls "The Great Divergence", the fact that the richest 1% of Americans control 24% of the nation's total wealth.  Things are bad in America right now:

Why don't Americans pay more attention to growing income disparity? One reason may be our enduring belief in social mobility. Economic inequality is less troubling if you live in a country where any child, no matter how humble his or her origins, can grow up to be president. In a survey of 27 nations conducted from 1998 to 2001, the country where the highest proportion agreed with the statement "people are rewarded for intelligence and skill" was, of course, the United States. (69 percent). But when it comes to real as opposed to imagined social mobility, surveys find less in the United States than in much of (what we consider) the class-bound Old World. France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Spain—not to mention some newer nations like Canada and Australia—are all places where your chances of rising from the bottom are better than they are in the land of Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick.

And the best part is the inequality data goes back to 2007 or 2008.  Over the last 2 years, that divergence has absolutely gotten worse.  The richest 10% of Americans control 46% of income.  That number will only get worse as this depression drags on.

And when did this start?  With the election of one Ronald Reagan.  Explains the GOP over the last 30 years, huh?

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