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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 13, 2010

INCOME INEQUALITY SOARED OVER PAST 30 YEARS

Richard Wolf - The gap between what the top 10 per cent of Americans earns per year and what the rest of us gets has been widening sharply for the last 30 years. The nation's economic development has thus been increasingly divisive. The work of Professor Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley, a leading expert, shows the facts all too clearly. . .

By Saez's measurements, income inequality in the US is now greater than it has ever been over the last century. It is much, much greater than it was in the thirty years after World War 2 ended. From 1980 to 2007, the US became a far more unequal society.

Income inequality - and especially rapidly rising income inequality - provokes envy, resentment, and tension in a society. They lie behind the more visible signs of bitter hostilities on talk radio, in harshly fought legislative struggles between liberals and conservatives, in nasty outbursts at tea parties and by politicians unaware the microphones are still on, and in election outcomes that break with past patterns.

There is no mystery about why income inequality got so much worse. The real wages of average workers stopped rising during the 1970s (after having risen for a century or more). Meanwhile those workers' productivity rose. They produced ever more goods and services for their employers to sell, but their employers no longer had to raise their wages to get that work from them. Employers and those they support (shareholders, top managers, professionals, etc.) thus "earned" ever more as workers' incomes stagnated. That top 10 percent got an ever bigger share of the total national income, while the other 90 per cent of us were left with an ever smaller share.


3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the republicans looking out for the little guy. They're so in touch with the average person.

February 13, 2010 5:04 PM  
Anonymous wellbasically said...

Who cares.

February 13, 2010 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Employers and those they support (shareholders, top managers, professionals, etc.) thus "earned" ever more as workers' incomes stagnated."

Earned? try stolen!

February 14, 2010 10:53 AM  

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