Home | About | Donate

The Rich get Richer, and Richer Still: Soaring Inequality in the US and Why it Matters

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/04/rich-get-richer-and-richer-still-soaring-inequality-us-and-why-it-matters

Us Bottom 99% must demand reparations for the suffering we experience from runaway Income Inequality.


Talk about losing chains, please watch Ta-Nehisi Coates on how the rich got richer on the back of slaves. Very powerful.


“But isn’t rising inequality inevitable in a capitalist economy? No!”
Have to disagree with you on that one Tim, strict regulation during the time period you reference, is the only reason the economy worked for the 99%. Without those regulations, capitalism only works for the 1%, and that is it’s function, since it’s inception.

1 Like

Nice, and yes everyone needs to watch it, and ponder it’s repercussions.

A century ago SCOTUS Justice Louis Brandeis noted that “you can have democracy or you can have concentrated wealth, but you can’t have both”.

Then in 2004 the third wealthiest Murkin Warren Buffett telling us “there is a class war and my class is winning”…and they continue to win while the 99% continues to lose. Too bad so many of the 99% ignore or discredit such admonitions. Of course if all they watch is FOX news (faux noise) they never get such information to begin with.

Also in 2004 Illinois Senator Durbin in referring to Wall Street reminded us that “they own the place” (the US Capitol).

As long as so many voters remain asleep at the wheel the downward spiral to neofeudalism will continue to accelerate.


$57,000 a year, not $35,000 – main idea. If we had the same income distribution as in 1960, then all of the lower-earning 60% of U.S. households (all 76 million households or 190 million citizens) would live with incomes about $22,000 higher than today. Today the average for the lower 60% is about $35,000, so add $22,000 and the average for the lower 60% becomes $57,000. My reference is Edward Wolff’s report “Have Middle Income Families Recovered Their Wealth?” dated January 2018. Wolff is a long-time scholar of wealth inequality. See Table 2, it shows that 30.0% of income went to the lower 60%, and in 2016 it shrunk to 19.8%. Going from 30.0% to 19.2% is a drop of 10.8%. And that comes to about $1.7 trillion that once went to the lower 60%. The upper 5% increased its share, same period, by 20.1%, from 19.8% to 39.7%. There’s a shadow’s distance between 19.8 and 20.1. Most of the gains went to the top 1%. So the income transfer to the one percent is over $1 trillion. And year after year they get $1 trillion that they did not earn.

Another way to show it is to look at BEA.gov, Table 2.1, the growth of after-tax income per capita, in inflation adjusted dollars. In 1960 the “disposable income per capita” was $12,629, and in 2019 it is $43,799, increasing by a factor of 3.5 times. This is going to hurt. Go the the St. Louis Fed, look for “average weekly earnings production and nonsupervisory workers” – https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CES0500000030 – and you’ll see in 1965, the earliest year, $96.25 was the weekly average for 80% of the workforce, and that adjusts to 2019 dollars as $776.25 per week (or $40,365 per year). And the actual income per week in 2019 is $787.25 (or $40,937 per year), a gain of $11.00 a week over a 54 year period! That’s a yearly gain of $572 in 54 years. And if the gain had been the same as the per capita gain, 3.5 times, ??? – well $776 times 3.5 is $2,716 a week, or $141,232 per year – the average income for all 80% of “employees” ??? I know that is out of the box. But look, the average per citizen income, “per capita disposable income” today is $43,799 in chained 2012 dollars, and in not-chained dollars it is $48,293 per person. So the average income for a 3 person family is $144,879, and that is after tax income. Before federal taxes it would be $166,000 for a family of three, today, about. $55,333 for a family of one, $110,666 for a family of two. We are brain-washed into thinking that $61,000 is a normal typical income when the average – mean average – is about $122,000. Divide $15.5 trillion by 127 million. Or divide $17.975 trillion, the BEA figure, by 127 million households, to get the average: $141,535, the actual average, not $61,387 the median. Our average is about double the median or middle household income. — The main idea, at the top, "$57,000 a year, not $35,000 – main idea. If we had the same income distribution as in 1960, then the lower-earning 60% of U.S. households (76 million households or 190 million citizens) would live with incomes about $22,000 higher than today for all the lower 60%, or all 76 million lower-income families.” That would easily wipe out poverty. Incomes for the normal family would be a hell-of-a-lot higher, up by maybe 2/3rds for most, doubling for a good many. My blog is called Economics Without Greed, http://benL88.blogspot.com, and I’m glad Mr. Koehler is writing and publishing.

“About 70 per cent of the population of the US is not even represented in congress, meaning that their own representatives pay no attention to their views, and follow the views of the major funders. This is manipulation on an enormous level.”

The Presidential debates would make a great Saturday Night Live farce in showing that all the questioning and posturing and what the majority finally determines that it wants, will not be making any difference to what it will ultimately be getting.

1 Like

That’s the key right there…$1,000,000,000,000 THEY DID NOT EARN!!! That correctly implies that the money was stolen which it was with the direct help of the very people we elected to represent us. Just wave a little money under the noses of these morally bankrupt losers and you get to write your own tax laws, business regulations, and just about anything else you need to ensure the money moves right out of the hands of those who create it with their blood and sweat and into the offshore accounts of the 1%. I have a question. Why exactly do we of the 99% tolerate lobbying aka legal bribery? It seems to me this should be a hanging offense not business as usual.