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Table showing the share of net worth held by percentile of wealth owners, 1989-2010. Top 10 percent, especially top 1 percent, has increasing share of wealth, bottom 50 percent has only 1.1 percent of total wealth.
Between 1989 and 2010, the top 1 percent of the population went from holding 30.1 percent of the wealth to 34.5 percent, while the bottom 50 percent went from having 3 percent of the wealth to having just 1.1 percent. That's right: In 2010, 50 percent of Americans had 1.1 percent of the total net worth (PDF), according to the Congressional Research Service. The share of wealth held by the next 40 percent of people, up to the 90th percentile, had also dropped, from 29.9 percent to 24.3 percent. Put another way (and it's stunning however you look at it), 10 percent of people have 74.5 percent of the wealth.
Table showing the median and mean household net worth for selected years 1989-2010. Ratio of mean to median shows increasing inequality.
The median and mean household net worth dropped considerably between 2007 and 2010, but even as both dropped, inequality increased, with the median—the amount of wealth that half of people have more than and half of people have less than—dropping by 38.8 percent, while the mean—the amount you get when you add up all the wealth and divide it by the number of people—lost just 14.4 percent. That means that the amount everyone would have if wealth were distributed equally went from being 4.6 times the amount the person actually in the middle has to being 6.5 times that number.

So: Prior to the financial crisis and the recession, there was massive inequality in America. Following the financial crisis and the recession, there is a Grand Canyon of inequality in America. For good reason, we talk a lot about how much of the wealth the top 1 percent have. We talk less about how little the bottom 50 percent have, but think about what it means that 50 percent of people have just over 1 percent of the money. Forget all the definitions you've heard of who is in the underclass. We're on track to have "underclass" and "majority" be synonyms. And the Republicans have got a guy running for president who wants to speed the process.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 01:07 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Income Inequality Kos, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Stunning is just the right adjective for this: (8+ / 0-)
    10 percent of people have 74.5 percent of the wealth.

    Conservatives seem to believe that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less. E.J. Dionne

    by blueyescryinintherain on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 01:13:59 PM PDT

  •  so how much of the wealth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Larsstephens

    should the bottom 50% have?

    •  At least enough... (7+ / 0-)

      to put a roof over our heads, food on our plates, and be able to afford to care for our health and educate our children.

    •  Enough That There's Something Productive For the (7+ / 0-)

      rich to do with their wealth besides gambling it on finance and causing national & global crashes.

      The level of wealth concentration we have today has always resulted in a bubble-depression business cycle because there isn't enough demand in the bottom, well, 90% to invest in.

      What we had at the end of the 60's wasn't enough but it was much closer to what's safe than today.

      I'm going to page source this diary and see if I can track down the info from those graphs to take the same measures farther back. A number of other references that run here show that period as about the peak time for the people as a whole, important demographics excepted of course.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 03:29:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The answer would obviously be arbitrary. (0+ / 0-)

      Just as obviously, though, it would be higher than this in any system considered fair, efficient or sustainable.

    •  50% of the people should have 50% of the wealth (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat

      Who here wants to defend inequality, that some people should have less than others just because of who they are?

      To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

      by Visceral on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 03:42:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can an economy work with cash flowing in one (0+ / 0-)

      direction only forever to the 1%?  And where do they get their entitilement?

      Grampa gets his SS and Medicare becuase he paid into them for a lifetime.

      That is far more relevant.

      "I don’t know why, but Mitt Romney has gotten this reputation as a guy who can't identify with the common man, no matter how hard he fires them." ---Stephen Colbert

      by Amayupta yo on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 05:05:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I always wonder the same thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      when I hear statistics like this.  I came up from nothing (HUD housing, food stamps and welfare checks were the hallmark of my childhood years).  I worked hard, and am now in that top 5% bracket. All of it earned through hard work and perseverence, I can assure you.

      So tell me, how much more should I be giving?  When you factor in all of the various taxes out there, I allready pay out well over 35-40% of everything I make to taxes.  So how much more should I be expected to give?And to whom should I give it?  Should I give it to the church?  To the governement?  To charities?  Who?  

      And as far as that goal that all people should have "At least enough to put a roof over our heads, food on our plates, and be able to afford to care for our health and educate our children." Who should be responsible to provide that?  Somebody would have to pay for it - so who should it be, and how much should they be expected to pay?

      •  The problem isn't YOU (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        (although attitudes such as yours prohibit any attempt to do anything about it).

        The problem is the 0.001% who have hoovered up MOST of that "74.5%" that the "topmost 10%" supposedly has. People like the Koch brothers, and their ridiculously rich puppet candidate Mitt Romney. People who could buy you ten times a day for chump change.

        You may complain about your taxes, but what you SHOULD be complaining about is that you're not getting your money's worth. And that's the fault of the 0.001%.

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:08:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ok - so... (0+ / 0-)

          what exactly should be done? You mention the Koch brothers and others in the top 1%.  What exactly do you think should happen to them?  I suspect you think they should be paying more, but for what?  Should their money be funneled directly to the poor?  And if so, how?  If they simply pay more in taxes, it seems that most of it will go to any number of things that may or may not help the poor.  

          So again, what should be done?

          •  What should be done? (0+ / 0-)

            Well, taking money out of public education is obviously what should not be done.

            Some people may need a temporary hand up until they can get back on their feet but what we really need is decent paying jobs.

            The whole theory behind opening up the market to global players is that Americans would then have skilled jobs while unskilled jobs went off shore. Except they dropped the ball regarding training for these high skilled jobs so now even those are going off shore to countries that educate their citizens.

            "Your Actions Are So Loud, I Can't Hear a Word You're Saying"

            by toosinbeymen on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:34:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I do not think it went from massive to Grand Canyo (0+ / 0-)

    if you are looking at the great recession of 2007 to 2010 (and I still think we are in a recession) The 1% only increased by .6%.  Not much at all .   I think if you look at the mortgages,credit card debt and the student loans I am surprised that the numbers are not worse.

    •  Yes, but look at the surrounding factors (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J Orygun, pvmuse, NoMoreLies, Flying Goat

      The 1% gained wealth during a period where we were told we had to pour billions into their systems -- Wall Street and the "too big to fail" banks -- to keep from crashing the economy.  WENT UP.  Didn't stay even.  Didn't have a small loss.  Went up.

      Meanwhile, people at the bottom were struggling with net worth that dropped 38.8% or more, since that's a median number.  Most of us were lucky if we held our own, but I suspect that nobody who earns less than $250K was unscathed even if they managed to keep their jobs.  401Ks and all that.

      Although it's stating the obvious, I think it's worth stating that we were taken for a ride by bunch of gamblers who were playing with our money, not their own.  Privatized gains, socialized losses.

      Mortgages, credit card debt and student loans fall disproportionately on the middle income levels, driving their net worth down.  We owe our souls to the company store -- and don't tell me how we can all get out of it by "living frugally" and "paying them off."  We've been given credit instead of real living wage increases since the 1970s, and the fact that most people cannot live frugally enough and even if they pay them off are one car repair, medical emergency or heaven help us, lost job from having to put large amounts on a card shows that it's a broken system tilted in favor of those who have the gold and make the rules.

      When I first started using credit cards in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was ILLEGAL to charge more than 18 percent interest -- and this was at a time when, thanks to inflation, my bank account was making 15%.  My student loans were at 8%.  

      Now my bank account is lucky to make anything at all -- they tout rates of 1.3% like it's a GOOD thing? -- and student loans are STILL 8%, and credit cards tout their low, low rates of 22% -- and can legally go much higher.  "Payday loans" charge rates that were previously seen only in bad Mob movies.  I would rather eat cold beans than use them, but there are people who have fewer choices than I do, and get caught in a trap that makes the mere 20-30% of credit card debt look good.  

      If we're not at the point where it's impossible for the 99% to stay out of debt and impossible for the 1% NOT to make money, we're really close to it.

      "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

      by stormicats on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 07:35:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The current admistration has done little to (5+ / 0-)

    reverse course.   Starting with a democratic majority including Senator Obama passing TARP and adding special language to insure that bonuses to high paid exec in those industries would be assured, $1.6 billion in bonuses. The same companies collectively received ~$140 billion in tax breaks on top of the the TARP bailout

    Extending the Bush tax cuts was another case of more of the same.

  •  Wealth of Forbes 400 Doubled in the Decade BEFORE (3+ / 0-)

    1989, went from the c. .4 billion to around .9 billion before the period you cite. The country had been governed economically conservatively for about 15 years by then.

    We should be comparing back into the early 70's to late 60's when the masses had the biggest fraction ever.

    The last time either party governed net liberally in economics.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 03:24:50 PM PDT

  •  Top 400 people pay more taxes than total of 50% (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, pat bunny

    at the bottom. Clearly, this is unsustainable. Increasing the wealth, and taxable income, of the people in the bottom 50% must be the goal. Creating the best products in the world by the hardest working most productive labor force in the word should be the objective of our government.

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 04:29:57 PM PDT

    •  60 years ago the top tax rate was 95% (5+ / 0-)

      on income above $250,000.  Yeah, it's just so unfair of us to make rich people pay 32%.  In Scandinavia, taxes start at 32%.

      If it were up to me, I'd bring those tax rates back.  I'd tax capital gains and all unearned income (rent, royalties, dividends, interest, etc.) at the same rate.  Maybe tax profits at the same rate as well.  BTW, wages, rent, purchases, etc. are expenses.  No company worth its salt expands off of profits; they borrow.

      To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

      by Visceral on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 03:55:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  While 95% strikes me as too high, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        War on Error, YucatanMan

        I do think tax rates of 50-60% on income over $250k or so is reasonable, and also think capital gains should be taxed as earned income (I'm on the fence about allowing lower rates on people with less capital gains - seems to me that should be accounted for with lower income tax rates, not lower capital gains rates).

        •  It's only 95% of income earned in a year (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan, Flying Goat

          The multi-millionaire still is a multi-millionaire.  The high tax kept greed in check.

          When Ike was President, the country soared under his tax rates.  Men were paid living wages.

          Now, wages are too low and the rich only pay 15% because most of their new income is capital gains.

          It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

          by War on Error on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 07:48:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And, it is only on the highest dollars earned (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            War on Error, David Kaib

            The first $10,000 is taxed at the same rate as someone who makes only $10,000 in total (apart from deductions - we're talking only about rates).

            The next $20,000 is taxed at the same rate as someone who earns only $30,000 in total, etc.

            So, there's plenty of income for basic necessities. It's only the hugest massive amounts of money - the last dollars - taxed at that rate, and why shouldn't it be?

            One change that should take place immediately is that any home mortgage over $1,000,000 should not be tax deductible and no second home mortgage interest allowed for anyone making over, I dunno, say $250,000.

            Why should the US government - i.e., We the People - be subsidizing vacation homes and 2nd homes for the already wealthy.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 08:29:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  You're looking at the wrong group. A few thousand (0+ / 0-)

        people won't make the same difference that the millions in bottom 50% would make. If you increased the wealth and corresponding taxable income of that large of a group, you would have so much more revenue than taxing the few people at the highest levels.

        "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

        by Kvetchnrelease on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 05:56:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And what share of the wealth do they hold? (0+ / 0-)

      We should be asking Why the lower 50% are so incredibly poor in this vastly wealthy nation? rather than worrying about those unfortunate already wealthy who own most all of the wealth already!

      Why do 400 people have more money than 1/2 the nation?  

      Isn't the fact that only 400 people have far more wealth than 1/2 the entire nation Exhibit 1 in the evidence that the system is not taxing correctly nor incentivizing correctly?

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 08:34:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes to incentivizing more correctly! More profit (0+ / 0-)

        sharing, tort reform so money wasted on defending frivolous civil suits is distributed to labor/shareholders, and a new corporate ethic were executive pay is more proportional to labor

        "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

        by Kvetchnrelease on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 06:01:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dern Socialists.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    US Blues

    It's little wonder that the surveillance society and the militarization of police are on such a rapid upswing.

    Our overlords and aristocrats want advance warning and protection when the rabble finally breaks out the pitchforks and torches.

    I want a living planet, not just a living room.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 05:25:40 PM PDT

  •  Aspirational greed is winning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, TomP

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 06:35:52 PM PDT

  •  It's why we #Occupy. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, Hohenzollern

    What amazes me is that more aren't out in the streets taking back theirs. What, you're going to watch it on tv? You think Tweety gives a flying flip? Get a clue, turn off the frickin' tv and be the media.
    The new media starts with people like Laura Clawson who kicks ass here every frickin' day! What about you? Can't write? No radio voice? Join the club. Join me in the streets!

  •  I'd like to see coverage of this question (0+ / 0-)

    If ALL of the money that the 1% has was given to our government, would then our fiscal situation be far better off?

    I truly believe that the more wealthy in our country should be paying more percentage-wise of their wealth and earnings.  Don't get me wrong here.  But, I've seen just soooo many presentations that say that if we took ALL of the wealth of the most wealthy in our country, it wouldn't put a dent in our debt and deficit.

    I believe that, for "fairness" sake, the wealthy should pay more, but, we need to come up with something that would actually HELP in getting our debt down and get us into some kind of fiscal order.


    The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

    by commonsensically on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 03:35:47 PM PDT

    •  Some common sense solutions (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      First, the economic situation we are in right is the result of demand.  Only government can create the kind of demand we need to put people back to work, so let's forget about the debt right now. It is not like we can't rebuild our infrastructure and move toward less reliance on fossil fuels.

      Second, given the fact that only the top 1-2% have seen any real income gain in this economic down turn, we can raise their taxes without much fear of doing any harm.

      Third, with so many people having so little, we must not do any more damage to the social-safety net now and in the future.  And, only governmental programs can provide the opportunity for the poor to be socially mobile.  We must invest in people again.

      Fourth, when the economy returns to what it was like in the 1990s, we can raise taxes to begin to pay down the debt.

      Fifth, let's get some sanity in our military spending.

      Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.

      by MoDem on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 03:49:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with all five (0+ / 0-)

        But, at the end of the day, this is NOT going to stop our fiscal irresponsiblity and our massive increase in debt and our continued yearly deficits.

        I am with ya, me.  But, the answer is fiscal responsibility and in that comes reductions in out-of-control spending.  I know, I know, that will mean strife and some sad situations with those of us that haven't been fiscally responsible in our lives along the way and those that just haven't had the opportunity we would like for them to have.  But, for our nation, that's what has to happen.  Look back at our world wars.  How many people have given the ultimate sacrifice to make sure we have the country we have now.  I'm sorry that some folks will have to be disadvantaged to get our country back to what it can and should be...but, that's what has to happen.  

        Okay...I've forwarded my sister's beliefs as I said I would.

        Take them for what they are.

        The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

        by commonsensically on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 03:57:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  excellent post, Laura. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MoDem, captainlaser

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 03:50:32 PM PDT

  •  "Job creators" is the term that the right wing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny

    call the 1%, or even the 10%.  That term is very loaded.  it seems to convey that whether or not you have a job is dependent on them alone, not on the basic economics of supply and demand.  It also implies that you look up to them, worship them.  How ironic, they are poising themselves to be false gods.

    God be with you, Occupiers. God IS with you.

    by Hohenzollern on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 03:57:35 PM PDT

  •  How to GOPerfy this data (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here's how to give a RW slant to this: First, remember that none of your constituents want to hear explanations... they only want talking points. Second, don't talk about distribution, only talk about end results. In other words, assume the total pot of wealth is a mixed bag. Next, use the "median wage" as your median income. Now, you can say silly things like "Half the country doesn't pay any taxes!!!" and "10% of the population pays 70% of the taxes in this country. How fucked up is that!? (Note: don't ever, ever ever tell them that those 70% own 74.5 % of the total pot, or that half the country is too poor to pay taxes)". Before you know it, those idiots will be screaming "Those 53% of the leeches should be paying half the taxes in this country" and "Since when does 10% of the population pay more than 10% of the taxes?! They shouldn't ever half to pay more than 10%". Works like A charm every time, just visit Redstate you'll see.

    "Politics is the entertainment branch of industry". Frank Zappa

    by macleme on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 04:04:12 PM PDT

  •  GOP voters (0+ / 0-)

    How many of those bottom 50% are GOP voters?  Deluded by red herrings like religion and race.  Clearly quite a few.

    It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.

    by GrinningLibber on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 04:51:38 PM PDT

  •  the rich can't afford to give their employees (0+ / 0-)

    a raise or pay taxes.

    The bottom 50% still has 1% of their wealth

    "I don’t know why, but Mitt Romney has gotten this reputation as a guy who can't identify with the common man, no matter how hard he fires them." ---Stephen Colbert

    by Amayupta yo on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 05:00:38 PM PDT

  •  The rich corrupt the political system in order (0+ / 0-)

    to become even richer. It was a cycle that was clearly identified by the Founders. In fact, they considered aggregations of wealth to be as dangerous to republican self-government as a standing army. An excerpt from what I posted a few days ago here and a few other places:

    For American Revolutionaries, it was exactly accumulations of wealth - especially those acquired through "the contemptible cunning of Financiers" - that started republics down the road to ruin. In his 1969 book, The Creation of the American Republic 1776-1787 (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC), Gordon S. Wood explains, that this problem of rising new oligarchies,
    in American thinking, transcended all particular trade or tax grievances: their very existence as a distinctive egalitarian people seemed at stake... For years, resentment and distrust had grown over the increasingly aristocratic airs and tastes adopted by wealthy elites in the colonies, who were seen to be fawning sycophants of the crown, panting after royal offices, appointments, and preferments."
    It was this perception of a new oligarchy, arising in England on the basis of "unnatural" interests, and therefore corrupting and usurping the social compact of the unwritten English "constitution," that drove the American Revolutionaries to their break with England.

    Wood quotes from some newspaper commentaries in 1775 and 1776:

    These widely voiced fears for the fate of the English constitution... represented the rational and scientific conclusions of considered social analysis... When the American Whigs described the English nation and government as eaten away by "corruption,"  they were in fact using a technical term of political science, rooted in the writings of classical antiquity, made famous by Machiavelli, developed by the classical republicans of seventeenth-century England, and carried into the eighteenth century by nearly everyone who laid claim to knowing anything about politics. And for England it was pervasive corruption, not only dissolving the original political principles by which the constitution was balanced, but, more alarming,  sapping the very spirit of the people by which the constitution was ultimately sustained....

    "Empires," declared one orator lecturing "On the Fall of Empires," carry in them their own bane, and proceed, in fatal round, from virtuous industry and valour, to wealth and conquest; next to luxury, then to foul corruption and bloated morals; and last of all, to sloth, anarchy, slavery, and political death." History, as written by Sallust and Plutarch, only too grimly showed the fate of empires grown too fat with riches. While the Romans, for example, maintained their love of virtue, their simplicity of manners, their recognition of true merit, they raised their state to heights of glory. But they stretched their conquests too far and their Asiatic wars brought them luxuries they had never before known. "From a People accustomed to the Toils of War, and Agriculture, they became a People who no longer piqued themselves on any other Merit than a pretended fine Taste for all the Refinements of a voluptuous Life. They became obsessed with the "Grandeur and Magnificence in Buildings, of Sumptuousness and Delicacy in their Tables, of Richness and Pomp in their Dress, of Variety and Singularity in their Furniture." That corruption "which always begins amongst the Rich and Great," soon descended to the common people, leaving them "enfeebled and their souls depraved." The gap between rich and poor widened and the society was torn by extortion and violence." "It was no longer virtue that raised men up to the first employments of the state, but the chance of birth and the caprice of fortune."

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 05:03:26 PM PDT

  •  The poor top 10% (0+ / 0-)

    How did they ever survive those terrible high taxes and financial regulations that devastated their portfolios during the Bush years.

    And this from a party (Repubs) that keeps saying that Obama has made the economy worse.

    How can they keep a straight-face and say that?

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 05:50:19 PM PDT

  •  Why are liberals so ignorant in basic economics? (0+ / 0-)

    1)  How is household income data affected by .... employee pension funds?????

    2)  True or false, on average, employee pension funds could own 75% of the entire stock market -- if they chose to invest entirely in equities?

    3)  True or false, we've been losing our best jobs for a quarter century?

    4)  True or false, both mean and median income decline if ONE person moves to a lower paying job?  Just one.

    5)  True or false, if middle-income jobs are disappearing then the wealthy will increase their share of income -- even if the wealthy don't earn a penny more?

    6)  True or false, the world goes around the sun?

    Back to point 2:  despite a wackjob named Karl Marx, this is the only place on earth where "workers own the means of production."  Well, they could if they chose to.

    It's always sad to see anyone spend so much time working on data they cannot begin to fathom.

    The New York Times looked a little deeper and here's what they found:  

    New York Times:

    Part of the country’s middle class has slipped to the lower rungs of the income ladder as manufacturing and other middle-class jobs have dwindled ...  Put simply, there are fewer people in the middle.  (gasp)


    Almost forgot. American pension funds were a hair under $14 TRILLION in 2010

    Repeat, how might middle-class wealth be affected by adding this $14 trillion???  I urge everyone to jump into Google and see where this "invisible" $14 trillion has been reported.  

    •  Are you advocating MORE robbery? (0+ / 0-)

      Like we haven't been robbed blind over and over again already?

      Like we should turn over everything we worked all our lives for to be gambled away in the rigged casino that is Wall Street?

      Like you WANT everyone but Wall Street and the banksters to be begging on the government dole - or starving in the gutters?

      I don't think it's "liberals" who are "so ignorant in[sic!] basic economics". And I think you need to find your way back to RedState.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:21:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I see several different ways to interpret this (0+ / 0-)

      comment.  Could you be more specific about the conclusion you wish us to draw?

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 08:18:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Focus on the Middle Class Always Bothered Me (0+ / 0-)

    A few years ago the progressive political rallying point was not the inclusive 99% but the rather exclusive "shrinking middle class".

    This bothered me a great deal because the idea of the "middle class", no matter how expanded it gets, implies a lower class below it. It's rankist term. A pecking order.

    And expanding the middle class does the same thing as getting unemployment down to 7%: whether or not there is a safety net for that remaining 7%, the middle class majority that regards itself as "safe" will suddenly decide nothing needs to be done anymore: social programs are too expensive, and as long as they themselves aren't "unemployed" then the economy is statistically "normal".

    In other words, the middle class always gets what they want and then shuts the door behind them.

    I like the inclusive 99% concept a lot better. However, sometimes I wonder if it's just a trick term being used to get the lower class to help save the middle class. But once their vote has been used, they will be thrown away. The idea of The 99% will be seen as too vague and too ineffective. The "middle class" will make a comeback, and the lazy fools in the "lower class" can go fish.

    Le nirvane n'existe pas. - Etienne Lamotte

    by breakingranks on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 07:07:49 PM PDT

    •  I agree with you 100% that 99% is more inclusive. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      However, I don't know if I agree with:

      In other words, the middle class always gets what they want and then shuts the door behind them.
      Many government programs are actually entrance doors to the middle class.  For example, anything supporting college tuition, vocational training, and job retraining can help those who started in poverty or struggling 'class' to move up to middle.

      And many of those programs are targeted at middle class voters to get them passed in Congress.  Even though they may help the poor move up, they also help the middle class stay middle.

      In other words, yes, 99% is more inclusive of a descriptive term, but middle class voters are (or were) the biggest block of voters, hence where politicians targeted many programs.

      Anyway, I think we're on the same side, but just talking about things slightly differently.  I don't think the middle class turns their backs on the poor.  I think many actually relate fairly well to the issues of the poor and certainly much better than the already wealthy.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 08:25:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes talking about the same things (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm just resorting to some hyperbole to make my point.  

        Another problem is that the middle class tends to coddle the 1% because they think they need to win over the rich to be "effective". This is a relic of the idea of patronage, where the savvy courtier avoids annoying his/her Gracious and Excellent Lordship.

        There is a lot of patronizing "advice" on how to address the rich so they will "listen" and not tune us out.

        If only eliminating poverty were seen as half as "effective" as politely addressing our betters!

        Le nirvane n'existe pas. - Etienne Lamotte

        by breakingranks on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 08:55:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ya wanna know where the wealth is ?... (0+ / 0-)

    .. It has been steadily taken, in the form of accumulated, federal debt.

    As mentioned.. you could confiscate the entire net worth of the "rich", and it wouldn't touch the debt.. barely dent anual deficits.. and matter less than nothing toward future obligations.. AND even if it did make a dent; you can only do that once.. it won't be there the next year.  (not to mention that taking it all, would mean massive stock sell-offs.. destroying the net worth of most job-providing corporations)..

    The debt is now ~ $150,000 per household (and growing by ~$10,000/year).. and with a return to anything resembling historic interest rates.. debt service (just the interest)will become the single biggest budget expense... an expense caried, one way or another, on EVERYone's back.

    Oh.. and normalize these wealth distributions by age.. ala.. a 20 year-old is supposed to have a mere fraction of the wealth a 60 year-old has piled up.

  •  Republican formula for "governing:" (0+ / 0-)

    1) Divert more money to the already wealthy, beginning with Reagan over 30 years ago. Further tax cuts to the already wealthy during two wars under W Bush, an unprecedented irresponsible act in US history.

    2) Create massive deficits, beginning with Reagan over 30 years ago.  Ignore deficits under Republican presidents; scream holy hell about it during Democratic presidents and block any realistic measures to get the already wealthy to pay their fair share.

    3) Slash budgets, particularly at state and local levels, during times of economic downturn in order to enhance the pain and further divide society via fear and generated envy.  (Yes, states, cities and counties must balance their budgets, but the federal government could have alleviated much of this, just as Obama's stimulus act did).

    4) Become even better pals with the already wealthy and call them "job creators" when they aren't doing anything to create jobs.  Blame everyone else for the job creators' "bad mood" and "uncertainty," when all the "uncertainty" is actually caused by Republicans' refusal to participate in any responsible legislation whatsoever.

    They intend to drive the nation into bankruptcy, creating hate and division all the way through.  They have no intention whatsoever about doing the right thing for the USA under any circumstances.  They've become so separated from reality, they actually believe that the rich are the only important people, even while the middle class that is the backbone of the nation is further impoverished.

    More poor people = more people whose fears and prejudices which can be exploited to further their grip on power.  Republicans may see what they are doing as increasing their base. Not publicly of course.

    But between vote suppression, fear and division, they see a path to continued power, serving at the right hand of the already wealthy.  

    How much will people take?  Depends on whether they stop to really think things through. There are few indicators that the general public sees what's going on, outside Democrats (and sadly some Dem politicians are also corporate owned).

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 08:16:10 PM PDT

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