The Triggers of Economic Inequality

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In recent years, the rich have seen their wealth grow dramatically while the poor and middle class have basically flatlined. It’s no accident, argue Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson in their book Winner-Take-All Politics. The infographic below, which draws from Hacker and Pierson’s book, explains how our politicians — on both sides of the aisle — fell under the spell of corporate dollars and re-engineered our economic system to favor the wealthy. The dark green line shows the income trajectory for the top 1 percent since 1970, while the light green line shows the bottom 90 percent. Click the orange triangles to learn about critical turning points that helped create the skewed system we have today.

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  • Normvic1

    I like it, is explained why there’s no indept.congress, but failed to explain the superme court’s direction in elections? and what motivates them?

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t paint an especially good picture for Clinton either.

  • Brucereno

    The best policies money can buy.  This is not republican or democratic ineptitude.  This is the influence of corporate cash on politicians of both stripes.   They call it lobbying….rather than bribery.   Its plain and simple bribary.   Members of Congress will screw the majority as long as the corporations and weathly keep sending in those checks.    If a vote brings in enough cash…what’s the problem?

  • survivor

    Finally, a graph across party lines.  Wake up.  The idea of the common good has been redfined;  free market captialism stands unmasked as not just a political party thing but as a structure created by financiers and the ruling elites.  Just say no.

  • Jamelia Saied

    And we wonder why a loaf of bread that cost 50 cents in 1967 now costs $2.50–or worse, gas which was at about $1/gallon and now, here in Alaska, is at $3.80/gallon. Somethings got to change before we have a revolution.

  • Roger

    One fix: Permit only registered voters to contribute to campaigns and parties in very limited amounts.
    Another: Prohibit governments at all levels from borrowing money.
    Last: Outlaw inflation by requiring that all loans be repaid in adjusted dollar amounts. (Gummint is the big winner in inflationary times.)

  • James Michael McDaniel

    The regulations enacted by the NEW DEAL were good and necessary. Let’s return to a system that was working before power lusting after more power broke it.

  • Jeff Little

    Please don’t confuse income inequality with inflation.  If things cost twice as much but people at the same point in their careers earn three times as much, then you are doing well.  This is more a case of things costing 5 times as much, people earning 5 times as much, and the rich earning 15 times as much as before.  Of course inflation fails to take everything into account, so if the official numbers say parity with earlier times, then the actuality is worse than that.

  • Jeff Little

    We liberals need to do our part by saying it was the New Deal that brought us out of the Great Depression, rather than world war two.  By setting the frame that WWII brought us out of the great depression, they moved the battleground to one where they can sway public opinion more easily.

  • Robertsmellis

    Ahhh. What a difference a Bill Moyers makes. Good to have you back.

  • masked crusader

    Take back the country.  Repeal corporate personhood through the constitution!

  • masked crusader

    We need a revolution!!!

  • Anonymous

    Gee, I have to wonder how much $31K in income in 1970 is worth in 2011 Dollars???  Right offhand I would guess almost 500% more, or $150K or so!!!  In 1970 I bought gas for a boat at the end of a dock near Pontiac, MI for 28 cents per gallon, and in 1973 in Michigan, gas was 37 cents per gallon for full service and a pack of smokes was 40 cents in a machine.  In 1975 I rented a 3-bedroom house in suburban Detroit for $150/month, and in 1979 I earned $9.31/hour as a metal machinist, I bought a brand-new Dodge van for $5600, and I shared a 2-BR house with another guy from work for $200/month total rent, or $100/month each.  And in 1982, a newer 4-BR/2-BA house rented for $375/month in suburban Denver too.

    Think that’s bad, just wait until the Dollar is only worth 20% of what it is today in another 40 years….while the income of the top 1% exceeds the inflation rate by another 400% too!!!  In fact, if the current growth in income disparity that has existed since 1980 continues through 2050, just 38 years from now, by then, 2/3rds to 3/4ths of all Americans will live below the poverty line!!!   Also, if we can only manage an average of 2% GDP growth from now through 2050, by then 40 to 50 million American adults of working age will be unemployed too, which will help keep wages way down too!!!

    We can change the future but we can’t get there voting Republican, whose leaders would like nothing better than a complete restoration of the robber baron era where workers weren’t even worth a dime a dozen.  If you want to go back to earning $2.oo/hour working 75 hours per week in absolutely horrid, unsafe, and unhealthy working conditions, without any Social Security or Medicare for the day when you get too worn-out to continue, vote for the Republicans in 2012.   If you want a better future for the bottom 90% of Americans, and if you want the wealthiest to pay their fair share…..,

    The top Income tax rate was 70% in 1968 when Richard Nixon was President, and it was also 70% during the Johnson and Carter Presidencies, and the Capital Gains tax rate was 42% too.  Isn’t it odd how over 92% of all US Federal debt was incurred since the Reagan tax cuts for the wealthy?  How many permanent jobs did those tax cuts create?   100 million jobs in China???

    Yeah, in 1973, back when gas was 37 cents per gallon and a pack of smokes was 40 cents, the minimum wage was $1.60/hour, so at that time, you could have bought 4 gallons of gas or 4 packs of smokes for an hour of work at the minimum wage.  Today, 4 packs of smokes are averaging $25 and 4 gallons of gas are averaging $15, so I figure that in order for a minimum wage worker to have kept pace, that his wage should be close to $20/hour at the very least.   Instead, your Republicans think that $7.25/hour is way too high!!! 

    There is an easy solution for this, which would be re-instituting protective tariffs while forcing any American company that wants to sell its products here to manufacture its products here.  Yes, costs would rise, and wages would have to rise too, but I for one would be glad to pay double for products made in America if my wages were at least double too.   As wages rose, tax collections would also rise, as well as contributions to Social Security and Medicare too, and fairly quickly our budget deficits would be greatly reduced and the solvency of our State and local budgets and retirement programs would also be enhanced. 

    What good has unrestricted foreign trade done for you?   How many of our Asian trading partners buy American-made products other than oil, coal, or agricultural products?  You want your middle-class job back?  We need a 65% majority in the House and Senate plus the Presidency to get there.

    For every rich guy who takes his money and runs, there will be several would-be rich guys waiting to take their place too!!!

  • Bruce Barnes

    The wealthiest 400 people are Billionaires and have more
    net worth than half of all tax payers. The top 1 percent has over 40 percent of
    all personal net worth. The next 4 percent has 35 percent of all personal net
    worth. How much money is enough? What would the economy be like if 1 percent
    had 99 percent of the money?

    “There is one and only one social responsibility of
    business — to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase
    its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game.”

    Milton Friedman

    Corporations and wealthy people have the ability to influence and write the rules.

    The “Laffer Curve” is an untested thought experiment based on payroll like taxes where the first dollar is taxed the same as the last dollar.  The basic assumption is “If you tax someone’s wages too high they will stop working overtime and at 100 percent, they will quit their job.”

    This is not true for progressive income taxes in the real world where the tax brackets increase with increasing income.  Here the assumption is, “People will continue accumulating wealth until they reach their maximum marginal tax bracket and then stop their income producing activities.”

    Let’s use Mr. Warren Buffet as an example. I feel that Warren Buffet does more than most to stay within the rules of the game and I use him
    as an example only because his taxes are public. Mr. Buffet is on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people and Forbes reports his net worth in 2009 as $40 Billion, in 2010 as $45 billion and in 2011 as $50 Billion. It is safe to say his income for 2010 exceeded $5 Billion. His AGI Income reported to the IRS for 2010 was $63 million and he paid 17 percent in taxes or $11 million. Warren’s first $100,000.00 of wages will be taxed the same as anyone else making $100.000. If the maximum marginal tax bracket is raised to 50 % his tax may go
    up to $25 million on his $63 million of AGI, Warren would not skip a beat. He would not close one store or take any money out of the bank. If the maximum tax rate was raised to 100 percent, he would not shut down one corporation. In fact he could not stop making income and then restart the next year. The Laffer curve would be a monotonic increasing line starting at the first tax bracket, which means that government revenue increases as the tax brackets are increase.

    Why is this important? Republicans have almost bankrupted the country based on the false policy that “tax cuts will increase government revenue.” It’s especially harmful for the government to issue bonds to give wealthy people and large companies tax breaks.

  • Bruce Barnes

    The wealthiest 400 people are Billionaires and have more
    net worth than half of all tax payers. The top 1 percent has over 40 percent of
    all personal net worth. The next 4 percent has 35 percent of all personal net
    worth. How much money is enough? What would the economy be like if 1 percent
    had 99 percent of the money?

    “There is one and only one social responsibility of
    business — to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase
    its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game.”

    Milton Friedman

    Corporations and wealthy people have the ability to influence
    and write the rules.

    The “Laffer
    Curve” is an untested thought experiment based on payroll like taxes where the
    first dollar is taxed the same as the last dollar.  The basic assumption is “If you tax someone’s
    wages too high they will stop working overtime and at 100 percent, they will
    quit their job.”

    This is
    not true for progressive income taxes in the real world where the tax brackets
    increase with increasing income.  Here
    the assumption is, “People will continue accumulating wealth until they reach
    their maximum marginal tax bracket and then stop their income producing activities.”
    Let’s use Mr. Warren Buffet as an example.


    I feel that Warren
    Buffet does more than most to stay within the rules of the game and I use him
    as an example only because his taxes are public. Mr. Buffet is on the Forbes
    400 list of the wealthiest people and Forbes reports his net worth in 2009 as
    $40 Billion, in 2010 as $45 billion and in 2011 as $50 Billion. It is safe to
    say his income for 2010 exceeded $5 Billion. His AGI Income reported to the IRS
    for 2010 was $63 million and he paid 17 percent in taxes or $11 million. Warren’s
    first $100,000.00 of wages will be taxed the same as anyone else making
    $100.000. If the maximum marginal tax bracket is raised to 50 % his tax may go
    up to $25 million on his $63 million of AGI, Warren would not skip a beat. He
    would not close one store or take any money out of the bank. If the maximum tax
    rate was raised to 100 percent, he would not shut down one corporation. In fact
    he could not stop making income and then restart the next year. The Laffer
    curve would be a monotonic increasing line starting at the first tax bracket, which
    means that government revenue increases as the tax brackets are increase.


    Why is this important? Republicans
    have almost bankrupted the country based on the false policy that “tax cuts
    will increase government revenue.” It’s especially harmful for the government
    to issue bonds to give wealthy people and large companies tax breaks.

  • Mhalligan83

    Now how did this happen?  Basically, those in power/Congress, don’t represent the middle and lower classes, they represent the upper class, hence the inequality.  Daniel Moynihan wrote about this back in the 1960’s.  

  • R U Hertwig

    It is the fact that income has remained steady over the past 40 year or so that has brought the American economy to where it is now, in spite of the relatively high rise in labor productivity. Had this rise been acknowledged by the politicians, the lobbyists and all those think tankers out there in think- tank-land that it was due to labor’s skills and efforts and granted to them, the economy and vast majority of the American people would not be in the situation they find themselves today. And the presidential election of 2008 sought to bring about the desired turn of events but it did not, thanks to President Obama’s overriding concern for the rich and wealthy, who, according to our politicians (and Obama too) , are the “job creators” in the American system of politics and way of life. These Americans who think their way of thinking and their way of life is the only thing that matters, and that the rest of us better conform to their rules, are what ruined the American dream, for, as Keynes and his followers have taught the world some 60 or 70 years ago, economic growth and full employment grow hand in hand only if, in the long run, labor receives a fair share of its growth in productivity because the wealthy cannot consume all this additional output, and labor must receive a higher income to consume the increase in output due to the growth in productivity. Instead, the wealthy and the high income earners have taken the income they cannot consume to Wall Street, to the Bankers and to the real estate market to gamble with this excess income in the hope of gaining even more whereby a very small minority, “the experts in finance and corporate affairs” (the very top .1%) enriched themselves with the money provided to them by the Federal Reserve System. The truth is that there is too much saving and not enough consumption, and too little to invest, thanks to the Fed’s “liberal money” producing policy from which no one benefits excepts the bankers, the corporations and Wall Street and all their hangers-on. That is the real tragedy of thee past 35 years of the American way to prosperity.

  • Anonymous

    That is due to NAFTA.  I bet he regrets it; I would like someone to ask him about it.

  • Makirchner

    No one has disproved Keynesian economics, almost of Century of prosperity supports it.
    But the Austrian School brought the world Hitler.
    Can this Republican Austerity bring us anything but poverty to all of America, except the fortunate few who feel “entitled”?

  • Neal Frankel

    Is the $30,981 for 2009 in 2009 dollars, has the amount been adjusted for inflation since 1970?

  • Pata Man

    I sure wish it would have been that easy!      Running a business —working or on call 24/7—-sweating how to make the weekly payroll—–etc.  along the way I was fortunate  to purchase a few properties that were to become my retirement. they have provided an income that is less than that of a goverment worker but adaquet to get by—–My investments put me in the so-called 1%—–I would gladly trade the tough life I endured, for that of a simple goverment job—with a greater retirement  that is secure?????

  • Pata Man

    So true, the reality is that one must have the equevalent of severl million dollars to provide the annual income equal to that of the average teacher,fireman,civil employe etc.

  • Mbfaust

    Um. . . I kind of sympathize with your political views, but I have to fault your logic on the money. If you’ll notice, the dollar figures are corrected for inflation using an index of 2008.  That does NOT mean that the average person in the lower 90 percent made 30,000 1970 dollars–far from it.  It means that they made 30,000 2008 dollars, or the equivalent of that, certainly a much lower figure, probably about $7000-8000. 

  • John D in Branson MO

    A different question to ask is “does the membership in the top 1% stay the same?”  I don’t know the answer but my guess is no.  The top 1% are clearly billionaires.  But who are they?  Are they people of generational money, wealth passed from one generation to the next? (Earned by being the offspring of wealth) Or are they business people that are newly wealthy as a result of business decisions. Think Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Dell.  These are creators of wealth, not caretakers of money.

    How do you redistribute wealth in society without causing unintended side effects?  We can raise the Capital Gains rate but that will discourage “risk taking” and so have a chilling effect on new investment.

    Risk and Capital formation go hand in hand.  Small businesses are the primary job creators in our Economy.

  • Bud mullen

    Repeal of Glass-Seagal Act was the cause of this financial collapse.  Before that repeal, banks were banks and investors were investors.  Banks loaned money to responsible borrowers,and paid a reasonable interest rate for the savers that gave them that privalege. They didn’t make windfalls, but they made a good and reasonable income.  And people were allowed to save, borrow and live with there safe savings.  Investment  entities were free to take all the risks they were willing to take.  If they lose they lose, if they win they win.  That is the way it should be to be free.  With repeal of the Glass- seagall Act,  your bank savings money was blended with the highflyer investment (speculative) community.   You no longer had any control whatsoever over the fate of your hard earned money.  And the likes of  Barney Frank an Maxine Waters insisted that they be used for risk in the market  for those who had no prayer of making it work financially for them, and even had a Bush Chief regulator fired for wanting to have market discipline.  Let’s get real, and reinstate Banks as Banks and investment capital as two different  identities.   It worked great from 1933 until the 90’s when it was repealed and caused everything to collapse. Bud Mullen

  • John D in Branson MO

    The authors failed to mention two important factors in the world economy and their effects on the American economy; Globalization and Automation.  Globalization means that is cheaper to manufacture outside of the US to take advantage of the difference in wage rates. Lower wages in other countries, global shipping and the internet are driving forces.  Automation has further reduced jobs. Factories are replacing workers with machines and robots.  Productivity is growing at the expense of the labor market.  Simply put, we are doing more with fewer people.

    Those two trends have and will do more damage to middle America than anything cited by the authors.


  • John D in Branson MO

    No onehas proved or disproved Keynes’s theories.  Economics at the Macro level can never be fully tested and so proved or disproved.

    Macro Economic Theory (any) is like religion. You believe what you believe and it can’t be absolutely proven.

    As for Keynes, Milton Friedman or Pres. Nixon said “we are all Keynesians now”?   The problem is, we embrace Keynes during downturns (stimulate by deficit spending) but ignore him when the economy recovers. (pay down the deficit?)


  • John D in Branson MO

    Modest inflation is IMPORTANT to any economy.  Why? Buy today because it will be more expensive tomorrow.

    High inflation is obviously bad. 

    Deflation is worst of all.  Put off buying today because it will be less expensive tomorrow.

  • Gloria Dunham

    Yes, “bribery” IS a more appropriate term for what went down. But the fact, now proven that people like the Bushes can actually steal elections makes the history of how the American Economy was looted almost a moot point.  The senseless wars created by politicians such as they, no doubt, sped up the destruction of our American economy.  If we are brain-washed by our big news media as we presently are, people in this country won’t have clue as to who to vote for.  I personally watched the players in Congress for a few years. C-Span is not of interest to many in our country, but they ought to be aware of what politicians have proposed what and thereby, be enlightened as to who to vote for.  In addition, we have a Supreme Court now out-balanced by conservative justices who’s decisions appear to be for the most part, unAmerican and unconstitutionally oriented.  We the People COULD make it our duty to watch Congressional politicians, see how they vote, learn who is consistently FOR our  Constitution and who is just looking out for themselves.  I learn more by listening to C-Span, but if you don’t have the time, just listen to the best news on NPR Radio. 

  • Gloria Dunham

    Yes, the New Deal under the auspices of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the single cause of our rising to greatness.  It created a very widespread and strong middle class and if you have studied Sociology, you know that the middle class is the stanchion for our greatness.   When the Bushes touted their “New World Order”, it had great meaning to the powerful 2 or 3% elite. It meant that they would be able to rob, loot and plunder all over the globe.  Bush never explained that   He made it sound as though it was something which was for everyone’s benefit.  Opening  trade with backward nations enabled the very rich to become richer.  It was in directly antithetical to FDR’s New Deal, in that cheap labor could be had in foreign countries, sans retrictions of our laws.

  • Gloria Dunham

    The super rich now own our politicians, the media is a large part of that group.  The watered-down news we now get , the repitition of small happenings which have no bearing nor consequences for the majority of us and which are repeated ad absurdem, are dumbing us and turning our minds to mush.  We need to be liberal enough to seek out good sources for our information.  Most of all, we need to be skeptical of what the news and the politicians are covering up.

  • Jean Sutherland

    Many fail to understand or recognize the part that the 99% played in this debacle. They blindly watched as all this was happening and did not vote people out of office or participate in the political system of voting.

    The public has been fooled more than once which is a reminder of the saying, fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

    The end result of not watching what was going on is what led to this state of affairs. We the 99% let them do this to us and only we can stop it.

  • Mary Ann Gundersen

    The authors addressed this issue in the television show. They looked at other countries who have also been exposed to the forces of globalization and did not see the same income inequality in those nations. The current state we are in is not simply a result of “globalization” and cheap labor.

  • Physics Prof

    Re: “These are creators of wealth…”  The creators of wealth are the factory workers, the coal miners, the folks working the oil fields and the farm fields, the policemen, the firemen, the bakers, the electricians, the carpenters, the plumbers, the engineers, the scientists, the programmers, the teachers, the janitors, the guys who plow the roads after a snow storm, the airplane pilots, the cooks and the chefs, the accountants, etc., etc.  Without them, there would be no wealth.  Remove a single one, and the system breaks down.  But these don’t share the wealth created.  So let’s talk about redistribution of wealth.  Let’s talk how wealth is redistributed taken from those that created that wealth and given to the top 1% (perhaps a bit more).    

  • Andrew John Smith


  • Leilei

    Somewhat misleading. Better to use median income so that extremes don’ t overly influence the results. And it would still tell the same story, albeit not strikingly.

  • Andy

    Maybe that is why greed was once considered one of the 7 deadly sins.

  • Steve

    Rather than whining about the result, work to join the top 1%.   I will bet if you had data on what percentage of the same people were in the top 1% in 1970 vs 2008, you would find it quite small.  Bill Gates wasn’t even working in 1970 as an example. 

  • Markatus

    I will just say the the normal worker model for pay is over anyway.  You will now begin to be paid for performance.  I’m not judging this i’m just saying its coming.  Likewise whats fair, is it fair for a person to be taxed 70% of a certain portion of their income?  why is that fair? is it because the amount is so large we are offended by it?  did that person work for it?  Do they deserve it?   Did they create something that allowed them to get paid that much? 

    I agree the rich should pay a fair share i’m just not sure what that is and where that amount ends.   Love thy Neighbor as thyself is probably good advice here.    Lastly Greed and Love of money are bad, I agree however money and having money is not bad.  Where your treasure is there your heart will be.  So treasure something else not the money,  However if you make 300,000 and above i’m not going to immediately say you are evil and greedy.  I know some evil greedy poor people.   Those are human flaws.    Wealth and money is a tool and the rich need to learn they have to use it to make the world starting at home better but we can’t make them learn it or force them to learn it. 

  • Peggie

    Well said! Who remembers “Fahrenheit 451″?  

  • David

    What was WWII but a gigantic expenditure of Government resources.

  • HMcH

    That would be an interesting statistic.  But another would be the percentage of the wealth in America that is inherited.  Mine is.  And I don’t see the poor as “whiners,” necessarily.  Neither does Gates or Buffet, apparently.  We need to work for ourselves, the harder the better, AND have our work benefit the whole we arise from and belong to.  Does that imply a progressive tax or a flat tax?

  • HmcH

    It is a shame that Marx’s thought was taken over by Communism, isn’t it?  I was born wealthy — never earned a living, but always taken care of.  I admire Gates, et al, but I have a certain sympathy for people who start out in the ghetto or the barrio, instead of at Harvard.  So how do we create equal opportunity, really?

  • HmcH

    Question is, does the marginal social benefit of more taxes from capital gains outweigh the marginal decline in risk-taking caused by that increment?  I bet the two are not directly related:  you don’t lose a dollar in new investment for every dollar in taxation of CG.  Anybody know?

  • Kenichi Nalita
  • Ed Bradley

    Would be nice to add colored bars below the graph indicating party control of the House and Senate.

  • Jeff Little

    One thing that I think this graph should make us aware of is that the tactics used by neoliberals inside the country are actually very similar to the tactics used as part of foreign policy.  John Perkins does a great job of introducing this situation with “confessions of an economic hit man” and follow up works.  Naomi Klein has a great talk about how the Iraqi war fit into that.  To paraphrase Naomi, somewhat, there was actually not one Iraqi war this millenia, but two, with a bridge of conflict connecting them, but totally different causes.  The first war ousted Sadam Hussein.  The continued fighting was from people who either knew what was going on or were the last remnants of Hussein influence.  Then we installed Paul Bremer.  He instituted many of the exact same controls that John Perkins talked about with respect to Ecuador, Indonesia, and similar places.  Here is a You Tube link that I would strongly recommend from 2005, which has the advantage of freshness, but is obviously missing later developments.  The second Iraqi war was basically freedom fighters fighting against us using the transition to take our pound of flesh before they had representation in government.  The first war had a relatively small number of casualties; the second killed close to a million Iraqis.

    Anyway, the point is, the free market / debt control paradigm is used by politicians here, diplomats abroad, and military establishments abroad all with the same goal: creation of the debt traps and shrinking economies that will allow for control.

  • Anonymous

    Man, Jeff Little, it is so refreshing to read a comment  from a truly well self-informed listener.
    I am thinking of the hours you must have donated to the general welfare getting all this straight in your head.
    How do you make a living?
    Moyers needs you working at the Company.

    Pachmama must have awakened you in the dream.

  • Anonymous

    It’s all the same song.

  • Anonymous

    noblesse oblige, huh? Well, it hasn’t worked.
    You sound as though you and your money do it several times a week, Markatus.
    70% of a million leaves $3ooK; and 70% of $31K (average wage) leaves $9,300; and so that is why taxes should be graduated.
    Someone should educate the public that flat taxes are slavery for the average family.
    Then those simpleminded idiots would get no votes.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, and Steve Jobs ain’t in there no more.
    You’re really stuck in linear thinking, aren’t you. 
    You and Jack Benny will always be 39, and Rochester will never get a raise.

    Aspiring to join the top 1% is like playing the lottery, and it’s mathematically impossible for anyone to do so without impoverishing many others. Percentages don’t lie and the gap between the parasites and the people who do the necessary work widens every minute.
    Concentrated wealth and power are dangerous because they produce monstrous people and decadence, and maladaptive organizations.

    A wise man once observed: “It is difficult or impossible for anyone to become or remain extremely wealthy, or extremely poor, in a fair and just society.” It is so basic and so true that it doesn’t matter who said it.

  • Anonymous

    deadly for whom?

  • Anonymous

    It becomes impossible to pick the shell with the pea under it when the operator palms the pea.
    If Oligarchs vet and fund the candidates, who serves the general interest?
    You have made the familiar error of blaming the bunko victims.
    Next you will blame us for not replaying the French Revolution.
    But you are correct that the demise is so advanced only the People can stop it.
    We are fooled because we are made fools by media, fools in school, fools by the necessity of employment and fools by our fooled parents. Even those who know the truth are paralyzed with fear because they know our leaders are no better than Bashar al-Assad when threatened. The worst and only enemy of the Oligarchy is the People, and that is why they have no remorse in their extraction.

  • Anonymous

    C-span is a mystery and a wonder. Did you see the Chris Hedges interview recently on Bookwatch? Excellent!
    Watching politics is like watching sports. It becomes clear with careful analysis that many of the contests are rigged.

  • Anonymous

    Mary Ann is correct. I heard it too. Globalization and automation are minor factors compared to forced rises in productivity without any compensation.

  • Anonymous

    Half-truths and myths are dangerous.

  • Anonymous

    We talk about it at charity events before we snort blow.

  • Anonymous

    Fantasies and lies do not make good arguments. Sounds like you’re copying from that pedophile Horatio Alger.

  • Anonymous

    And it takes a hot stove to boil water, so what?

  • Anonymous

    Yep, all adjusted to 2008 dollars. So the average income for the 90% is falling slightly, but I’d also say that since technology has advanced the basics cost more overall, even exceeding same item or equivalent inflation.

  • Anonymous

    Textbook boilerplate.

  • Anonymous

    So they cooked the Golden Goose and ate it up!

  • Anonymous

    Sort of;  Moynihan was also a blame the victim advocate.
    He peaked during (1960s) urban renewal when movers and shakers had to depict inner city dwellers as” less than” in order to displace them for big money projects. Kind of like when Gingrich said at the Charleston debate that,”America is big people doing big things.” The things they do might hurt most people but bigness can’t be helped, apparently. Wealth and power find worth in being grandiose, and the cowed public accepts that. How does it feel to be called a “little people” Mhalligan83?

  • Anonymous

    People rightly like your explanation but what you say is irrelevant to bankers looting the federal treasury.
    In normal circumstances you explanation might matter, but now all bets are off in a rigged game.
    Billions put Oligarchs above the law. Among the Elite chaos rules.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t understand inflation at all.
    We can’t “get there” voting for Democrats either.
    And that’s a fatal problem.

  • Anonymous

    If only that were possible under laws written by Oligarchs.

  • Anonymous

    Obama double deals.

  • Anonymous

    Inflation tends to favor borrowers and that’s why lenders are always crying about it.
    If a dollar became worth a dime while wages rose accordingly we could afford $100,000 student loans which would be as easy as paying off as $10,000 is now.

  • Anonymous

    I bought good bread for $.25 in 1971 and gas for $.25 a gallon. Check your figures.
    Today my good bread is $4, and my gas nearing $3.75 a gallon.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds revolting to me.

  • Anonymous

    actuality is always worse than theory
    and the past is always the good old days

    Please make this Revolution a non-violent one, I beg you.

  • Anonymous

    And several holocausts.

  • Oakieguy

    That’s what (2008 Dollars) means

  • HmcH

    Aren’t we brave to use such bad language in public?!  I’m sympathetic to some of your points above, and your scorn/derision here mystifies me.

  • HmcH

    I guess you stopped this discussion for a couple of  days, didn’t you?  Grady the Dive-Bomber!

  • HmcH

    Suppose the dollar loses its safe-haven value:  how secure then is a government retirement fund?  Suppose the Republicans capture the Senate:  how likely is it then that the middle class will prosper?  And I bet you wouldn’t trade your life of self-directed challenge and contribution to the greater good (including your own) for that of a faceless bureaucrat. 

  • Dalmatian90

    Why would you want to lie like that?

    Yes, parts of FDR’s programs were very good; like all widespread efforts other parts failed (and FDR himself recognized part of his basic strategy was to throw a lot of things against the wall and see what stuck.)  Of course, on a strictly technical basis the Great Depression had ended before the New Deal could ramp up — but we often consider the longer economic and social doldrums from 1929 — 1945 in contrast to the boom and confidence of 1950 — 1968 so I’m assuming that’s what you’re trying to express.

    But would have any of the “Golden Age” of American consumerism from the 1950s into the 1970s existed without World War II having decimated the industrial capacity of all other major industrialized nations?  Savings in the form of war bonds, plus built up demand from war-time rationing, plus the baby boom, plus the dominance of American industry as other nations had to rebuild their basic industries (along with proportionality higher losses of working age males), plus the Soviet decision to center their economy around the military (which we didn’t realize until after they fell amounted to around 50% of their GDP) were all direct results of World War II on the post war boom.

    Even this diagram seeks to distort and tell half-truths.  Absolutely in today’s world having a Capital Gains tax half the rate of earned income is bad.  But it wasn’t as simple, as the diagram’s notes state, as greedy corporate barons wanting to be taxed less.  In the 1970s we were in a period of sustained and substantial inflation previously unprecedented.  Workers for the first time started to see Cost-of-Living raises become a standard expectation, as well as indexing things like Social Security.  People — not just the rich, but relatively ordinary investors and businessmen — were being taxed on “phantom” capital gains that were largely attributed to sustained, higher then ordinary inflation.  In the days before we had TurboTax to figure out such stuff easily we simply cut the Capital Gains rate in half to try and reduce the tax burden caused by inflation.  The problem is we never eliminated it once we brought inflation back down to a sustained and predictable 2.5%-3%; or adopted a more accurate but complex calculation that assesssed capital gains by including into the basis the annual inflation by a standard measure like the Consumer Price Index.

    But by all means, try to tell a simple story — even if it’s at best a half-truth like the “they” you feel you’re in a battle with.  Thoughtful, reasoned, understanding policies shaped by a sense of fairness and honest accounting for what factors have and have not worked in the interest of most Americans is a terrible way to try and run this nation.

  • Dred

    I wish the chart had included the US going off of the gold standard under the Nixon administration and how China has been allowed to peg their currency to the dollar.  Why, you may ask.  Bccause China has gradually manufactured our goods.  Good paying manufacturing jobs has been lost here in the US as our plants have closed.  This also contributed to the lack of growth of the bottom 90%. 

    I also believe that the IPO’s of the 90’s helped create the corporate culture of rewarding CEO’s for stock growth rather than actual company balance sheet value.  Those CEO compensation packages helped with the imbalance of the 90% to the top 10%.

  • AndyMac71

    Read Bill Clinton’s new book, Back to Work, why we need smart government for a strong economy.   We are all in this together. Corporations may have winners and losers but human society still survives based on values such as compassion, humility and enlightened self interest.

  • Bob2

    Wasn’t it one of RR’s economic guys who said “Supply Side and Trickle Down Economics was a way to move money to the rich”?

  • Michael Howerton

    So we needed an enormous over the top expenditure of funds to get the economy roaring white hot. Isn,t that what Keynes said to do? So FDR’s programs were the direct cause of getting us out of the depression. We just needed a world war to make the country realize  what we had to do to save ourselves.

  • Sofia Khwaja


  • Sofia Khwaja

    The steadiness in Clinton era is remarkable.

  • john

    First of all even though the difference between  the very rich and the middle class or bottom 1/5th of americans has increased , its important to realize the the bottom 1/5 of imcome earners are BETTER off now than they were 20 or 30 years ago.  So EVERYONE has gotten richer but the rich have gotten ever richer.

    The reason for this is simple.  The US governmentn and treasury have inflated the value the of dollar massively since nixon severed the last ties to gold in 1971.  In the last 30 years the inflation of the dollar has allowed the wealthy and well connected to profit massively through cronyism and the availability of low interest loans and gov guaranteed credit while the rest of the country has had to “pay” for this profigacy with a dollar of diminished value which they see directly as a higher cost of living.
    When interest rates are kept artificially low it discouraged savings and investment which poorer people need to build wealth and stimulates borrowing and leverage and speculation which will benefit wall street hedge funds.

    So Mr. Moyers the sad sorry state of the economy , the impoverishment of the middle class is due DIRECTLY to the liberal progressive welfare mixed economy state that you champion.  YOU mr. Moyers are the middle classes worst enemy,

    If you want to fix it:
    1) ABOLISh ALL corporate and capital gains taxes at all levels
    2) abolish all personal federal income tax.
    3) means test and phase out social security.
    4) repeal obamacare and return all medical care to the private market and the states. get the federal gov completely out of health care.
    5) abolish the dept of energy
    6) abolish the dept of education
    7) immediately bring all the troops home from Iraq and Korea and Japan and just about everywhere else ( end the imperial wars of agression)

    Government deficit spending IS the culprit.

    8) ABOLISH the federal reserve bank, and return the country to a sound gold money currency system.

    This is just a start.

    mike in NJ

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I would disagree that the bottom 20% percentile is better off. More of them are in dire absolute poverty by objective measures.
    At the same time there are more and more services and devices they can’t afford that those competing with them economically usually have. John may have mistaken the 4th  20% percentile (barely making it) for the 5th because the abjectly poor are hidden in this country.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Many human rights and regulations were sacrificed for a temporary and false prosperity.
    Productivity rose because exploitation intensified. Where were you living then, Sophia?

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Without living waged secure jobs for the 99% this economy goes nowhere.
    What has Commissioner Bill Clinton done for Haiti lately?
    He’d do similar for us. Not to say Romneyomics wouldn’t be worse.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    More than abolishing the FED and going for the Gold Standard will be required this time.
    An entirely new appreciation of necessary labor and human rights is in the offing.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Your condescending attitude is worse than any vulgarity or crude terms.
    You are upset because I ventured too near your gated community.
    We know how you do in there. Some of us are your paid help.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I, unlike your underlings, am not at your beckon-call.
    You may have leisure but I must work.
    My mind must reason on these matters while I budget my paycheck and worry about my employment.

    Look, no matter if you are personally well off, you are not a model for everyone else.
    Capitalism produces at least 10 losers for every winner, and you guys are gloating about your temporary musical chairs as if you arrived there by merit. This, more than the fireman expecting his retirement check and medical insurance, illustrates a demented sense of entitlement with no regard or empathy for those who work much harder than you and do all the “right” things without your jackpot. I know because I got most of the money I have through the same cronyism and inside fixes as you did. I am not proud of success in such a corrupt and degenerate system.

    Know what, I’ll comment when and where I damn well please.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Warren Buffet may own the BNSF choo-choo, but in his methods he is not an admirable person.

  • Dnadanyi

    How do I communicate that the graph is not exactly working.  If the curser is taken off of the top icon then one cannot move down to read the longer and important happenings leading to the economic problems.

  • Dnadanyi

    You are so right about the news. I started reading books sometime during the G.W. Bush administration when I saw how many books were being written about W.  My eyes have been opened. The Washington Post used to have a wonderful book section-no more. The New York Book Review is an excellent source, Comcast has a cspan book review program. The latest two books I am reading are Age of Greed and the above discussed book Winner Take All Politics. Blackwater,Top Secret America, Fiasco, Hubris,Screwed, Vultures picnic, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, the Man Who Got The US into the Iraq War- Ahmed Chalabi,Plan of Attack,Reckless Endangerment, Blood Money, The Dark Side,Tim Flannery’s book on climate change-The Weather Makers, The Super Rich. the list goes on.  I tell people “you cannot believe what is going on”. But people do not want to read.  If they have money they are busy enjoying it.  If they don’t have money they are too busy making ends meet. They listen to Rush or FOX or MSNBC and that iis the extent.

  • Dnadanyi

    I also like to listen to Thom Hartmann on Sirius satellite at 3pm est

  • Dnadanyi

    A female Physician and fellow traveler remarked that Bill Gates is so wonderful. His charitable contributions to AIDS etc in Africa have an agenda behind them that has to do with protection of intellectual property rights and trade agreements etc-he is a good one to talk. And Buffet gives them his money to distribute also.

  • Dnadanyi

    Read Age of Greed by Jeff Madrick. You will see how some very greedy people have caused great have to our country. He names names but unfortunately they got away with slaps on their wrists and are now sitting on Corporate boards like Jim Johnson etc.

  • Dnadanyi

    Naomi Klein book Title? Read Blood Money. The war was about a free trade zone and oil and making money.

  • Dnadanyi

    And they are still listening to Rush talking about BIG Governmant etc and voting against their own interests. What several of my friends living in small towns see is people getting medicaid, disabled veterans getting tax fee incomes,unemployment checks etc. What they don’t see is Corporate wellfare.  What they don’t see is where the government is spending the big money like Top Secret America etc.  So they will vote against their own interests because the people they will vote for will take away their Medicare and Social Security. They don’t even consider that this is possible-HA.

  • AnneLBS

    If you move your cursor into the text box itself when it pops up, the box will stay visible until you “roll-off”. You may need to enlarge your browser window to read the whole thing. On some mice, you can also use the scrolling wheel to move up and down while that window is open. I hope this helps.

  • Dnadanyi

    There was a huge redistribution of wealth in 2008 which continues. Hedge funds bet against our stocks and won our money.  Congress also did the same. The changes in legislation like repeal of Glass Steagall and the Futures Modernization act sp ??allowed this to happen and Phil Gramm was involved in both. He is now a lobbyist for UBS -UGH. Also over the years 401 ks took the place of pensions which means that our pensions if any are our problem and not the problem of the Corporations.  This is what privatization is all about making money for Wall Street and screwing the middle-class.

  • Politics-money

    If you look at productivity, you will find that worker productivity has increased. However this gain did nothing for worker pay. All the productivity gains went somewhere else. Guess where.

  • David Nova

    this is GIGO. wrong conclusions follow from false assumptions.

    you assume govt caused all inflation since 1971. you forgot big oil. rising fuel prices raised cost of producing goods and services and transporting them to market. it’s called cost-push inflation.

    you also forgot that nixon devalued the dollar, a major contributing factor to the oil price rise as well as a psychological wound to the nation’s workers/consumers.

    then you contradict yourself by citing artificially low interest rates, which actually began when inflation fell to very low levels to counter the risk that higher interest might trigger deflation.

    also, the congressional research service released a study a couple months ago that concluded “Changes in income from capital gains and dividends were the single largest contributor to rising income inequality between 1996 and 2006. Changes in tax policy also made a significant contribution….”

    with one exception (and a maybe), your (or should i say ron paul’s?) proposed fixes would harm the economy and the people of this country. the maybe exception is means testing social security: if done right it probably wouldn’t hurt. the main exception is troops: it would help to station a lot fewer in other countries and to stay out of unnecessary wars, imperial or otherwise.

  • Politics-money

    proven with mf global.  free money for banks gambling with government backup in case they lose their bets is un-acceptable. The money game and politics with and for money has taken us so far off course from a free society, it is probably going to take another worse financial crisis to get the country back on course for real democracy.

  • Politics-money

    some are legitimate.  Their descendents only get richer with no effort. The money automatically grows after the first few hundred million.

  • Politics-money

    re-distribution has already taken place.  It was re-distributed upwards over the past 20 to 30 years. Wait for real robots, workers will start to become the present day neanderthals. that’s evolution at work. It has become survival of the richest because we voters have neglected to watch what is happening to most of the money we all created and should be able to share and use as a tool in a democratic society.

  • Politics-money

    it is admirable of you to ask.  However, I doubt you could really know. 99.9% of us would wonder and sympathize but we would never, ever give up our wealth=power willingly.  very difficult to give up the right to do whatever we want for a life of being tossed around by others you have to go to for money. Jesus or his writers explained what a rich man could do. not many ever actually do it. I don’t know of any who ever did.  there may be some. It will take a sever financial crisis to change anything at all and then only at the margins.  Making dollars compltetely worthless might be a start but many wealthy would still have european or swiss dollars. inequality such as exist now leads to civil unrest eventually.

  • David Nova

    actually, it looks like the top one percent’s incomes fell in 1993, then turned upward. maybe it was the learning curve: it took time to figure out how to gain most from stock options after clinton’s tax hike.

  • Politics-money

    I was on call many, many days, nights, and weekends too. At retirement time the corporation decided to take away the medical benefit. Then a double financial crisis hit the 401k. I still have retirement but it is vastly changed and all the while the financiers and ceos got bigger bonuses.  I am satisfied with what I have and the income I have. I would like to have more but really do not understand why anyone needs several hundred million dollars. That is greed and I admit freely to having that trait. However, we have let money worship take us too far away from equality that a real democracy should have. My opinion only of course.

  • David Nova

    may have been david stockman, raygun’s OMB chief. but notice in the graph that the effect didn’t kick into high gear till raygun’s last 2 years. maybe the 1986 tax reform raised corporate taxes enough to make the elite vote themselves big bonuses rather than let the govt get the money.

  • David Nova

    don’t forget the dollar devaluation of 1971. it’s likely much more significant than ending
    direct convertibility of dollars to gold.

  • HMcH

     I appreciate your  compliment, and I agree that it’s not easy to be the camel that made it through.  I’m not there yet, by a long shot.  I hope there’s a way to put the enlightened back in self-interest.  Gradylee is right that noblesse oblige hasn’t worked.

  • HMcH

     Now you’re sounding like my kind of partisan, Grady — a hopeless idealist!  Thanks for engaging me on the point of inherited wealth (I think they took your comment about my “gated community” off the site) — though you’re making some false assumptions about my motives and my position, I think your Jeremiad about the evils of the present system is needed, if only it could be heard.  Did you read my comment about Marxism?  I’m not yet the camel that made it through, but I am using my modest wealth (I’m not even on the  Gates/Buffet scale) in service of justice and peace, as are Gates and Buffett, it seems.  Am I due for some education here?  Where do you see this “new appreciation of necessary labor and human rights” coming from?

  • HMcH

     Oh, here it is; they edited it.  I have no underlings, and I’m not looking to be a model for everyone else, though I am out to make a difference, at least locally (affordable decent housing).  And, as you’ll see in my other response today, I’m not out to silence your voice.  But this forum may be more than a mechanism for raving and venting frustrations:  maybe we can begin to notice the assumptions we make about each other that reinforce the ideological polarization that’s killing us.  Though it may sound condescending to you, I  look forward to your response.

  • HMcH

     Interesting:  the Right idolizes a “strong national defense” — which could be seen as  a government program for keeping soldiers employed!

  • Anonymous

    Wow, great chart! I am reading Winner Take All Politics and it is a real page turner. 

  • Anonymous

    Agree, the top earners steadily climbed throughout both his terms and the bottom earners steadilt flatlined. Does he get a star for consistency?

  • Anonymous

    I have been told other americans share your beliefs but no one ever suggested they actually lived in NJ. Thanks for the info.

  • Italiano

    Sadly this country will wind up having a revolution.  It always happens when the rich get it all.  Hopefully I will not live to see the mess whill preceed the rebuilding of our society.  For example, the people elected Obama becasue we thought he was “one of us”.  The people wanted national health insurance and a single payer plan was necessary.  What we got was a law that requires us to buy insurance from the same wealthy companies that put us in the mess we are in. Obama and the Democrats have proven then are no more “for the people” than the Republicans….so sad

  • a progressive in Seattle

    In response to John D. in Branson:  There was a huge redistribution of income in the 1030s after FDR was elected.  Before that, we basically had no middle class, just the wealthy 1% and a lot of poor or near poor.  FDR and the Democratic Congress that was elected in 1932 introduced a progressive tax system where the top marginal tax rate was about 90%.  The intended consequences of this was taking money from the wealthy and using that money to start medicaid (health care for the poor), social security, unemployment insurance, and many other social and government programs aimed at helping start and keep a growing middle class.  The intended consequences of this was the most egalitarian society in our history,  years of a booming economy, lots of infrastructure development (including Eisenhower’s national highway system)  programs to help the middle class get into college (and the veterans, too) etc. etc. 

    If you were born after this rosy time in our history you don’t know how good those years were.  All you know is the 30 years we have basically had of Republican trickle down economics, which really means the top 2% take most of the money and the little that is left — the crumbs – get distributed to everyone else. 

    You can get educated about this if you watch Bill Moyers on Sunday night, and if you read to educate yourself.  The level of ignorance in our society regarding politics and economics and how the middle class has been suckered for 30 years is amazing.  And as others have said, by not learning and following our politics we had let this be done to us.  So that today, the game is almost over as the amount of money that will go into the upcoming elections will show us how the wealthy now control our society. 

  • Not Greedy

     Who was the guy that told a grade school student to put a E on the end of the word “potato”.  That same guy said the United States System of Government is the best system of governing that man has devised. When the United States has 10 times the air pollution as China and more than 50 percent of it population is obese,  Sounds to me more like a system of destruction. This is all caused from one thing market greed. If I made one million dollars a year and I paid $500,000 in taxes and gave away $300,000 to charity I would have $200,000 to live on, I ‘d be living high the hog. You see, I don’t need 5 houses a yacht a jet etc. etc. etc……. 

  • Fred Daniel

    The program was great. However, one element was overlooked as a possible cause. In 1982 the SEC changed the definition of an “Accredited Investor.” Before 1982, a small company looking for investors simply satisfied itself a prospective investor had sufficient knowledge and experience in financial and business matters to evaluate the merits of the investment and the investor was able to bear the economic risk of the investment. After 1982, a prospective investor generally had to have a net worth in excess of $1,000,000 or make at least $200,000 annually, to be deemed Accredited.
    From 1982 through today, all perspective investors not passing this test were “locked out” of private investments, unless they were company founders. (Should someone not accredited invest and lose their funds, the company would be required to repay all losses.)
    So regardless of the knowledge and experience of the prospective investor, only the richest 1% could enjoy these private investments, with their huge returns. Even today, our SEC has tightened the standard by deducting the value of the home from the net worth. And they are looking to raise the threshold, further limiting the pool of investors.  Gone are the days the middle class are able to participate in private investments. So much for government looking out for the little guy.

  • Jonathan LG

    Great program and great discussion about the enormous income redistribution towards the wealthiest 1%. It was especially illuminating in the extent to which this income redistribution was aided and abetted by government tax laws and regulations which favored the wealthy. However, I do not believe that the causes for those government policies were adequately analyzed. To say that it was caused by winner take all politics is particularly unsatisfying and un-illuminating.  Policies to favor the wealthy do not simply arise from a more devisive political system with less compromise, which I assume is the gist of winner take all politics. It appears that there was a major shift in the underlying political and economic philosophy beginning around the time of Reagan from that which existed since FDR. In particular, Reagan famously proclaimed that government was not the solution, but the problem. That combined with the free market, libertarian philosophies inspired by Ayn Rand and implemented by Alan Greenspan combined to result in a unrelenting push, primarily by the Republican Party, but also in significant degree by Democrats, to decrease the role of government in the economy. That resulted in the constant push by Republicans to lower taxes in general and to lower them on the wealthiest under the trickle down economic notion that increasing the wealth of the wealthiest would lead to more economic growth. Add to that the extreme views of libertarians adopted and imposed on Republicans by the likes of Norquist and his no tax increase pledge and we developed a constant ideological push, which was immune from economic facts, for less taxes on the wealthy and less regulations on American business. It seems that this mindset and those philosophies and myths, which overwhelmed the country and resulted in the repeal of Glass-Steagal and other financial regulations under Clinton, are responsible for both the financial meltdown of 2008 and the increasing gap in the wealth of this country. 

  • Bobby Fletcher

    Gloria – Both the NY Times and USA Today did their own independent recount of the 2000 Florida ballots.  They both agreed Bush won.  

  • Bobby Fletcher

    The real genesis of this mess was the creation of subprime lending by the Feds.  Clinton legislation mandated that Fannie and Freddie push subprime lending even into the relatively small private mortgage markets.  Fannie and Freddie own by far the vast majority of subprime loans.  But for Federal wisdom, why would a bank loan money to someone who had a low chance of paying it back?

  • Bobby Fletcher

    This analysis is economic junk science.  Where is the breakout of the top 10%?  Where is the breakout of the 90% into increments of 10% or 20%?  If we did an actual complete analysis, we would see a very different picture.  Instead, Moyers created an incomplete analysis that supports the current liberal talking points.  

    True science looks at all the data, then draws conclusions.  Junk science like this draws conclusions, then tries to make the data fit the theory.  BTW this is also how global warming (is it now called climate change?) has been created – try to make the data fit the theory.

  • HMcH

     For an opposing view, see William Nordhaus in the March 22 issue of the New York Review of Books.  Its not just liberals who psick and shape facts to fit pre-existing opinions.

  • Anonymous

    There is nothing wrong with this comparison statistically. Trying to promote your republican agenda, eh. You’ll have to be a bit slicker to pass off your Heritage Foundation bunk in the future. The republican scam is over.

  • Roy & Jan Stacey

    So?  Manage what you HAVE not what you do not have. We are just a high school graduates, and at 60 just retired.  We have no debt.  We never earned BIG money in our lives.  We managed to give away a bit, save a bit, and lived within our means.  I can not change my fellow man’s greedy instincts, but I CAN devise the best ideas for self preservation, and that includes exercising my single vote.  (It usually leans democratic, but not always).  What class are we in?  Who cares? We will live fairly well, with no anxious moments because of decent prior planning.  They didn’t teach THAT in school by the way.

    Roy & Jan in Wisconsin

  • Dnadanyi


  • Dnadanyi

    Who are you Ron Paul?

  • Dnadanyi

    Unfortunately writing to “You Lie” Wilson or “waterloo” Demint is a waste of time. My vote only counted once when I lived in VA and that was when Allen lost due to his Macaca remark. My vote for Obama probably will not count either.

  • Dnadanyi

    I worry that another election will be stolen due to the identity requirements the right is imposisng. What is really scary is the loss of votes due to foreclosures thereby no addresses. To back track-it is difficult to secure a drivers license since 9/11. They would not accept my passport in VA even though a birth certificate is necessary to get a passport.  They will not accept a birth certificate from a married woman due to name change.  So one must remember where one secured one’s marriage license in order to write to them for a copy.  This requires a computer. It took me one month to get my mother a passport because she was born at home before the bureau of vital statistics and lied about her age to her Doctors. Other people will have more daunting problems. Also the people who move to Florida who had been fellons but allowed to legally vote in their state will  lose their vote in Florida even though their vote is legal. This is how Gore lost thousands of votes.

  • Aware reader

    You lost me when you wrote ” on both sides of the isle”. If you don’t know the difference between “aisle” and “isle”, how much can you know about economics or politics?

  • Notary Public Preston

    Income inequality is an indicator that you look at along with a lot of other information. Social justice is predicated upon everyone being free and equal moral persons with basic freedoms and a system where the only inequality that is tolerated is the kind that benefits everyone, i.e., society. There’s a good case to be made for a lot of inequality to provide talented people the incentive to use their talents for everyone’s benefit. But the levels we’ve seen are too extreme for the incentive story. Other nations have been able to maintain both economic growth and shared prosperity simultaneously. 

  • Notary Public Croydon


    Here are the facts once again; in the early 1980s the top 1% of incomes
    received an 8% share of all earnings. Today, the 1% gets 20% of all
    earnings. One half of a father’s income advantage passes to his son,
    according to the President’s Report.


  • Notary Public Camden

     ou need government to balance the inequalities in US compensation and
    taxes. Even if you believe responsible companies can balance the
    inequities of income through sustainability, charity and executive
    compensation tied to worker wages, you still need government to change
    the laws about corporate governance so companies like Ben&Jerry’s
    can assure their values survive stockholders’ demands about pure profit

  • Notary Public Ealing


    I believe education and the surroundings one grows up in can make a HUGE
    difference in where they end up. I think impoverished neighborhoods may
    need some help in having better schools, but it should be a state and
    local issue not a federal one. Govt not always does good job with fund


  • Notary Public Hackney


    Credit Alan Krueger, Obama’s Chairman of the Council of Economic
    Advisors and Miles Corak, Canadian economist, and author of “Inequality
    From Generation to Generation” for the Great Gatsby Curve. It’s a curve
    that underscores the relationship between inequality and generational
    mobility. A very frightening curve  that requires policy attention.


  • Serve Over Counter

    Income Inequality is not the issue of a single country, it can seen all over the world. It India casteism and income inequality is growing rapidly.. You post on the triggers of economic inequality is  the prove of current status of our people..  

  • David

    Simplification. This graph indicates that a small portion of society has benefited more from the growth in wealth over the past decades then the larger portion of society and suggests that certain legislation has contributed, in part, to that divergence and that members of both political parties have participated.The conclusion then, is that wealth accumulation, in part, goes to the group that is in control of legislation. Not a lot of political philosophy here, but there is a lot of greed indicated.. This greed has been the cause of the end of many a government/society. So, regardless of which political party/philosophy one chooses we all  need to consider whether this trend will contribute to a sustainable society or will lead to the destruction of it. Government creates the rules of the game of success. Those rules need to apply to a very broad base of society. Lately, these new rules have been doing the opposite, making it more difficult to enter the game. The red light of danger seems to be  flashing.

  • Hmch

    Anyone taking bets on whether equity wars will end civilization before global warming ends the planet?

  • Sky Seaman

    Yes. Liberal wasn’t destroyed because it didn’t work, it was destroyed because it did work. And worked for the vast majority. It’s taken a concerted effort on the part of the wealthy right to destroy it and often was done with clever slogans: Governments the problem not the solution. On and on with little slogans one doesn’t need to understand Keynesian economics to understand. We are now so screwed.

  • Alberta C Hill

    This is why we cannot have Romney in office. The next president has the opportunity to set the Supreme Court majority for the next 10 to 20 years. A liberal court will protect our rights, and hopefully overturn Citizens United.

  • George Bailey

    If people take the time to read and consider the Powell Memo, then the last forty years of increasing greed and manipulation of truth starts to make more sense. The rise of Fox News and corporate media, the degradation of public school systems, the blatant disloyalty of political classes to the people they are supposed to represent, the realignment of the Rule of Law, endless militarization of the police, exaltation of the banalities of Ayn Rand (that one is so hard to swallow), the fervent embrace of globalization, stupid and unnecessary wars for poor people to die in (while the armaments industry profits), promotion of racism, all of it to choke the simple idea that somehow remains constant in the soul of the majority of citizens that yes, we are all in this thing called life together, I am my brother’s and sister’s keeper, truth matters, and it is moral, decent and good to follow such a path. We are manipulated and led by what psychiatry labels sociopaths and a sociopathic interpretation of free enterprise that says greed is good. And to maintain its hold, we are bombarded constantly and invasively with advertisements and want for things we don’t need and encouraged to live a meaningless life to enrich a narcissistic and soulless “elite”. Is it any wonder that this ignorance and yes, evil, is so desperate and shrill as to actually bankrupt the Republic (and exhaust the Earth) rather than consider reformation? Thank you Bill Moyers for continuing the fight for knowledge and truth. (Is it any wonder that you, PBS and Big Bird are all targets for Day 1 of a Romney administration? They can’t stand actual decent humanity, it makes them look bad!)

  • George Bailey

    I feel your pain! The information is there, but you’d have to turn off the TV and actually read about history, economics and work your way to truth. And with the power of amusing ourselves to death, people no longer seem to have the capacity to do that! Our best educated also read books, figure out how corrupt the world is, then just ignore morality and compassion, embrace Ayn Rand to assuage their conscience, and use the corrupt system to enrich themselves! It’s madness and makes life meaningless if you happen to think and feel. And people don’t want to know, that’s the real kicker.

  • Doug

    The part I love is when the 1% cries “class warfare” whenever anyone suggests raising their taxes, and they’ve wreaked class warfare on the middle-class for decades. I can picture them rolling on the floor laughing afterwards. The sheer audacity and cynicism of it is breath-taking.

  • Imani Burrell

    That will be the only party willing to take up the cause, so we better get them in and then start putting pressure on them to act.

  • Imani Burrell


  • Janet Harrington Shapiro

    Kill Citizens United the downfall of democracy and the buyout of many of our Reps. It is simply greed exactly what brought our nation to its knees. Help put integrity back into running our government and get things accomplished,

  • Conserve

    Watch Mr. Burn’s “Dust Bowl” documentary on PBS the weekend before Thanksgiving!

  • Ron Kockler

    And yet over half of the US population thinks that the current Republican candidate for president, the guy who doesn’t want to be punished for being “successful”, will take the country in a better direction. One of us needs to figure out a way to wake up the American electorate, half of the bottom 90%, which doesn’t seem to get this, if anything is ever going to change. Does anyone know who that might be?

  • Lindi

    Obama didn’t start two wars and spend the rest of his term lowering taxes for the rich! Obama doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of dead people weighting down his soul. Morally Obama is heads above both G W Bush and Romney.

  • Lindi

    Republicans are the fatal problem! Bush lied and got us into the war in Iraq. He also got us entrenched in Afghanistan where no foreign army has won since 323 b.c. He also had a lot to do with crashing the economy in 2008 and then he just passed the whole ugly mess to Obama. After all that you have the nerve to say Republican can solve our problems? Oh, and lets not forget how they obstructed the legislature for the past four year so that our country was ground to a halt and valuable recovery time and money went unused. Republicans are a scourge upon the earth–the 11th plague from God! Perhaps he wants to smite us all via the Republicans!

  • Lindi

    Constitutional Amendment from the demos?

  • cookiebaker

    Have you sent this to any major media groups?

  • Grant

    For tax purposes corporations may be “persons” but they cannot vote and therefore cannot be counted “persons” for political purposes. The Supreme Court has made a grave and destructive mistake here.

  • Don Fisher

    Your arguments are precisely those that the super rich, the uber wealthy, send their agents out to spread… “please be fair with us.” And it’s a crock.

    Your opening comment, to call someone a liar, set the tone for what you really are … a liar who uses the tactic of calling others a liar first to distract and redirect away from your lies that inveriably are going to follow.

    The GD most certainly was not over, or even winding down when I was born.

    And without The New Deal we would have had a work force available to pursue WWII and win.

    The years of the Great Depression 1929–1939. The years of The New Deal … Interesting the view of us the Brits had, eh? .

  • Don Fisher

    LOL…. and you aren’t writing this in German or Japanese, I notice.

  • Grant
  • moneyisnottheobject

    I am not a numbers person – but this certainly lumps 90% of people -into one tiny box – and the wealthiest arent even averaging out to be millionaires? and are droppingin their average – and just 1% – what figure does the 9% come out to be? 29 years of farming, 18 of clergy and my income has gone up and down, based on the price of impliments versus crops – milk, hay, corn, oats – and the whims of parish committees my income has gone up steadily over the years as did the price of items necessary for life – but not business – they seem to have skyrocketed in farming, but gone down in the business world – technology that is. I have one daughter working as a medical care provider and 3 indendent business men – all of them are just getting by and all work more than they should – schooling has also skyrocketed. I think these figures cannot clearly depict much of anything as of the top 4% so few are not even millionaires – so how many billionaires can we tax to pay for everything we need!

  • Heather Gray

    red herring comment of the day

  • Barbara Curtis

    Our democratic process and accountability has left the house. This should of been posted on the Whitehouse and Congress bulletin board everyday instead of the debt talley as a reminder who is suffering in this nation and that includes our children.

  • Canoeguy46

    so this is good for the economy how…. and how does this supposedly create more jobs?

  • Michael Cruise

    National pride and loyalty is for the peasant class. The United States, circa-1980s to present, is a nation that has morphed into one that places commerce and individual capitalism above all else, including country and fellow American. This is a product of center-right policies coming to fruition and we’re almost at the point of no return. The privatization of the world’s fresh water sources will be what ultimately breaks the camel’s back. It will be too late at that point.

    Speak now or forever hold your peace.

  • Michael Cruise

    If war were the answer, the middle class would be thriving at levels not before seen. In truth, what made WWII unique was that the country had not fallen into the clasp of vulture, crony capitalism yet and it was a time when the needs of the country were put first and all citizens sacrificed for the greater good. The United States has not experienced that since WWII. We don’t even pay for the wars we wage anymore; rather, we put them on the charge card for later generations to deal with and forget the sacrifice that was once expected at times of war in the way of tax increases. No, no. The great GOP machine lulled Americans into the belief that they could have their cake and eat it too.

    How ya liking that cake now, America?

  • Michael Cruise

    Wow, are you ever simple.

  • Michael Cruise

    The difference between the two parties is that given the opportunity and minus the influence of dark money, the vast majority of Democrats actually want to do the work of the people as a priority. The same cannot be said for Republicans.

  • Timothy Ray

    Both the New Deal and WWII provided abundant proof that John Maynard Keynes was right in advising FDR not to follow the scrimp and save approach of well intended Herbert Hoover, but to invest mightily in our economy to enable the poor to have wages to spend on necessities, thus funding small and large businesses to hire workers to service the customers, who will, in turn, continue to rev up the economy. University of Massachusetts at Amherst recently published online their research showing that civilian investments create jobs at an almost incredibly faster rate than “defense” spending. People who can read and think can understand that investment in a weak economy makes the wheels of commerce and industry spin. Understanding that war wastes trillions enables us to see that new solar panels and wind turbines turn hundreds of thousands into hundreds of billions. Coal and fracked oil and gas rob the earth and poison we who live on it and those to come. Waste from Nukes poisons the earth for 100 million years and puts us all in danger of darkness when solar pulses affect the earth’s magnetic field.

  • proletariate

    notice: nobody cares.

  • Anonymous

    You see that big lurch upwards in approximately 1988, that is just about when I realized the insurance companies were taking over the health-care system.

  • Nicholas Ventimiglia

    I wish they parsed the information a little more. This chart fail’s because it commingles the plebeians with the slaves.

  • Anonymous

    Inequality at the federal level is assured as long as over 20% of the population are disenfranchised, the senate and electoral college are in place, and the oversize congressional districts are in place (compared to the electoral quotient of 1789 of approximately 46,000).

  • Larry Beaird

    VOTE!!!! watch your elections and vote for candidates who support the middle class!!

  • Larry Beaird


  • Margaret Cone

    Yes, we are now all

  • Carol Mickelsen

    We really aren’t given many choices – the candidates are pre-selected for us. They are all part of the same big family. Did you know that all the past presidents are related by blood to British Royalty?

  • jackie

    The candidates are all beholding to corporations so none of them are going to help the middle class. We have to get corporate money out of the equation to have politicians that will do the right thing. Maybe a major rebellion in the streets like Egypt is what America needs.

  • CByte

    Don’t forget that the law against insider trading doesn’t apply to our representatives!!!

  • Barry Bingham

    That is exactly the problem. At least not nearly enough.

  • Denny Wise

    Yet these bottom earners tend to vote against their own best interests, almost every time.

  • johnny mars

    It’s the worst gubment money can buy, in the District of Corruption.

  • jdm30

    It’s changing, and you do have a great many choices, most people just don’t take the time to find out who’s on their ballot below the President. Is unregulated money in campaign politics a problem? Yes. But a great deal of what affects you every day happens at the state and local level, yet those are elections in which the fewest actually vote. The stats are there. I work in campaign politics, I see it all the time. It’s getting better, but people have to register, learn about all candidate from President to County Auditor.

  • Anonymous

    American freedom is what made this country great. The definition of the Great American Economy is simple. Informed consumers choose better products at lower prices. Not possible in: health care, finance, oil/gas, telecommunications, food (gmo).

    Since 1 cent at the gas pump = 1.4 billion dollars each year, that major headwind for the economy. like wise 300% increase in food costs in 2000-2010. Where the F, is the real Consumer price Index? It always excludes the ‘gamed’ or stated ‘volitile’ housing, food, air, water, energy, healthcare, education components. But includes cement and silicone diodes?

    Government needs to produce a couple of new indices for our economy. 1. Jobs * average pay. 2. Real cost of products.

    For example nuclear waste isn’t calculated in nuclear electricity production. Plastic production doesn’t include recovering the 10 billion pounds of it floating in the Pacific Ocean. Why? Who’s going to clean up after petro-plastics industry? The same lower 90%? Better score that into the value of their pay.

  • Anonymous

    Supposedly, Mr. Obama was gonna help the middle class. He continued to finish the bailout Bush started, gve everything to Wallstreet while Mainstreet got foreclosed upon and all the jobs he’s created are part time or low paying Walmart jobs.

  • Daniel Dannen

    “…the wealthiest arent even averaging out to be millionaires?” What are you talking about? The word “millionaire” means one’s net wealth is at least a million dollars. The above chart deals with ANNUAL INCOME, not net wealth. Furthermore, the very rich get most of their money from capital gains and not income, and capital gains aren’t included in that chart.

  • bob

    Get out of the country while you still can, once the revolution occurs you will see gun related deaths at rates never seen before in the world.. something that couldn’t happen in Europe, Australia or any properly developed nation where guns are largely illegal. The US is truly a third-world country but many are just too blind to see it… yet.

  • Anonymous

    ….”True patriotism…”Hates Injustice in it’s own land; “More….than anywhere else.”
    —Clarence Darrow

  • Lori

    Yes, and vote at the state and local levels! Because that’s where the heart of the action is – it’s not all about the presidential election. People show up once every 4 years and think that’s enough. It’s not. Grover Norquist said it very plainly – the future and focus of the GOP agenda does not lie within winning at the federal level.

  • Anonymous

    They (the 1%) bought the media, the political and academic class and have always had the spooks, the military-industrial complex and the financial system. Somehow, I think our oligarchs and sociopaths were inspired by the crony gangster capitalism that emerged from the collapse of communism in Russia and China. They realized there would never be a revolution at home and there was nothing stopping them from implementing such a regime for themselves and their strange children. How 99% of American citizens became so complacent and supportive in their own demise is bewildering. We are such strange apes.

  • Lydia

    Bill Moyers for President?

  • Annoyed with the “system”

    So long as you (and I) own shares or mutual funds we are all complicit in this. The corporate system is set up to earn money for the shareholder. CEOs and upper management are doing what they are supposed to do: get a return on an investment and compensate those who make it thus. Sadly, a part of this process has become the purchasing of politicians. There is a separation of church and state. Can their be a separation of corporations and state? What needs to be discussed is this perverse incentive to invest for a retirement, which simultaneously rewards bad behavior of corporations: buying politicians, offshoring jobs, gutting environmental rules,… To paraphrase: when you look into the darkness you might see yourself looking back.

  • Anonymous

    Call me a cock-eyed optimist, (gently please) but I keep thinking that10 billion pounds of plastics floating in the ocean can be used to produce roads that don’t heave in the cold or playgrounds or something that makes it a free treasure trove to harvest.
    Electric cars initially got the jump on gasoline engines, but, I believe, were killed by the oil companies who bought up patents on batteries for generations, thus locking the market and demanding the right to pollute.
    My deepest concern is the loss of our democracy. We elect stooges of corporations. To add insult to injury, the stooges voted themselves Golden Fleece pays, expense accounts, health care, and retirement packages, but would end ours in a heartbeat. The vote against the people and for corporations.
    “Less government” really translates, “Run rampant Corporations”!
    If we elect one bright, honest one (Sen Warren) she can write bills that would right our government, but can not get any decent legislation through because she is so out numbered by the stooges.
    Our government has been bought out under us. When I said that we should “take back America” up popped the tea party that is a version of extreme republicans! It just gets worse, not better.

  • Anonymous

    Could have something to do with the fact that the government also made a conscious decision to increase the population of the country by 50% (adding 100M people through immigration alone since 1970). When you increase the population 50% without increasing the amount of work/opportunity by 50% , while simultaneously going through a period of productivity increases gleaned from technological innovation and automation that reduces the reliance on manual labor, then labor will devalue. Another effect is the one of kicking women out of the home into the workforce, which gave business two employees for much less than 2x the cost. As we all know, the top 1% is the capitalist class, not the working class. The efficiency gains and boosts in productivity are always going to go to the forces that unleashed and/or deployed the tools, not to the workforce that was made redundant by them. That is a natural effect, not necessarily an engineered effect.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, Romney tried to sell himself as someone good for the nation. He helped a couple of families from his church. Of course, he didn’t mention the thousands he put out of work, offshored their jobs, and to add insult to injury, he stole their pension funds! Actually he had the company borrow their pension funds, pay him, then declared the company bankrupt, and since he didn’t actually “borrow” the money, the now bankrupt company borrowed the money, it was gone and decent people stripped naked. They LIE!

  • Anonymous

    Where does it say that cap gain income is not included in that chart?

    You said, “Furthermore, the very rich get most of their money from capital gains and not income”. You think cap gains are not income? The IRS begs to differ.

  • Anonymous

    Corporate personhood is over 100 years old. The Supreme Court didn’t make any mistake. Look, surely you want your special interest groups to be able to raise funds for lobbying, don’t you? That’s all this is (assume that you are talking about the Citizens United decision).

  • Anonymous

    The poorest of the poor in this country spend an average of 9% of their income on lottery tickets.

  • Anonymous

    I think they could run elections without so much money. The candidates could set up web site. Party web sites could direct people to the candidates, people could review their platforms. TV debates are free, unlike costly ads. Besides if you are in a swing state you get ill from all the hate ads.
    The electoral college is out of date. It should be one person, one vote. That is what should be tallied, not the state’s electoral votes. Then everyone’s vote would be equal.

  • Anonymous

    Of all the people living in poverty, the largest group are children.

  • Peter Schneider

    It’s their only chance to obtain the great wealth they dream of. They aren’t gonna be finding cancer cures…

  • Cheryl Stewart

    this is an interesting perspective that I have thought about. We are essentially “locked” into the system “they” created. We have no other viable options. My TSA is not even FDIC insured. Wait til the last of the baby boomers retire…there is only a 2:1 support system…and retirement funds fail as corps declare bankruptcy to avoid paying or admitting they took the $$ and put it all offshore in their private accounts

  • Cheryl Stewart

    Looking at the Michigan mess….how is it that the bottom 20% pay a higher tax than the top 1%?? and they wonder how it all happened.

  • Stephen Perkins


  • cheekybroad

    What’s 9% of 320.00 a week come to anyway? Oh yeah, I forgot…first we have to take out 80.00 for taxes…so that brings their take home to 240.00 a week. 9% of that comes to 21.00. Wheeeeeee! If that’s all I had I would be desperately buying lotto tickets too. Where did your last $21.00 go, JSebastian?

  • Fed Up

    Vote intelligently! Research who is for the middle class and who “says” they are for the middle class. Find out what your governor decided to do with the Medicare extension and how much charter schools are earning for the owners. Do they really get better results? Tony Bennett said his did in Indiana, but he changed the grading system to make it happen.

  • Andrew

    Except that the unleashing came from a concerted effort to remove regulations designed to protect workers at home – the capitalist class as you call them, used to have incentives to re-invest based on the tax code – Supply side tenants state that the more wealth the wealthiest people save – the more will trickle down. And that worked about as well as it sounds. Of course one could argue that it is natural for business to drive labor costs down as low as possible. and it is natural. When looking at the economy as a whole though, a tax code that benefits employers with higher wage costs is better for the whole economy. Without these safeguards the bottom wage for jobs falls well below the poverty line – individual companies cannot make the decision easily to pay more, especially corporations even though economically it is better in the long run, short term gains win out. This is what has forced our economy to require two working adults to earn what one adult would earn in the past. – Also there is a globalization and technological advancement movement that makes it nearly impossible for a high school educated person to earn what they could have earned in the past in manufacturing. And the capitalist class wants to get rid of public education. – not necessarily an engineered effect?

  • Cathy S

    How is that possible given that there are only 38 million first generation immigrants in the country overall? Where did those other 70 million immigrants go? Did they all return home? Have they all died? You figures are not only wrong they do not make any sense. The only reason that immigrants have brought down wages in some sectors like the restaurant industry, agriculture or poultry farming is that we have closed off opportunities for legal immigration and even immigrants with legal papers can lose them if they lose their jobs. Undocumented immigrants and immigrants fearful of losing their work visas cannot demand legal immigrant wages. They have to accept wages that leave them in utter poverty despite long hours. Because employers can exploit immigrants fearful of losing their green cards or of being deported they will not pay anyone legal wages. The minimum wage has not been raised in 40 years and has decreased by about 70 percent in real term during that time. The earned income tax credit and food stamps have been was used to keep workers that are not paid a living wage from starving, but the republicans have cut that too. Meanwhile they have as the graphic shows cut taxes for the wealthiest 1 percent over and over. The billionaires who used public infrastructure plus public schools etc to make their money (although most inherited it) refuse to pay any taxes, and refuse to pay workers minimum wage. Workers at the low end pay the highest percent of their income in taxes.

  • destroyideas

    Those $5 they spent out of their $50 income isn’t going to make them wealthy.

  • Anonymous

    Bought a confederate flag bumper sticker, and an “Insured by Smith and Wesson” window decal.

  • moderator

    Please read our comment policy before commenting. Also, please do your best to avoid personal attacks and spurious claims.

    Thank You,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • destroyideas

    Your math is really bad if you think immigration added 50% to the population. From 1986, the number of immigrants total was 26,147,963, and that was after HW Bush increased the amount of immigrants by 40%. We’ve had over 118 million births since then. In he population growth in that time, 18% was through immigration.

    You’re also not doing the math if you think a (fictitious) 50% increase in immigration is comparable to a growth in the economy.

    It appears you’ve gotten your 50% increase as the TOTAL population growth from 1970-2010 (adding 105,443,507). So your entire basis is a lie to begin with that the entire population growth since then, with the exception of 5 million, came through immigration. The population did increase from 1970 to 2010 (census years) by 52%. So your blaming immigrants is completely foolish.

    In that same time span the real GDP growth of the nation was 210% (inflation-adjusted). In that same time the number of employed increased by 43%.

    As for also blaming women, that’s also pretty ridiculous. For one thing, an employee costs the same regardless of the number of paychecks a household has. For another, the percentage of women in the workplace has has increased by all of 16% from 1970 – 2009.

    Gains in productivity certainly are a factor, but why should those gains in productivity benefit the capitalists and not the laborers?

  • Anonymous

    JSebastian: Could you site your reference for this statistic? Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, no separation of corporations and state is possible after “Citizens United.” Corporations are now people and have a right to spend and lobby pretty much as they see fit. Unsettling to think of middle class retirement goals as supporting the very business strategies that undermine the middle class.

  • Barry Bingham

    The extreme leftist ideas don’t work and neither does the extreme right. All the policies and solutions that will make the middle class strong are oddly enough in the middle and incorporate the best ideas from both sides of the aisle. Rather than trying to elect a majority of moderates to congress which would prove daunting at best we should instead focus on electing a true leader as president who will work to bring out the best in congress and not continually “protect the turf” of his/her own party which only continues the tug of war between far left and far right politics with the bottom 90 (certainly the middle) losing a lot more with each successive swing. Both parties say they are for the middle class but the fact is that neither are for the middle class when they are left to run amuck. I will close by saying that what we are seeing in Washington and what we have been seeing for quite some time is the result of nothing more than poor leadership. This congress as well as all the ones before for several years now have the necessary tools to make good decisions benefitting the majority of the poor fools who elected them. What we have been missing has been and continues to be effective leadership.

  • tmcg

    did Reagan’s acceptance of unfettered imports from China, Korea, etc. in deciding not to punish Korea when the shoe mfg’s in Maine proved their dumping charges in about 1986, saying at the time, if Asian governments want to wear out their citizens making inexpensive
    shoes for American consumers I’m not going to punish millions of US consumers to save a few hundred jobs i’m not going to stop them.

  • Tourville

    Uhmmmm .. Mr.Moyer ..

    G.H.W.BUSH penned the gutting out of our Nations Manufacturing Base .. Bill Clinton signed this into Law using ‘ work around the Constitution Legalese ‘ .. because it was Illegal under the Constitution for Government to actively seek to Unemploy the Nation’s Workforce on behalf of Business Owners seeking to use other Nation Workforces instead .. thus De Funding our Nation’s Workforce, De Funding our own Government & De Funding our Government Programs.

    WTO-NAFTA : 2001-2011 America lost nearly 50,000 FACTORIES .. and all the support businesses for those Enterprises via a ‘ Stab In The Back ‘ by our Elected .. who knew which U.S.Corps would be OFF SHORING FACTORIES .. & used INSIDER TRADING to become stupidly wealthy.

    Our Government currently uses TAX PAYER FUNDS to support moving U.S.Business abroad & TAX PAYER FUNDS to pay ANY Taxes that the ‘ Host Nation ‘ levies on the U.S.Corporation.

    Most ALL earned Income – Sales Taxes from Overseas Sales goes to The CAYMAN ISLAND TAX AVOIDANCE ACCOUNTS .. enabled by our Congress_Senate Approvals & Never Sees Our Nations Shores – which is one reason we can’t repair our own Roads & Bridges without asking CHINA for a LOAN.

    Now Barack Obama is SECRETLY NEGOTIATING WITH ASIAN NATIONS .. ‘ TPP .. and words leaked from The White House hold

    ‘ .. the VIETNAMESE will produce U.S.Manufacturing cheaper than the CHINESE do .. ‘ – and we know how that WTO_NAFTA

    scam played out for the USA .. now with GROWING & UNSOLVABLE UNEMPLOYMENT the worst in our Nations History.

    And the Government .. via a ‘ Reputable untraceable Outside Source ‘ is ‘ REWRITING ECONOMIC HISTORY Since 1929 ‘ – in an attempt to cover up the Treason against the Economic Stability & Security of Our Nation:

  • Crystal

    The love of money is the root of all evil. I recently read a study about how rude and uncaring most wealthy people are. Do they think that all the 1s and 0s in their offshore accounts make them better than everyone else? Or are they afraid? Money started out as a medium of exchange. Maybe we need to go back to seashells? At least you can’t bank them.

  • useless eater

    When was the last time we ANYBODY from the “extreme left” in Congress?

  • useless eater

    Do you think that has to with the reason they are poor? Or may be an indication of their limited options to rise beyond poverty?

  • useless eater

    oops. Sorry. That was for JSebastian.

  • Ernie Webb

    no its not the love of money, its the greed of it …

  • Scott Belen

    surprise, surprise…. greed in it self is a religion, without morals…..

  • oli didn’t mention that one in your article did you!

  • retrogrouch

    Its missing the dismantling of tariffs. Our trade policy was once about protecting American jobs. That was dismantled to maximize corporate profits. The roll down of tariffs, and incentives for over seas production are an important part of this.

  • retrogrouch

    Strange to say Perot was right.

  • retrogrouch

    W started as an agricultural society, and then grew into a manufacturing economy, then to a services economy, and today financial services is our largest percentage of GDP. It does not produce goods or jobs. So it creates nothing for the 99%, but lots for the .01%.

  • Josh Bare

    you cannot have a sovereign economy w/o jobs for the middle class. the middle class is the engine that drives the machine. the wealthy know this, so why do they continue the assault on us? because we’ll be just as useful to them as slave labor. and the more poor people who die, the better – less of their money going out.

    the dow can climb to 30,000,000 and all that means is that more of the wealth is concentrated into Wall St. the higher that number goes, the worse it is for the rest of us, yet people think this magical smoke screen is our savior.

    we live in a corporate oligarchy and the two-party system is wholly owned by the same status quo, which is why our illusion of choice is always a lesser of two evils. in this case, no matter who you vote for we are truly “damned if we do, and damned if we don’t.”

    Obama is Bush 2.0 and carries out the same policies, and in many cases, even more extreme versions of them. at some point we will revolt, which is why the paramilitarization of the police departments, the practice of martial law, and all the spying.

  • John Bailo

    This is irrelevant.

    Many of the rich got that way not through innovation, but by Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. The real work, building the Internet, was done by the end of the 1970s. That work was funded by American taxpayers. Much of the modern fortunes are from people “free riding” on top of intellectual property that was built long before they formed their enterprises.

    What will create a new round of broad based wealth is a time of experimentation, business formation, real scientific progress and technological breakthroughs that cannot be corralled by one man or system.

  • Ted

    Where is the other 8%?

  • Ted

    Er … make that 9%!

  • Anonymous

    So, take about 10 billion from the 10% and redistribute it to the bottom 90% and charge them back for the food stamps and Medicaid they would not have been eligible and we can start out equal again except that they all have to switch residences and schools. Problem solved, for now, anyway.

  • Janet C. Macfarlane

    Not pretty…such a boring dirty lime green line for the bottom 90%! To suggest politicians are whoring for $$$$$$$$$$, insults the women & men laboring in the world’s oldest profession! Funny, I’d have thought graft & greed would have been ahead of prostitution. I’m so naive!

  • bmiller

    Well, greed also is just a symptom. When people have lost touch with their community and their own humanity, they no longer know what’s important or what they truly need. Then nothing is ever enough.

    Money could actually work if it were treated as what it really is – a public utility that you can use (to facilitate exchange) but not own. The evil part is the profit and interest, which will always lead to inequity and instability.

  • Anonymous

    The importance of money in elections would be reduced if my proposed changes were implemented, as there would be fewer people per electoral district.

  • Faj Mahal

    “How 99% of American citizens became so complacent and supportive in their own demise is bewildering. We are such strange apes.” Daily I shake my head with this thought. Remember “Joe the plumber?” I just could not comprehend why people like himself were so willing to support a party that was actively undermining his well being. Mind you, the other party has not shined all that well either.

  • Faj Mahal

    Remember that the FBI has already actively worked along side bank employees to undermine the Occupy Wall Street movement ( I expect that a major rebellion like Egypt might bring out the military and national guard in some form and we would soon be labeled as terrorists on all the major news outlets who are owned by whom? I am not suggesting that we not protest. Instead, I am suggesting that we understand the ramifications of the choice.

  • Faj Mahal

    “Did you know that all the past presidents are related by blood to British Royalty?” Good one. LOL

  • mason

    I like you have no regard what is actually true, you only care about inventing a reality that suits your ideology.

  • Anonymous

    Look it up in the BLS statistics. The economy grew more under 12 years of FDR than under all of the Republican presidents of the last century combined. That is about 190% under FDR after adjusting for inflation compared with between 115% to 145% for 48 years of republicans depending on which month you use for inflation adjustments.

    Or, to bring another perspective, there has never been a time in our country’s history when Republican dominance was stronger than it was after the 1920 election. Of house, senate, and presidency, they held all three decisively for 10 years and held two of the three with a tie in the third from 1931-1933 Jan. The net result of this was between 2 and 10% growth for 12 years combined.

    For comparison, there has never been a time in history when Democrats held control more decisively than 1933-1945. The end result of this period was 10% growth *per year*.

    Again, not my numbers. You can download them and check yourself.

  • Troy Zukowski

    It is easy to look for scapegoats. What if the current economic inequality just happened because of globalism? Maybe it was nobody’s fault? Of course, some in the super-rich category have gamed the system to their advantage. Others were sma…rt and invested wisely. Many were just lucky and along for the ride. That is the story of human history back to Adam and Eve.

    Ronald Reagan is usually blamed as the trigger for inequality. I didn’t vote for The Gipper and wore a black armband to college the day after the 1984 election. Yet, I must now say that Reagan was a great president. He won easily twice. He ended the Cold War peacefully. His tax policies and spending (yes, he was a tax and spender) led to seven fat years of economic growth. The country was stable.

    George H.W. Bush’s tax increases and spending caps helped lay the foundation for the economic growth explosion that Bill Clinton handled so masterfully. Things were rolling along well until the election of 2000. Historians years from now will identify that disputed election as a real break (negative) point in the chronicles of America.

    Our country would look much different today had Al Gore and not George W. Bush become President. There probably would not have been a 9/11. There would have been no Iraq War to distort the world economy. We would be miles further along the road in terms of a green economy. Gore also had creative plans to shore-up Social Security and Medicare.

    As I have become older, I am still as opinionated as ever. However, I can now view things more objectively and am not afraid to call Ronald Reagan a great President. I have grown tired with brainless, knee-jerk partisanship. I don’t like pat answers. I want insightful analyses.

    Yet, I won’t wimp-out and call myself an independent. The Democrats are really the only current game for me in town. But, in an ideal world I would consider myself a Whig.

  • Patti S

    Reagan did start the “deregulation” down-slide, which contributed largely to the beginning of the redistribution of wealth. He broke unions (flight controllers strike), another contributing factor. Mostly, the deregulation, allowing large businesses to gobble up smaller ones until – What?? – That’s right, they’re too big to fall. He was not a great president. He was a man too old for the job, most likely already suffering from Alzheimer Disease, and being led around by the neo-cons surrounding him. The only thing he had a knack for was throwing out one-liners with a flair. He was just a helluva good actor, not a great president.

  • tom f

    what the middle class has is the greatest.Don’t pay your bills and don’t go to work like they do in europe.then they too will not have and income.maybe then they’ll open up their purses and share the wealth.

  • RocketRick

    Troy – I find your comments particularly insightful ( I am a fiscal conservative/socially liberal baby boomer who tends to vote Republican.) George W. Bush was a disaster on most fronts, although I’m not certain you can say 9-11 may not have happened if Gore had become president. Both were basically incompetent for the job. Lastly, despite his intelligence, we will find that sixteen years of terrible leadership beginning in 2000 have forever doomed the country to suffer the fate of ancient Rome, Greece, England, and other advanced civilizations. As a Baby Boomer, I think our generation will have proven to be the biggest “bust” generation in the country’s history.

  • George Kosta

    It is amazing that incomes are so low, a lot of them are what I made for the same job 15yrs ago. My take is….companies started having widgets made in china which would cost us less t buy so we didn’t need to be payed as much to survive and thus could pay us less for our work here in the US. Thus, they make a bigger profit in the process. I think a lot of people think badly of unions, but they brought good pay, rights and safety to the workplace. We don’t want to support them now as we want to buy cheap goods at Walmart since we don’t make much so the unions are shrinking. We are now getting what we paid for and quit supporting them in the once greatest industrial nation in the world.

  • Anonymous

    Someone, make this into a bumper sticker and paste it to walls in train stations and make t-shirts. Its the most powerful measure that we can show to former middle income families to remind them over and over till it becomes part of everyday conversation. If you show people pictures of hungry children, they can equivocate thinking ‘well those families did not try hard enough’ but you can’t argue with US Census data. We need to puit it front of their face everyday.

  • Anonymous

    Reagan was the worst President this side of Hoover. Reagan is responsible for the quick slide into the corporate state. there are just so many bad things Reagan endorsed, stood for or pushed, to hear anyone say anything much good about this evil spawn of Republican Mass Marketing is a sign of the dumbing down of America. it is so laughable to hear any praise of what Reagan stood for. and mostly disheartening to see the propaganda Reagan pushed has worked so well to hide the truly despicable things the Reagan Revolution did to the country once known as America. i could go on but there is no point in such things. once minds are made up, there is little hope in using “facts” to change one’s opinions. like the saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink,” is the one i cite here as the “illusions” Reagan helped foster on Americans, with their willing consent, i might add.

    and by the way i voted for St. Reagan once. then i learned who and what Reagan was. sometimes, learning the hard way is the only way.

  • Anonymous

    How many of you work at corporations that max out at 3% for a raise…..unless you’re in the top bracket. There you can get 20-80% raises every year.

  • Anonymous

    LOL, easy (and stupid) answer. No, We raise taxes where they used to be. Let the rich pay the same rates that the rest of us do. Raise taxes on corporations back to what they were 30 years ago. 37%. Lower taxes on the middle class. You will see the same boom in the economy that we had then. It’s isn’t about who was good or not. it’s about the practice of giving the rich every break and handing the bill to the middle class. Stephen, when you stop throwing out one liners and start studying, you’ll see we were duped. Republicans have been trying to get “trickledown” through for 80 years. They finally got it and the reduced the middle class and redistributed 10% of the wealthiest nation in history to the top 2%, while giving themselves every tax break they could.

    That needs to be corrected. People like you need to stop talking for a while and go read.

  • Bill

    Does this prove it takes money to make money?

  • Lynn Allen

    Our debt to China is just another reason to raise taxes on the wealthy and the corporations who are outsourcing to China and making a mint. We would have to borrow less from the very country that makes the cheap crap we have grown so accustomed to and which has made the 1% even more wealthy. Take the money the 1% makes from employing the Chinese at $1 a day (rather than employ an American at $12 a day) and put it back into our own system in the form of infrastructure jobs, teachers, police, fire fighters, and military contracts. Either than or raise tariffs on that cheap Chinese crap they import and sell for inflated prices.

  • methinks

    yes rocketrick except that the Clinton administration warned the incoming Bush admin that Al-Qaida was the biggest threat facing the nations. They were ignored.

  • methinks

    yes and that dismantling cumulated with Reagan.

  • methinks

    they believe that because we have less we are less.

  • methinks

    define extreme leftist ideas. if you mean supporting the right of workers to organize and bargain for a fair wage you should note that the fall of unions directly coincides with the fall of the middle class. I you mean the social safety net like social security, you should note that before SS 60% of seniors lived in extreme poverty, now the number is 10%. If you are talking about equal rights and equal pay for women then you should know that a well educated empowered female population are among the richest societies on earth.
    I really would like to know what you mean by extreme leftist ideas?

  • methinks

    well, there’s Bernie Sanders in the Senate, he calls himself a socialist but all his ideas are about the people. There was Dennis Kucinich but he was redistricted out of his congressional seat in the last election. There’s Maxine Waters from Houston, she’s mostly liberal and there’s Barbara Lee from California. There are a few, but not enough to make a difference

  • Anonymous

    You can call Reagan a great President – that does not make it so. The reason he is often pointed to as a source of inequality is, quite clearly, when measures of inequality began to explode (read Jeffrey Sachs, Joseph Stiglitz, etc.). It’s the data that is a reflection of his policy not a reflection of the man at all. It’s the policy that history has demonstrated that failed. It is policy that numerous times has now been shown to have failed. e.g. ‘dont’ tax the job creators’ well, doing so does not hurt economic growth and development, ‘trickle down economics’ we know, for certain, does not work (at least if one adheres to the ideals of opportunity for all) etc.

    Absent “brainless, knee-jerk partisanship” it is quite clear Reagan ushered in an era that stimulated inequality and that analysis is quite clear when one steps away from, something we agree is a disease, ‘partisanship’. Individuals unwilling to lay blame on failed philosophies, ideologies, economic ldeals, because of adherence to partisanship are, quite literally, destroying our country whether they sit on the right or the left.

    I might add, there is considerable evidence to suggest that ‘winning the cold war’ was nothing more than ‘right place right time’. Similarly, Bill Clinton gets tons of credit for an amazing economy but he was President during the tech. boom (which he did not create).

  • David

    There is an interesting short story by the Russian writer Anton Chekhov, entitled the Bet. A greedy lawyer learns what really matters in life. Also, Leo Tolstoy’s How Much Land does a man Need?. Turns out, all we need is six feet.

  • Anonymous

    No, Reagan was NOT a great president in any way. He didn’t end the Cold War, he just happened to be in office when the soviet system collapsed from lack of capital resulting from its inefficiency. Yes, his spending policies ended up ending the economic malaise of the late 70s, but his distortion of the tax code to dramatically cut taxes at the top relative to everyone else were a major contributor to the inequality we are seeing now. Add to that his demonization of unions and the impact of the PATCO strike, and you have the roots of many of the problems we are facing today. Their lionization of Reagan is at least in part responsible for the unthinking almost slavish dedication that republicans have to tax cuts being the only economic policy.

    Of all the other things cited in the graph above, Reagan’s and W’s actions had the most significant negative impacts on the majority. I think that history will not be kind to them over the long run.

  • Anonymous

    Much truth in this information but what our country can’t come to grips with is that this issue is bi-partisan.
    Media present Republicans as the rich, greedy ones supporting other rich greedies and look away as Nancy Pelosi tries to build her $26 million worth with insider trading. The headline stories of Hillary Clinton’s so-called presidential campaign have been not about her platform but about her ability to raise money. We are all fixated on money in an unhealthy way. We want to have what they’re having rather than considering how we can work toward comfort and security in our own lives.

  • Bucklodge01

    The timeline neglects to show the key Supreme Court decisions starting in the 1970s, involving Justice Lewis Powell, that equate money with free speech. Also, the oligarchy we have now in the US is the conservatives’ ideal society. While conservative politicians like to say that the inequality we have today is just the natural order — the best people rising to the top — oligarchy does not come about by the free market, it is created through deliberate policies enacted by government, as the timeline shows. Conservatives believe in hierarchy and order, and for them oligarchy brings about the most stable society, at least for the oligarchs — who are the only people who matter in their minds. Remember, where we’re at today all started as a backlash to the “chaos” of the 1960s, when the middle class was large and regular working people, blacks, women, young people, etc. were starting to demand more from society.

  • Anonymous

    “It is easy to look for scapegoats. What if the current economic inequality just happened because of globalism? Maybe it was nobody’s fault?”

    Globalism didn’t have to mean bringing down the living/working standards for everyone, which is essentially what free trade has done. Free trade was a deliberate political action, it didn’t just happen. Corporations knew what they needed to make bigger profits (at the cost of the workers around the world, including the US), and they got it. And for anyone who might argue that free trade has given people in the developing world jobs, let me remind you of the abuse those workers endure in their workplace and the environmental catastrophes that are mounting in those places.

  • allen

    This timeline neglects showing the effects that the Viet Nam war had on minorities, and low income Whites, in America and many other countries. Children of the rich did not participate in that war. The drug epidemic that has evolved, and the unemployment situation in minority communities was exacerbated by the Viet Nam war. The situation has been revisited, with the wars in the Middle East. Indeed, the Middle eastern wars have magnified the disparity because those returning had nothing to come home to, their benefits were either cut or were not sufficient enough to allow for a smooth transition back into civilian life. Americans have been the victims of government sanctioned racketeering. The solution is to give every adult in the 99% a guaranteed income of $500 per month. Each person in the 99% should also be given a one time grant for $100,000. Read about Government Sanctioned Racketeering to see where the money should come from.

  • Lance

    Morally superior? Where’s the evidence for that? He didn’t let the bush tax cuts expire, he didn’t end the illegal wars, he hasn’t led the call for justice on those responsible for those war crimes or the torture program (looking forward etc.) hasn’t prosecuted those responsible for the 2008 crash, has increased our drone program, has a kill list, has permitted NSA violations –he has no moral high ground he can claim, nor does he seem to desire it. He’s as craven and calculated as the GOP icons we despise. I’m no fan of Bush, but he was much tougher on the Wall St robber barons than Obama has been.

  • Lance

    Individualism has come to its logical end.

  • Ryan Costa

    reaganomics, leveraged buyouts and mergers and acquisitions, the disintegration of ex-urban sprawl, globalism, economic values of white voters largely hinged to experience with blacks that meet or exceed negative stereotypes and the political campaigns that exploit/offer the most sympathy towards this.

  • Kathy Collins Hurt

    This chart and Prof Reich chart shows it in a nutshell! Ugly and Easy to understand.It’s BOTH sides…and when you and if you make it to Washington,the game changes completely! I still wish we could have un knowns common working folks or maybe farmers and moms who know how to BALANCE crap and just say it as it is like it or not! Both sides are and have been GUILTY for years.Personally,depending on Where you were in life..young,grad,single,married,children is what we paid attention to and who was in office.I was very busy raising kids for 13 yrs,couldn’t dig into the issues like now,but I paid attention and have voted wrong several times,but you Never know! who you can trust.So..I tell folks Do YOUR homework,take names and VOTE every time you are able! The parties WANT us DIVIDED! United we stand,divided ….we fall.

  • Dick Brennan

    As I see it – Eisenhower warned about this – When Congress can Socialize the Capitalistic Free Enterprise System by feeding our tax revenues to provide beholden jobs in their home districts, then Congress will have perfectly achieved protecting their own job for life! People will always vote for their enabler – they know who is helping provide their high paid jobs. Look at the Socialization escalating in all our industries, big oil, defense, health care, finance, etc. – completely dependent on corporate welfare to have record earnings reports.

  • Larry Woodall

    Nowhere did I see it mentioned the 30 year effort to destroy labor unions. Nor is there mention of the Reagan bill to pay companies to move manufacturing to low wage nations. They actually paid them to off-shore American jobs. The practice may still be in effect. Concepts of free-trade replaced import duties causing additional flooding of markets with foreign made goods and costing jobs. The 1996 Telecommunications Act did much to concentrate huge wealth into the fewer hands and see that no community or state could interfere with monopoly control of local communications services. If a small town desired to provide residents with free or reduced fee internet connection Telecom 96 allowed big players to stop it. It all served to see Americans paying 4-5 times more for cable and broadband services than other developed nations. Corporate Democrats have not served the people very well.

  • Anonymous

    Except for calling Reagan a great president, I agree with what you say, especially about how this would’ve been a much better world had Gore been president rather than George W., who is hands down the worst president we’ve ever had. But Reagan vies for 2nd place. A strong, influential president he was, but let’s not confuse that with “good”. He was influential in a bad way, turning us toward “greed is good”, wasteful, consumerist, opulent, pro-rich, pro-corporate, anti-labor, anti-poor, anti-conservation, less democratic society. He tripled our debt, which hadn’t been a problem before then; slashed the top tax rate, which led us towards greater inequality; and led us to the savings & loan crisis & Iran-Contra scandal. Bush II was even worse, and the number of horrible things he did to our country and the world are far too many to list here.

    Also, people keep pointing to Herbert Hoover as one of the worst presidents ever. It is true that the big stock market crash happened 9 months after he took office, but remember, just as it took years of bad policy to build up to Bush’s Great Recession, which happened at the end of 8 years of misadministration, the same happened to Hoover’s Great Depression, which was due mainly to great corruption in the Harding administration of the early ’20s and the pro-business laissez-faire policies of Coolidge in the 6 years just before Hoover was elected, in which our tax system was as regressive, and our income & wealth inequality gap was as wide as it is today. Hoover can be accused of doing too little too late, but it took even FDR a while before he figured out the right ways to get out of the depression, which included putting masses of people to work building infrastructure among other things, and making the tax system much more progressive, which is what we should be doing today.

    The parallels between these 2 time periods are striking. Unfortunately, our government isn’t taking the remedies necessary to get us to firm economic footing, and if this inaction continues, I’m afraid we’re headed for a real depression this time. It is indeed mostly due to the obstruction of the Republicans, but I wish Obama pushed more strongly, comprehensively & relentlessly for these needed policies.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, & Bernie Sanders says it exactly the way it is.

    We haven’t had anybody far left since FDR, and he’s considered one of our best. LBJ had some great social policies, but the Vietnam War damaged his presidency. Carter was a lot more environmentally farsighted than anybody since, but otherwise was more or less in the middle.

    Obama has been very much in the middle, whether you look at it historically, or against other advanced democratic countries. He appears somewhat to the right compared with most European leaders (until recently, anyway), and has been far too pro-Wall Street. He did try to reach across to the other side & come up with consensus policies, but his opposition refused to cooperate and instead did everything they could to ensure that Obama’s presidency failed.

    What we haven’t tried yet, and what we desperately need, are the policies of the true progressives, exemplified by Sanders & Elizabeth Warren, who truly fight on behalf of the people rather than monied interests. To overcome inequality, face the impending global climate/environmental catastrophe, and to save our democracy, we need someone like Sanders or Warren as head of state as well as a much more progressive Congress.

  • Dick Brennan

    Larry, you know the havoc removing import duties played via the GATT trade treaty revision of 1991. Congress fears when their districts are running at healthy employment caused by a robust TRUE Captialistic Free Enterprise system – There is no guarantee of re-election! So they passed the GATT revison to entice businesses to move their manufacturing overseas and suffer NO import duty penalties. It worked like a charm – profits soared due to new slave labor wages and NO duties. The Defense industry put on their White hats and rescued the “abandoned workers” in the congressional districts with new or expanded taxpayer funded Socialized contracts. The demise of the TRUE Capitalistic Free Enterprise system was carefully orchestrated to buy the votes of the now beholden manufacturing workers. Re-election was guaranteed!

  • GregoryC

    I think Clinton and Obama are worse than Reagan because liberals, progressives have been effectively silenced from speaking out against neoliberal economic policies, trade deals offshoring jobs, the use of foreign work visas and illegal foreign workers driving down US wages, cuts in the social safety net, the ongoing privatization of services/infrastructure, perpetual wars of terror against fake enemies for the looting of natural resources for MNCs, the decimation of civil liberties. All while democrats are enamored of Clinton and Obama. The unions are corrupt too — they aren’t organizing working class Americans against the corporate-serving politicians of the Democratic party. Will Trumka ever speak out against TPP? TTIP? Obama is and has been the more effective evil because he’s managed to silence dissent, opposition.

  • GregoryC

    Things were rolling along well until 2000? You do realize that the US was in a tech bubble at the time? Remember NASDAQ 5,000+? The jobs lost during that recession have never been regained.

  • GregoryC

    Reagan is dead. Obama is in the White House. Obama, ‘the most open and transparent administration ever’, is negotiating trade deals in 100% secrecy giving corporations more power, more wealth and less regulation. Obama has classified the draft text of both the TPP and TTIP to keep Americans in the dark.

  • GregoryC

    I believe violent crime is in a downward trend and much of our justice system prosecutes petty crimes against racial minorities, something that Matt Taibbi has addressed in his new book. The ravages of white collar crime are destroying democracy itself and our living standards at home and abroad. If you think austerity is bad here, go to Italy, Spain, Greece, Ireland and now we can add Ukraine.

  • GregoryC

    The FBI, DI, NSA, DHS, local law enforcement, banks and the Obama administration destroyed OWS. Civil disobedience is now domestic terrorism (along with environmental activism — Ag Gag laws).

  • GregoryC

    I don’t watch political ads — I don’t like any advertising on TV, so I use the MUTE button and/or change the channel and return to the channel I was watching to see if the nonsense has ended.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, the case has been stated, and now that “recess is over”, the finger pointing may now be replaced with productive action. This process was accelerated by today’s political model. A collective citizen base who ignorantly allows the powers that be to dictate their own future (yet choose not to proactively participate in the electoral process, or even intelligently evaluate their chosen candidate) deserve their fate.

  • evilroyslade

    I agree and Your right

  • evilroyslade

    Break the Unions, outsource jobs, drive down wages, raise cost of life necessities then extend credit to anyone breathing. Now here we are wondering WTF happened to the middle class.

  • Anonymous

    back in the 1990s when I worked at BoA my dad,who was a Postal Worker, told me I was going in the hole with my 2 to 3% a year raises there. He got the COLA raises on the job and with his retirement.

  • Anonymous

    no one has commented that while that $30,000 average income has remained stable, the cost of everything has tripled or quadrupled. Perhaps everything except milk.

  • Anonymous

    I like the clarity in which you express this history. The fact that this history is no longer taught, perhaps was never taught in schools, we have no idea what it takes to stop this trend of racing the money to the top. We are headed for a real depression. I keep saying once the rich hoard all the money, there won’t be anyone left to buy what they have to sell. Then, what?

  • Anonymous

    People can’t eat or wear what’s on the internet.

  • Anonymous

    This made me angry at Obama, and yet I know better than to think that the other candidate would have been different. What is it that we cannot bring jobs back here? Build greener plants, use greener technology, use our people. I sound so “concentric” or xenophobic or something. I am just tired of seeing the real people of this country slowly wither. This is not my WWII vet father’s country that was blossoming, that had hopes, that was growing. What is wrong with making deals that build the US for the US?

  • Anonymous

    Let me tell you why facts don’t matter. Simply put, the debate has been reframed to interpret this situation as part of the natural order of the universe The bulk of us are appealing to conscience in assuming that a baseline wage should enable a person to make ends meet and not have their children go to bed hungry at night. Libertarians and Regressives want to demolish that basement. They seek the eradication of civil liberty and economic baseline protections, no matter how fledgling or feeble they may be. Dismantling the basement is the intent so that corporate dominance has no bounds, whether it comes to the environment, wages, workers rights, or any other type of externality that society has to absorb. Since the a priori assumption from those who suckle upon rand philosophy is that there is no society, then considering and admitting society’s externalities and generating a political and economic philosophy which addresses the reality we face becomes moot and academic for such people. This divide explains why people cling to liberty at all costs, and why people will never agree to practical ways to fix problems in this country. It wasn’t always this way, but the loss of a shared language will definitely help exacerbate the situation. Simply put these extremists hate the idea of government more than they despise injustice or pollution, racial discrimination, child labor, loss of female suffrage, safe drinking water, traffic lights, seat belts in cars, sanitary food in restaurants, protected borders, the Internet, a working currency, standardized weights and measures, work safety….the list doesn’t end. The regressive demolition of these baselines is intended to restore a certain
    dominance of racial, religious and ethnic superiority.

  • Anonymous

    Good question you are asking. I went the round robin with a capitalist-anarchist on FB during the weekend for about 24 hours simply to get him to come out and admit that Jim Crow should have been repealed. That was the first time I tried to really see how shackled one of their ilk was to ideology, regardless of matters of conscience or decency. So, my mind is still reeling as to how people can so obstinately argue everything starting from an inflexible way of looking at the world and in dealing with others in the real world. Basically, the person didn’t want to admit the worth of anything that government did, even if if it was pivotal in eradicating a very inhumane system.

  • Ian Rynex

    You are right.

  • Tom Simon

    This is not an issue of politics, it is an issue of common sense and sustainability. We need to take away the incentives for financialization that just trade wealth between wealthy people – money needs to be spread around to make an economy grow – not an issue to be trifled with by emotional arguments that pit people against one another through superficial labeling – socialist, liberal, conservative, left wing, right wing – these are meaningless terms. We are in this together – when the system is broken as it is now it needs to have unity of shared purpose to restore it.