Our democracy is broken. For workers, the American Dream has been as realistic as a plotline in Keeping Up With The Kardashians or, to refer back to 1966, William Shatner's hairpiece.
Since the crisis, only the well off have been progressing, the rest of us have been falling behind:
Incomes and tax revenues have grown from 2009 to 2011 as the economy recovered, but an astonishing 149 percent of the increased income went to the top 10 percent of earners.Who has been doing best in the post--Bush era? I think you know the answer.
The top 1 percent enjoyed 81 percent of all the increased income since 2009. Just over half of the gains went to the top one-tenth of 1 percent, and 39 percent of the gains went to the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent.If you can remember, President Obama used to be fond of saying, "the buck stops with me." That statement has more than a bit of tragedy and farce today. It's time he, and the rest of our elected representatives, took some responsibility and passed on a few bucks to the rest of us.
Ponder that last fact for a moment -- the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent, those making at least $7.97 million in 2011, enjoyed 39 percent of all the income gains in America. In a nation of 158.4 million households, just 15,837 of them received 39 cents out of every dollar of increased income.
That extreme concentration, however, is far from the most jaw-dropping figure that can be distilled from the new Saez-Piketty analysis. That requires a long-term comparison of those at or near the top with the bottom 90 percent.
In 2011 the average AGI of the vast majority fell to $30,437 per taxpayer, its lowest level since 1966 when measured in 2011 dollars.The vast majority averaged a mere $59 more in 2011 than in 1966 For the top 10 percent, by the same measures, average income rose by $116,071 to $254,864, an increase of 84 percent over 1966.
47 years? It's past time for change we can believe in; it's time for change we can see.