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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.

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.

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.

47 years? It's past time for change we can believe in; it's time for change we can see.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is a serious problem in our nation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    One Pissed Off Liberal

    The fortune of the rich expands exponentially through the miracle of compounding. In other words their wealth trajectory is supercharged. The portion of their wealth that comes from dividends and capital gains is on pure steroids because the tax bite is so miniscule.

    Because of the systematic dismantling of unions and other factors the wealthy have been able to benefit from extremely low labor costs while the government picks up the tab so their underpaid employees can feed themselves and their children.

    The wealthy have also gradually taken over complete control of our political system. With their great sums of money they have bought the legislative process and either dismantled regulations or written laws for their own benefit.

    The rich have had a perfect storm of economic benefits while the middle class and poor have stagnated, just the way the rich intended.

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