Economy wealthgapchart

Published on April 12th, 2010 | by Rhonda Winter

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Plutocracy Reborn: U.S. Wealth Inequality Gap Largest since 1928

 

The greater the disparity in wealth between the very rich and everyone else, the more unstable an economy becomes. Our nation has now created a larger gap in the distribution of wealth than the massive chasm that helped fuel the Great Depression.

In 1928, one year before the global economic collapse, the wealthiest .001% of the U.S. population owned 892 times more than 90% of the nation’s citizens. Today, the top .001% of the U.S. population owns 976 times more than the entire bottom 90%. This is not sustainable, and makes for a very volatile economy. It would appear that the American empire is about to crash.

 

See the full-size wealth inequality chart at the Nation.

 

Food Stamp Usage Soars

This dire economic situation just didn’t happen by accident either. The wealthiest 1% reaped 2/3 of the economic benefits from Bush’s tax cuts. Cheney’s war-profiteering stock options continue to skyrocket, while many of us are now unemployed, just struggling to eat and pay rent. States across the country are reporting staggering increases in food stamp usage. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, last year the national increase was 18%; California’s food stamp usage has risen 30% since 2007.

food stampsHalf of all kids will be dependent upon food stamps at some point during their childhood.

UC Berkeley Professor of Economics, Emanuel Saez, has been researching the growing disparity in income inequality in the United States for years. His work was published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics; it provides in-depth analysis and useful insight into just how extremely economically polarized and desperate our country has become.

wealth inequality

growing economic gap

America's income spread is nearly twice that the average of other nationsThe size of America’s income disparity is nearly twice  that of the average of other nations.






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About the Author

was raised by wolves, and subsequently has difficulty interacting with other humans; she can also be found on and Twitter.



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  • drhubbell

    People on ALL levels of income are better off now than they were in 1929. Re the wealth gap: The Liberals say they would rather that the poor were poorer, provided that the rich were less rich. That way one will never create the wealth for a better country. Most agree we need to remove all tax breaks.

    • jeff.1089

      This is a myth propagated by market fundamentalists. People in the US are having to work far harder to have the basic necessities of life then they were in, for example, 1950. The myth refers to the fact that production is not a zero-sum game, but in all actuality, the *dollars* that chase that consumption *is* a zero-sum game if you ignore money expansion, which is set up to disproportionately favor the rich. So production capabilities can march forward, but actual production volumes will shrink steadily as more and more *dollars* leave the hands of those that consume. What you are overlooking is, capital investment is not what generates a better VCR, IPOD, or Plasma TV. *Profits* are what create better goods and services. And the profits will never be there unless you have a middle class to sell to. Third party capital investment can potentially impact this by increasing funding for marginal ideas, but unless there is an unusual capital shortage in the existing channels, trying to improve the economy this way is at best trying to boil the ocean by hoping that enough of the spillover from the various asset bubbles supply side economics creates (eg. 1920s, 1980-2010), and at worst it is sucking the life out of the demand side of the equation, and no-one will produce for a market that doesn’t exist no matter *how* much capital is behind them.

    • jeff.1089

      @drhubbell (continued)

      There was no cosmic law or mandate from god that we had to start coming out of the Great Depression starting in 1932. In fact, the Great Depression was caused by Warren Harding’s Team based on policies enacted in the early 1920’s. Because we were on a gold standard, the consequences were far quicker to roll out back then, but the same dynamics have been playing out over the last 30 years (40 years if you look at it from a union perspective). In 1932, Hoover was planning to pass a regressive tax to provide missing revenue needed to fill revenue holes and support the limited social programs he was adding. A massive letter writing campaign resulted, and one of those letters must have given him some insight to economics, because he turned around and turned that into the most progressive tax change in the last century. 1932 was also when Glass Steagal was passed, and there were other areas of national policy moving in a progressive direction. The result? Ask Eric Cantor what you expect when you raise the top tax bracket from 25% to 65% while simultaneously becoming more union friendly and putting limitations on big business and he will tell you there is no doubt. An already weak economy will tank! Ask Rep Boehner and he will tell you the same thing. The tea partiers profess publicly to believe that as well. Not one of the Republicans that you hear about on a daily basis would even admit publicly where their donors can hear them that it is *possible* that this could be associated with a return to growth. And yet, when you look at what happened, you saw a change from two-digit shrinkage to two-digit growth (By far and away the biggest such change over the last century – For comparison, since Reagan took office we have not once gone above 5% growth; 1980 is the dividing line for that)! This is a gross mis-stewardship of their offices on par with that of an airline pilot that tells you you should pull up hard immediately if your engine stalls. Politics is the only profession where professionals are not expected to know nor rewarded for knowing the consequences of their actions.

      • dennis crane

        It seems your politics get in the way of your economics. Your data is as suspect as your conclusion is apt. Reagan had an economy that was consistently higher than any we have seen since-excluding the first two years. Ever hear of the Laffer curve? Do you know who is pushing the massive debt that engulfs our Nations-most all of them? Do you see any problem with financing massive spending with huge creation of wealth through the Fed? What will happen if the Fed quits buying the market?
        The great depression was mostly created by a shrinkage in the money available to business and reinvestment. We are doing that all over again now by reducing the interest below break even. So, business and housing can’t get funding while bankers play high profit games with highly leveraged funny money available thru the Fed..

    • Holden Herbert

      It’s not really about the poor at all. It’s about a swelling of the middle class, one that can take care of business with their income. That is a shrinking class now. It is that people like the Walton’s, who have three of the top ten wealthy Americans, pay a wage in which their full time employees can afford a modest rent and food. For people like the Waltons, it’s not about money. When you’ve got 36 billion dollars, what could you want that you can’t buy?

      • dennis crane

        It is the middle class. You are right. Why is it shrinking? Because the World Bank and IMF (look up Fabian Socialism) wants a population that needs to borrow. Government spending makes more poor and fewer middle class. As government spending accelerates world wide, the middle class is defunded. This suits the banking interests as it creates people who must borrow because they have no equity.

    • Lawrence Borden

      Please find even ONE quotation where a Liberal actually states that they would rather “that the poor were poorer, provided that the rich were less rich.” That is an absurd opinion that can only be made directly from your imagination or from a sick mind.

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    • END the FED

      Dear Mr. President , I want to first say I have been not in agreement with everything that your Policies have been designed to achieve but the one areas we can agree on I feel that as Americans we can and should be in agreement with a energy policy that Moves the needs of this country forward and I want to say I agree with your Bio Algae approach , its got the biggest bang for the Buck .
      But I been doing lots of Research and we have issues with competitive aggressors wanting to destroy our dollar both here in the USA and as the trade currency in the international markets and I think at least I hope that after being President and being the top Representative of the USA this Dollar means we have to come together for its salvation or we will fall apart as a Nation , and I hope you feel it Sir .
      So let me show you what I have been looking at and how I think we can set into motion a Competitive approach to saving our dollar by making it the currency that DEMANDS to be Respected as the Innovative currency that can be the best at providing equal opportunity and continue to be most diverse in the world financial markets .
      Subject: Kevin Freeman: Terrorists, Nations Plot Attack to Doom Dollar.
      These articles seem to suggest that the play against the dollar as world trade currency is our greatest threat to our economic national security and could be why Obama has issued the executive order that would nationalize the Resources of the USA in the event this dollar short play is allowed to take place . This seems like that Steps need to be taken to avert this kind of a Trade against the dollar .
      Kevin Freeman: Terrorists, Nations Plot Attack to Doom Dollar
      http://www.moneynews.com/StreetTalk/Freeman-Terrorists-Attack-Dollar/2012/03/20/id/433221?s=al&promo_code=E798-1
      This video explains the above attack on the dollar even more by Glenn Beck .
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3qlaCLQ6Hs
      HERE IS the Plan by China to Collapse the US Dollar :
      In this report on China I was shocked by this statement , it jumped out at me its down at the bottom of this report :

      “””” We believe it’s absolutely critical that every American understand the risks we face as a nation. We are now printing money in record amounts, and we’re involved in a major currency war with China. I believe this is guaranteed to lead to hyperinflation and a U.S. dollar collapse.

      Of course, all of this has been brought on by an entire generation of politicians who don’t understand even the most basic principles of finance.

      A decade ago, our Vice President (a Republican) claimed “deficits don’t matter.” Today, our President (a Democrat) is attempting to prove it.

      Our total debt is now more than $15 trillion—that’s more than our country’s annual GDP. According to all of human history, debts this size are never repaid, not without a huge devaluation of the currency.

      The Chinese (our biggest creditors) know this. They are not stupid.

      And now, as our debts begin to compound at ever-faster rates… and as we continually have to print more money to pay for them… America will suffer the most grave crisis in our nation’s history.

      Unfortunately, as I see it, this crisis is now unavoidable. “””

      click this link
      http://www.stansberryresearch.com/pro/1202CHINAPT2/LOILN325/PR
      China’s Secret Plan to Bankrupt Millions of Americans?

      I also read this report on what the Federal Reserve is doing with Operation Twist and it seems to play right into the hand of what China wants to do to become the majority Holder of Gold reserves , and back their currency with this resource making it the most attractive currency to world Nations wanting to invest in China Bonds and suck them away from US Bonds , creating the Collapse on the Dollar and ending its World trade currency Status .
      In this Report on Page 4 it explains how Operation Twist will drive down Gold prices because the Bonding Buying by the Federal Reserve will fund central banks to invest in equities markets and private investment will chase these equity valuation increases out of their Commodities holding position , http://landing.rarecoinwholesalers.com/Content/pdf/CollapseOfgoldReport.pdf

      With all the talk of wanting to remove the dollar as world trade currency and end US Capitalism , the effect on the US people is what looks to be the most devastating , and the National SECURITY threat of this is why we must begin to debate this on a very open and transparent public platform so we the people can be allowed to be a part of this process of what seems to have been a plan for some time , as this link provides insight to how the plan to collapse the US Dollar was discussed in our very highest levels of Government , and suggests that this effort to destroy the dollar was even quite possible part of the lead up to the financial collapse of 2008-9 and the 2008 election cycle as is talked about above in Kevin Freeman: Terrorists, Nations Plot Attack to Doom Dollar
      . But I want you to read this article that opens the door to the discussion about where the effort to collapse the dollar trade currency status was being discussed in the highest levels of US Government and top rating agencies ,
      BILDERBERG FINANCIERS AT TEL AVIV MONETARY MEETING

      http://disc.yourwebapps.com/discussion.cgi?disc=149495;article=124696;title=APFN

      http://seekingalpha.com/article/285737-the-rise-of-financial-terrorism

      The Scam against the USA was all found here ,
      http://webofdebt.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/sp-and-the-bilderbergers-all-part-of-the-plan/

      • END the FED

        We need to place currency security blockades in the commercial exchange markets that can dam up a effect of a short position that would redirect that investment into growth stocks that would be based off Renewable resource commodities supply sectors , and I believe this is where a Resources that is as HUGE as Bio Algae has that biggest Bang for the Dollar as a Multiplying factor because of the Bi-product it will create that can be used in a Endless supply of resources that can create paper products , Fiber Board products for construction , the Pulp from Algae is a Fiber based product and this opens the doors to endless use . Plus its High protein content will allow for so many uses in food as well as Fiber . Think about how the use of this product as a Soil Building component for restoring the vitality of the soils Humus so yield increases can be achieved and help with the future supply increases we need to see in our food production ? What about Fertilizer , Natural breakdown of this protein conversion in the soil if it is incorporated into the soil as a soil builder is a HUGE benefit to water retention , let alone vital nutrients for food production !! NEWT GINGRICH is WRONG on this . its worth the weight in GOLD because of these fundamentals , it builds the dollar value as investments in this resource potential is endless !!!

        The Oil as fuel can be moved around in the same Infrastructure we move fuel with now , so NEWT is wrong again about that being an additional Cost !! And we can Move the Bi-Product of the Algae Pulp like we move all the other bi Products from oil , like the fertilizers and building materials its all the same transportation so that claim of additional costs is a false accusation by Newt , read his claims here , Newt is Absurd for saying this ,

        Why Obama is absurd to suggest algae
        http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=50340
        And I believe that this Renewable resource can save the USA as the leading asset creation nation and challenge those who seek to destroy the dollars value with the return of a Gold backed currency model that has led the world in more past supply expansion failure and famine periods than any period when currencies that if innovation was the key use of the investment capital Humanities benefits were remarkably fascinating times for quality of life advancements .

        When you watch what is said here in this video on what Algae can become , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yij_RtRIkAk&feature=relmfu , you have to give it considerable consideration because what is getting ready to destroy the dollar as US world Trade currency will happen if we do not have a TRUE supply expansion plan that can keep the dollar a Viable growth currency investment period end of story , the Shell game is fast COMING to and end with the past efforts of just being the Paper trading currency that the USA then just feeds off other trade partners actual tangible durable productions , they are on the record calling the USA and EUROPE Parasites , this is not a sign that the Dollar is being seen as a Competitive currency backed by a resource thats equity is valued by the expansion in a supply that has a multiply factor thats out pacing DEMAND , so DEMAND this CHANGE !!!!!

        Plus we need to look into the future and see that food expansion is needed and the way we can expand the use of farmland is to consider this alternative feed resource which will lower farmland use for livestock feed , conserve water use because of this unique fodder feed system that uses a 10-1 seed to feed system Welcome to Fodder Solutions, http://www.foddersolutions.org/home , this will allow for 1/10th the farmland used for feed production by it only being needed to grow the seed needed for the fodder system , leaving the other farmland available for crops that are not suitable for facilities like the next link show where we can grow veggie crops and other suitable fruits in these facilities so we can expand the supply even greater .

        Take a look at this and ponder the possibilities , http://www.verticalfarm.com

        I want to challenge New Gingrichs comments about the ideas that President Obama has been making regarding the ideas about Bio-Algae and say that in 10 years if we start right now this Product line can be the Rebirth of the US dollar as the most creative currency for future world needs ever and to deny this renewable resources possibilities is to acknowledge that one is without a true concept of what world visionary really means !!!!

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