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The Rise of Inequality Since 1980

Posted by MacZad
Aug 05 2012

These 4 charts are but a few from the Center on Policy and Budget Priorities series on Examining Inequality Trends.


By presenting these charts I'm not advocating that the 99% undertake class warfare (though one might interpret the charts as showing that there has been class warfare and that the very rich have won). I am merely trying to bring to your attention the vast change that has taken place since 1980 and the principal reason for it. From the end of WW2 until about 1980 there was something of a social contract between labor, management and government, and though there were rough spots, on the whole those were good times for the populace; during those years even Republican presidents championed progressive legislation.

However, things began changing about 1980 resulting in the inequalities shown by the charts. While it's true that great fortunes were made in the computer and Internet industries during this period it's difficult to attribute all the growth in top income/wealth solely to that for there were big growth drivers (television, mass air travel, multi-car families, etc.) in the earlier period as well. However, even more significant are the many malevolent factors that have been at work in recent years.

A leading malevolent factor is Rent Seeking which has been exacerbated by the many laws and policies enacted at the behest of the corporations and the very wealthy. It's a "vicious circle" with each gain in income and wealth at the top increasing their ability to contribute to Republican politicians (more heavily than to Democrats) who in turn further tilt the playing field in their favor. They expect, and get, favorable treatment from all those lobbying and contribution dollars. Here's the great 7/29/12 Non Sequitur cartoon on the subject, and an earlier post with links to Wiley's other Congress-Man strips.

After 30 years of this we now have the plutocrats almost in full control of the political process. Many in both parties have been bought, and we have all but lost the enlightened society envisioned by our founders. Now we, the masses, must push back strongly to regain our representative democracy.

Categories: Opposing Plutocracy and Corporatocracy, Seeking Better Governance