More on income inequality

Annie Lowrey at the Washington Independent points us to a report on income inequality from the Senate’s Joint Economic Committee. She highlights several graphs and conclusions that show the remarkable way that the wealthy have become even more so over the past decade, while middle class and working incomes have stagnated or declined. The charts are interesting in part because they break out income and tax rates according to the various modern-day Presidential administrations. Here is one example:

taxes and wealth over time

Even under Clinton you can see that the wealthy increased their share of total income. And in fact, Lowrey notes that according to the report this has been happening pretty consistently since the 1960s. In the Bush years, not surprisingly, the trend increased even faster. (And hey! The economy was doing pretty well under Clinton, even with 3% higher taxes on everyone.)

But also important is what happened to middle class incomes during these years. Under Clinton, while the wealthy were getting richer and grabbing a larger share of the nation’s wealth, the middle class also saw their incomes rise. Under Bush, again unsurprisingly, middle class incomes declined, even as the incomes of the rich grew even faster.

Middle class incomes are falling

Some politicians these days (**cough** Alan Simpson **cough**) seem to think that U.S. workers and citizens should simply accept that their living standard is being lowered consistently while the rich get richer. That’s the economic philosophy of the plantation: accept that the wealth goes to the owners and be grateful you’re allowed to survive at all.

But that’s not my philosophy. That’s not the liberal philosophy. We stand with the working people of this country, those whose labor actually produces the wealth. And we think, yes proudly believe, that the rich have taken much more than their share and should return it.

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