Sunday, April 9, 2017

The big divide of income inequality

This chart was published by MarketWatch from the original by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

What is measured is a comparison of the incomes of the lower 50% of the U.S. population with that of the upper 1% over a 38 year span, 1980 to 2014.  The green line is for the lower 50%, the red line for the top 1%.

A group of economists, led by the noted Thomas Piketty, discussed the findings and concluded that, for the bottom half, growth has been nonexistent for a generation.  Income has actually gone down for the working class, who can no longer expect that their kids will have a better life than they did.

These experts said:  "An economy that fails to deliver growth for half of its people for an entire generation is bound to generate discontent with the status quo and a rejection of establishment politics."

Donald Trump's attention-seeking antics have come to eclipse anything like an economic message;   but "income inequality" used to be what the 2016 election was about -- 2008 and 2012 as well.   Remember John Edwards theme of "Two Americas" -- and all the talk abut Wall Street vs Main Street?

Trump is still making empty promises about bringing back coal miners' jobs, but everything he has actually done in office will hurt that lower 50%  even more, while making the 1% even richer.   His cabinet and senior staff are replete with Goldman Sachs financial people;  and the talk of a shakeup in White House staff will likely result of increased prominence of Wall Street interests -- and a decrease in anyone who represents that lower 50%.

In addition, Trump's tax cuts and budgetary proposals will help the wealthy and hurt the middle and lower classes who depend on social services.  His answer to this is that his policies will also greatly increase jobs and therefore income.  But that remains to be seen.   At this point, it looks like, under a Trump presidency, the income inequality is likely to increase, not decrease.


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