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It just got worse

September 19, 2013 - Chris Tomassucci

Let’s say there’s a pie. It’s a pretty big pie, big enough to feed right around 314 million people actually. So. . .huge, it’s a huge pie.

Now let’s say the pie is split into five equal pieces. These five equal pieces must then be split between those 314 million people. No problem, the pie is huge remember. These 5 equal pieces will easily stretch and feed all 314 million people. Comfortably.

Now, what would happen if 10 percent of the 314 million people decide to come in and grab half the pie for themselves and just straight gorge on it?

It would look a lot like what’s happened to the U.S. economy, actually. The rest of the people, 90 percent of us (and really the bottom half), end up fighting amongst ourselves over the crumbs left behind by those jerks who swiped half of the pie.

Here is some economic data from the New York Times (emphasis mine):

The top 10 percent of earners took more than half of the country’s total income in 2012, the highest level recorded since the government began collecting the relevant data a century ago.

The top 1 percent took more than one-fifth of the income earned by Americans, one of the highest levels on record since 1913, when the government instituted an income tax.

While the top 10 percent have plenty of pie left to send their kids to private schools and get the best healthcare, we all must cut back.

Our public schools have to do more with less. We have to cut foodstamps. The sequester cuts must become permanent. Deficits! Debt! Inflation! Makers and Takers, etc.

While the rest of us fight about paying our teachers too much because unions = evil, the top 10 percent, and even moreso the top 1 percent just keep getting richer.

Their kids keep going to better private schools where they can pay the teachers as much as they want. They keep getting into the best colleges and then getting the best internships.

And the gap just keeps getting wider.

We're supposed to be all about "equality of opportunity," right? Not equal outcomes. That's our Meritocratic Democracy. How can we even say that with a straight face anymore?

When the top 10 percent remain in the top 10 percent, and keep climbing simply by dint of their obscene wealth. And when a large percentage of us remain stuck, mired in medical bankruptcy and student debt we'll never be able to pay off. How can we say it with a straight face?

Income inequality is bad. Worse right now than it has been since right before the Great Depression.

And before you can say “new census data shows that lower-income households are a steadily increasing share of the population, while middle- to higher-income groups shrank or were flat.” it just got worse.



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