$2 of every $3 in income growth from 2002–2007 went to the upper 1%

That’s an amazing stat — again, $2 of every $3 gained between the last two crashes went to the upper 1% of the country.

Not the upper 10%; the upper 1%. (2002 is the bottom of the tech crash; 2007 is just pre–the bank crash.)

Another bad stat — In 1967, 97% of prime age men with only HS diplomas were working. Today, the number is 76%. Stunning; the middle class (the real one, not the faux–middle class we see on TV) is collapsing hard from within.

All of this comes via Don Peck and his new Atlantic article, “Can the Middle Class Be Saved?”. The interview below is by Sam Seder at his terrific (and useful) podcast, the new Majority Report. (The first stat is from roughly 7:45 in the interview; the second comes at 11:30.)

Peck makes several points that regular readers will be familiar with — in particular, the notion that the super-rich (Our Betters) have not only delinked their expenses from the U.S. economy — they’re started to delink their incomes from it as well.

In other words, Yes Virginia; soon the rich will no longer need us. We really are being “left behind,” though not in that wonderful Teabag sense.

Another point we’ve been making as well — the stock market is so dominated by the very wealthy, that the recent market fall would not be allowed to continue. (So far, so good on that prediction.) Peck makes this point (about market dominance by the rich) at 8:30.

The run-up in wealth inequality is the big story of this generation; in my view, a world-historical event that will have a world-historical outcome if we’re not careful. This wealth will be redistributed, one way or another, in this generation or a later one. Mostly, the ways of redistribution are beyond ugly, with run-ups steeped in misery and lost souls.

A great segment. I’ll have more to say about his Atlantic article in a future post.

Don Peck is also the author of Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and What We Can Do About It, which is also referenced in the interview.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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