June 9, 2005

Aristocracy on the Rise in U.S.

Gene Lyons writes:
One virtue of American-style capitalism is the way it has sustained democracy by transforming the lust for power into the quest for cash.

You don’t need to know much about the biographies of 19th century robber barons like John D. Rockefeller or Andrew Carnegie, for example, to be glad they stuck to commerce instead of politics. Not that the two are ever completely separate, but we’re better off with the control freaks in the counting house instead of the White House. This shouldn’t be read as a slap at the inheritors of great fortunes, like Arkansas Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller, nor the universities, libraries, museums and hospitals founded in their names. But it’s worthwhile asking whether the truce between wealth and democracy in America isn’t breaking down as the tycoon class commands an ever greater share of the nation’s wealth and uses it to tilt the political system even further in its favor.

Based upon The New York Times’ recent first-rate series on social class in America, two things are happening: A small group reporter David Cay Johnston dubs the "hyper-rich" is making so much money and paying so little in taxes that the nation may be creating a permanent, European-style aristocracy. Meanwhile, social mobility stagnates and the security of the salaried classes looks increasingly threatened.

The numbers are pretty amazing. According to Johnston, also author of "Perfectly Legal," an incisive study of the U.S. tax code, the top one-10th of 1 percent of income earners, or the top one thousandth, saw their average incomes rise 250 percent between 1980 and 2002. Their share of the nation’s total income, he writes, "has more than doubled since 1980, to 7.4 percent in 2002. The share of income earned by the rest of the top 10 percent rose far less, and the share earned by the bottom 90 percent fell."
Read the entire piece here.


At 6/09/2005 9:02 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Thats why the elite are fascinated with places like Mexico.
An ignorant uneducated permanent slave class of peasents that is held in place by a purley capitalistic system.
They want to continue to exploit the Mexican people on this side of the Rio Grande. It also has been devistating to America's middle class!
In the 1980's the Regan{who Rod Blagoavich voted for} Administration fed us that crap about American workers need more education and then exported most of the jobs to places that had little or no education sytem.

At 6/11/2005 5:47 AM, Blogger Slack-jawed Yokel said...

Those that ignore this crucially important fact does so at their own peril. It won't be gay marriage or abortion or "homeland security" or anything else that finally triggers some sort of revolt, it will be the unembarrassed and unrestrained greed of those in power, resulting in turning this once great country into a banana republic with the incredibly wealthy behind gated guarded walls and the rest out grubbing for food and dying due to neglect and inadequate health care, horrible working conditions, etc.
The unrestained greed of those who already have more money than they could ever spend in 100 lifetimes that will turn this country inside out.


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