The great divergence: Since the late 1970s the America I knew has unraveled. We’re no longer a middle-class society, in which the benefits of economic growth are widely shared: between 1979 and 2005 the real income of the median household rose only 13 percent, but the income of the richest 0.1% of Americans rose 296 percent.
— Paul Krugman, New York Times, September 18, 2007
Before watching or reading the President’s Weekly, check out this video commentary by Slate’s Timothy Noah which appeared on CBS “Sunday Morning” today. It must be digested, if you can. If there’s anything that should be making people boiling mad, is the growing income gap. Or in the words of that famous Billie Holiday ballad, “them that’s got shall get; them that’s not shall lose.” The rich get richer; the middle class are getting poorer. Noah sites Paul Krugman for coining the phrase “The Great Divergence.” But he too has been writing about “The United States of Inequality” as part of a series for Slate since September of this year. It’s odd that rising stocks are good news in the face of a stagnant job market and salaries. Shouldn’t that signal that something’s completely out of balance?
Meanwhile, back in the oval office, President Obama is holding firm on his administration’s implementation of the Wall Street Reform bill. But a Republican takeover of the House could spell doom for consumer protection from predatory creditors and lenders.
Recently, one of the Republican leaders in the Senate said that if Republicans take charge of Congress, repeal would be one of the first orders of business. And he joins the top Republican in the House who actually called for the law to be repealed even before it passed.
But if the record shows, as Noah mentions, that the income gap widens when Republicans are in the White House, favoring the top 1%; and the gap narrows giving the middle classes a lift during Democratic presidencies, what kind of kool-aid is being passed around if politicians and the public can’t see the obvious?
That’s why I’ve put Noah above the fold.
Transcript for the President’s Weekly available here.