Outsourced to Eric Alterman:
Think Again: Is Inequality Over? News That’s Not Fit To Print: [T]he 1 percent’s loss of income [in 2009] is a blip in which the super rich in America experienced a decidedly modest and temporary hit when financial markets collapsed. Structural factors have been driving this process well beyond the rate that any other western democracy has seen…. [U]sing more recent data, Larry Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute explains, in a critique of DeParle’s article, that…
Wage and salary data show wage inequality rising from 2009 to 2010 (recovering more than a third of lost ground), suggesting that it is too early to shed crocodile tears for the top 1 percent. Regardless of last year’s trend, it remains the case that income inequality in 2009 was still substantially greater than it was in the late 1970s. Moreover, the conclusion that a lion’s share of income gains accrued to the top 1 percent or even the top 0.1 percent, while income growth was modest for the bottom 90 percent remains absolutely true.
What’s more, despite the temporary drop in stock market valuations, and therefore Wall Street bonuses, Mishel notes, “Corporate profits are now substantially greater than they were before the recession.”… Moreover, in 2010, Mishel explains, “The wages of those in the top 1 percent grew 6.8 percent in inflation-adjusted terms while those in the bottom 90 percent saw their real annual earnings fall 0.7 percent.”… Today half the U.S. population owns barely 2 percent of the country’s wealth, putting the United States near Rwanda and Uganda and below such nations as pre-Arab Spring Tunisia and Egypt when measured by degrees of income inequality….
Now all of this wealth accruing to the extremely wealthy may strike some ideologically driven conservatives as necessary and even desirable. Lower taxes, less regulation, and less government are seen as goals in and of themselves, regardless of their impact….
But why The New York Times would wish to use outdated data to give careless readers the impression that all is hunky-dory in this nation regarding its remarkably skewed distribution of wealth is a question that only its editors and reporters can answer.