Why You Should Feel Cheated, Deceived and Sickened by America's Stunning Inequality, Even If You're Doing Well
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Some hedge fund managers made up to $4 billion in one year. That's like one man telling my son and 100,000 other young men and women: "I have jobs for you, but my personal stimulus from the top will start with a yacht and an estate -- and then we'll just wait a while."
The great deception goes beyond jobs into another very personal area: home values. A Harvard University study revealed that while household wealth nearly doubled from 1995 to 2004 ($25.9 trillion to $50.1 trillion), almost 90 percent of the gains went to the top quarter of households.
It gets worse. According to noted researcher Edward Wolff (pdf), only the top 5 percent of American families increased their percentage of the country's total household net worth from 1983 to 2007. So unless you make $160,000 or more, your household value has decreased, percentage-wise, over the last 25 years. Taxing the 1 percent of America responsible for all this is not "soaking the rich." The soaking has already been done, in the opposite direction. The inequality caused by this sickening theft and deception is not just a plague on poor people -- at least 90 percent of us should be feeling it, and fighting back.
Paul Buchheit is a professor with City Colleges of Chicago, founder of fightingpoverty.org and co-founder of Global Initiative Chicago. He is the editor of and main contributor to the forthcoming book, "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press).