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U.S. income gap widens

By Ann Telnaes

Related story: Why we can't ignore growing income inequality

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See more from the Telnaes archives and buy reprints.

Copyright: Ann Telnaes | Original published date: 11/25/2006

By Ann Telnaes  | November 8, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Economy and jobs  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: From sketch to animation
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Comments

Hey dummypants and Peeyay: your questions were already answered! Read "Related story: Why we can't ignore growing income inequality." Follow the link just under Ann's cartoon.

The story is from Slate: "The United States of Inequality" by Timothy Noah.

Be sure to follow two links on Noah's Entry 10, 4th from last paragraph:

1) a diagram by David Moss, linked as "an intriguing chart"(or go directly to http://www.people.hbs.edu/dmoss/Bank Failures, Regulation, and Inequality - Chart with Comments (David Moss, August 2010).pdf)

2) a slideshow by Paul Krugman, linked as "considering" (http://www.princeton.edu/~pkrugman/inequality_crises.pdf)

The basic idea is that first the rich get super-rich and build bigger yet super-mansions, then the penultimate socio-economic class tries to keep up by stretching their finances and moving into the newly vacated mansions...and so forth—think of it as “trickle-down keeping up with the Joneses.” Eventually the government and banks arrange (conspire) for the poor to become homeowners—for a while.

Posted by: e30m42 | November 9, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Democrats like to keep their constituents poor and dependent. The majority of the richest members of congress are Democrats.

Posted by: jornolibist | November 9, 2010 5:27 AM | Report abuse

Good job Ann,
When the fat cats go bust, The smell will be sickening and the sound deafening.
hopefully, all of that money they are stuffed with will "trickle down".
Dave

Posted by: OckamsRazor | November 8, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

@Peejay: If income distribution is less equal, but everyone is making more income and has a higher standard of living, in real terms, is that a BAD thing?

@dummypants: the argument that a 1000:1 ratio from the 1950s is better than a 5000:1 ratio from now when living standards for everybody are actually higher with the latter

The standard of living is NOT higher now than compared to the 1950's. Most families subsisted on one adult's income in the 1950s, and now need TWO adults' income to live as well. Most kids born in the 1950's are not be able to afford the house they grew up in with only one adult's income.

Posted by: egc52556 | November 8, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Sigh ... so many right-wingers who don't understand the reality and dire consequences shown in Ms. Telnaes' Animation.

AND just today in the WAPOST the REALLY fearful reality for us timid, silent majority liberals is... the election of a Majority of Republican Governors assures that many States will gerrymander their voting districts in 2011 so that Democrats will never be able to counter White Male GOP control.

Simple, Disastrous Fact.

I lived in Alabama when the Tuskegee voting boundaries drawn in that township virtually prevented the black majority any voting power. Remember the Tuskegee Airmen -- the all-black 332nd Fighter Group -- in WWII?
They flew 15,000 combat sorties in Europe and North Africa, and earned 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses.
They shot down 260 German fighter planes, sank a destroyer and blew up hundreds of enemy tanks, trucks and railroad cars -- and lost 66 men.
Their VOTES were meaningless for years after – thanks to White Southern bigot CONSERVATIVES.

Posted by: lufrank1 | November 8, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Just look at India where this 'prince of greed' has erected a $1Billion cubical travesty that he characterizes as his 'house'. The use of the term house in such a way speaks to a perversion of the language, or is it perhaps simple recognition that his meaning and the meaning of 'mere mortals' are clearly severed? Such a testament to Indian sensibilities and peacefulness that he could construct such a monument to excess in the middle of a city filled with squalor and despair.

Yet there is squalor and despair roaming the streets of America, not far from the most cherished monuments that supposedly attest to the values of the American people throughout our history. America should never forget that there was blood, and pain, and tears associated with those monuments. It cannot be denied that Pharaohs built pyramids even in the midst of famine, so it must be a behavioral trait that is acceptable on some level of human consciousness. In fact, our Indian friend might object since his argument is that his monument is a 'functional habitat', and the pyramids are simply a tomb. Is that a 'present life' or 'after life' argument for excess?

In the present economic and psychological environment the egalitarianism of the philosophers is of no use. It has the wispy and airy nature of lesser men sitting around a campfire enjoying the spoils of the hunt. Something we find in the museums or flung upon the trash-heap of history. Yet the memory is strong, it resides somewhere in our genes...and we know it is not right that we should eat while our brothers starve.

It is not clear how many of the middle class in America will join the ranks of the poverty-stricken. We know that millions of 'families have been removed from their primary abode. We know more millions have lost jobs and incomes from the economic shift of 'wealth' to fewer people(understand that it is an economic shift and not a diminution). The more we know, the greater the desire, and the need, for an expression of dissatisfaction with the status quo. In America, we use elections as the expression of dissatisfaction with our situation. It is not a perfect tool, for many reasons; many having to do with corruption, but a good deal having to do with ignorance of the truth.

Just like those men of old, sitting around that campfire, "even the poor and illiterate know 'injustice' when they see it." You see, the monuments are for those who dared to actually do something about it!

Posted by: llocat333 | November 8, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Never subtle or witty, unfailingly left wing, Ann Telnaes is the new Herblock. Give up the animations already. They add nothing to your silly cartoons.

Ann, answer me this. If income distribution is less equal, but everyone is making more income and has a higher standard of living, in real terms, is that a BAD thing?

Posted by: Peejay | November 8, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

To simplify this concept, think of the global financial system as a finely tuned poker game, in which most of the players have lost everything and can no longer play.

The sum of all the capital that keeps the game going is now held in very very few hands. That Capital is able to move around the world at the click of a mouse, and by its nature is bent on finding the highest return. Chasing bubbles is what it must do.

Giving the players more money, by extending them the opportunity to play with DEBT, could keep the game going just so long.

As the debt consumes the last losing player, the game must change to be a smaller and smaller game, with only the "winners" at the table.

And this is the situation we find ourselves in. Merger, acquisition, consolidation are the only reasons the game exists.

And at the end, the few become the very very few.

Posted by: rowens1 | November 8, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

stop whining about income distribution. the argument that a 1000:1 ratio from the 1950s is better than a 5000:1 ratio from now when living standards for everybody are actually higher with the later is fine BUT you need to make a logical argument with evidence in your favor - rather than simply relying on rhetoric and talking points.

Posted by: dummypants | November 8, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

stop whining about income distribution. the argument that a 1000:1 ratio from the 1950s is better than a 5000:1 ratio from now when living standards for everybody are actually higher with the later is fine BUT you need to make a logical argument with evidence in your favor - rather than simply relying on rhetoric and talking points.

Posted by: dummypants | November 8, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Eventually that balloon will pop.

Posted by: egc52556 | November 8, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

The rich are getting richer, the middle class is shrinking and the poor are getting poorer. The rich have used their wealth and power to increase their control and influence thanks to the help of The Supreme Court, Slanted News, Special Interest pressure, GOP actions and the growth of the TEA party. What will be the result is not a pleasant sight.

Posted by: MyVoice3 | November 8, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

And the workers who support the GOP are too ignorant to understand that THEY are victims of the Corporate Owned Party!

Madness! Insanity! Unbelievable! But Real!

Posted by: lufrank1 | November 7, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

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