Thursday, November 17, 2011

Think Again: Billionaire Media Moguls vs. Occupy Wall Street

Go read this whole thing from Eric Alterman. It's worth your time.--SS

Think Again: Billionaire Media Moguls vs. Occupy Wall Street:

Lost among this tone of self-congratulation by the millionaires and billionaires who are lucky enough to buy their ink by the barrel are not only their alleged commitment to the protection of the first amendment but the facts themselves that inspired the protests.

So let’s recall just a few of them. For instance

  • In 1974 the top 0.1 percent of American families earned 2.7 percent of all income in the country. By 2007 this same tiny slice of the population had increased its holdings to fully 12.3 percent, roughly five times as great a piece of the pie as it had enjoyed just three decades earlier. (see here and here)
  • Half the U.S. population now 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.
  • By the end of 2010, as corporate profits rose to 15 percent of national income—their biggest share of the economy since such statistics became available nearly 70 years earlier—the share going to workers’ wages fell to its lowest level in the same period.

These numbers have consequences. Wednesday morning’s New York Times publicized the release of a new report documenting the slow-motion destruction of the American middle class “as rising income inequality left a growing share of families in neighborhoods that are mostly low-income or mostly affluent.”

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