The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

US like developing nations in income inequality

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The USA is becoming more akin to Sri Lanka, Mali, and Russia in income inequality than it is like Sweden, Switzerland, or the UK. We’re starting to resemble a developing nation with huge gaps between the very rich and the rest of us, while the middle class loses ground.

Is it really wise to offer more breaks for the rich? Where’s the trickle-down from the last eight years?

clipped from www.dailykos.com

The Gini index (or coefficient) is a measure of income inequality, with 0 meaning everyone has the same income and 1 meaning one person has all income and everyone else has none. As Elizabeth Gudrais noted recently in Harvard Magazine’s Unequal America:

For the United States, the Gini coefficient has risen from .35 in 1965 to .44 today. On the per-capita GDP scale, our neighbors are Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.; on the Gini scale, our neighbors include Sri Lanka, Mali, and Russia.

Those some are becoming more numerous as a result of declining earnings. Real weekly wages (real: meaning adjusted for inflation) in the United States rose during every decade from 1830 to 1970. But since 1973, it’s been mostly a downhill slide, with the exception of the late ‘90s.

1964: $686

1974: $714

1984: $632

1994: $589

2004: $630

2008: $612

The wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005
The bottom 50% earned 12.8% of all income, down from 13.4% in 2004
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Written by Monte

October 26, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Posted in Politics

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