According to the Economic Policy Institute, “Income inequality has risen in every state since the 1970s and in many states is up in the post-Great Recession era. In 24 states, the top 1 percent captured at least half of all income growth between 2009 and 2013, and in 15 of those states, the top 1 percent captured all income growth. In another 10 states, top 1 percent incomes grew in the double digits, while bottom 99 percent incomes fell. For the United States overall, the top 1 percent captured 85.1 percent of total income growth between 2009 and 2013. In 2013 the top 1 percent of families nationally made 25.3 times as much as the bottom 99 percent.”
In short, the extremely wealthy few are getting richer while the income of the rest of us is either stagnant or falling. Why? Because the economy remains far below full employment, the bargaining power of U.S. workers has been steadily eroded, and we allow CEOs and financial-sector executives to appropriate more than their fair share of the nation’s expanding economic pie while laying off low-level workers as a way to increase their income. We made things far worse when we passed Trump’s “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” in 2017, significantly reducing taxes on those with the most money.
It’s within our power to reverse this economic disaster, but it will take hard work on the part of the Democrats in Congress and the White House. I’m confident that the Biden administration will move quickly to rectify this wrong.