I’ve been reading Elizabeth Warren’s new book “A Fighting Chance,” and I’m about to start Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” so I’m getting a short course on the American financial system and income and wealth inequality.
Ezra Kline at Vox had a pretty good explainer on why income inequality isn’t as serious a problem as wealth inequality:
Then I remembered that back at the beginning of the year, the folks at Bloomberg News pointed out the latest developments in income inequality:
Even those with college degrees are having trouble keeping up …. While they earn more than those with less schooling, they’ve seen no real wage growth in recent years. The median income of men 25 years of age and older with a bachelor’s degree was $56,656 last year, 10 percent less than in 2007 after taking account of inflation, according to Census data.
“It’s very difficult for anyone middle-income and lower,” said Ryan Sekac, 26, a mechanical engineer in Westerly, Rhode Island. “There was a time when it was easier.”
It hard for people in the middle income and lower. But for the wealthy?
In the meantime, record-high stock prices are enriching wealthier Americans, exacerbating polarization and bringing income inequality to the political forefront. Even independent government agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve have been dragged into the debate. …
The richest 10 percent of Americans earned a larger share of income last year than at any time since 1917, according to Emmanuel Saez, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. Those in the top one-tenth of income distribution made at least $146,000 in 2012, almost 12 times what those in the bottom tenth made, Census Bureau data show.
And just one more thing for people who are middle class and anti-union to get into their thick skulls:
The decline of unions — 11.3 percent of workers were represented in 2012 compared with 20.1 percent in 1983 — has advantaged bosses at the expense of their employees.
I should have studied economics back in college when I had the chance. There’s so much catching up to do.