The Great Recession and the slump that followed have triggered a jobs crisis that’s been making headlines
since before President Obama was in office, and that will likely be with us for years. But the American economy is also plagued by a less-noted, but just as serious, problem: Simply put, over the last 30 years, the gap between rich and poor has widened into a chasm.
Gradual developments like this don’t typically lend themselves to news coverage. But Mother Jones magazine has crunched the data on inequality, and put together a group of stunning new charts
. Taken together, they offer a dramatic visual illustration of who’s doing well and who’s doing badly in modern America.
Here are three samples:
This chart shows that the poorest 90 percent of Americans make an average of $31,244 a year, while the top 1 percent make over $1.1 million:
• According to this chart, most income groups have barely grown richer since 1979. But the top 1 percent has seen its income nearly quadruple:
• And this chart suggests most Americans have little idea of just how unequal income distribution is. And that they’d like things to be divvied up a lot more equitably:
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(“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1812
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a moneyed aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.” – Thomas Jefferson
“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” – Thomas Jefferson)