Charting Inequality

One would hope we’ve learned something from the experiences of the 20th century: about war, about race, about gender, about imperialism (oops!) . . . but if the more esoteric of these observations has escaped us, perhaps we can at least agree that unchecked capitalism leads to obscene inequality, economic instability, and widespread hardship? Well, maybe not.

Fortunately for those of us who prefer books with pictures, we have a gazillion charts to illustrate how crazy and imbalanced our economy has become.

The tax revolt of the late 70s began in California and spread to the White House, where the Reagan Administration slashed taxes on the wealthy from 70% to 28%. The decades that followed were characterized by a monumental redistribution of wealth upward and a widening income gap.

By 2007, the bottom 80% of Americans controlled a fraction of the country’s wealth. The majority of Americans can literally be bought and sold by a small group of their fellow citizens.

Though their income sky-rocketed, tax rates on the rich continued to decline.

And just in case you were hoping that maybe just a teensy bit of the income gains of the rich trickled down to at least the upper-middle class–WRONG.

But the most worrisome US economic trend is only visible when we take a long-term perspective.

A few years into this crisis, the income at the top slowed somewhat–but has resumed. The crash has resulted in no significant wealth redistribution, and concentration continues. Below are a few more charts.

5 Responses to “Charting Inequality”

  1. Richard Booth October 24, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    Love the site. May I suggest adding an ‘About’ page, as it would be nice to know who’s perspective this is coming from i.e. students, faculty, staff, or alumni, or how to get in touch. I’ve been working on a similar project here:

    I’d love to work with you in the future on any ideas you might have. Always need more comrades in arms. Email me if you’d like: richardjeffersonbooth [at] gmail

    • migrationlawwatch November 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

      Thanks! I added the page you suggested. Our curriculum was created by graduate students active in the movement. It’s being taught all over UC campuses by undergrads, grads, lecturers, and profs. Let us know if you have any suggestions!

  2. logandolsen November 15, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    very insightful!

  3. jfadsk jads July 27, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Why are you against the top 1%?


  1. Teach-In Kit! « Teach the Budget - November 1, 2011

    […] Charting Inequality […]

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