The 400: What they don’t want us to know about growing wealth inequality in America

Presdident Obama’s speech last week on the threat of growing income inequality in the US was generally blown off by the corporate media. The problem is not generally recognized or understood because Americans have a poor grasp of the actual situation (see video below) or of how much worse things have gotten over the past 20 years.

G. William Domhoff keeps one of the best sites for America’s increasingly skewed income distribution. It is a continuation of his classic, Who Rules America?. I remember when that book came out, some reviewers said that the top 10% of Americans were over 2 million people, and they could never coordinate ruling class policy because the group was just too big. But now that 400 people have more wealth than the bottom 50%, surely you could have a small conference to decide things. Or you could organize ALEC to shape legislation to favor the interests of the 400.

Here is the classic video

What you don’t know about the real scale of inequality in America:

3 Responses

  1. This is quite important, and the reason is explained in another video, which you can find in this post. I think some of the changes we see in our society reflect the kind of erosion of moral and ethical values that seem to accompany wealth (and the feeling of being wealthy). Highly recommended video.

    The reason I bring this up is that people looking at the inequality may think, “So what? Some people are lucky and have lots of money, most of us don’t.” It’s more than that. The effects of wealth on the personality are pernicious, and those effects really exist.

  2. Isn’t this inevitable with capitalism if there are no countering forces to individual money-making? The more money you have, the more power you have, including the power to give yourself more money and secure your position.

    As Thomas Frank illustrated so well in “What’s the Matter with Kansas”, the rich and powerful have even managed to get the little guy ranting and raving about the evils of socialism and the progressive income tax even as he watches his income and standard of living decline.

    From the banksters who keep popping right back up, to the politicians (like Hillary) who do the same, to Mr. Clapper who lies to Congress with no consequences, the rich and powerful are a network that protects its own, a kind of invisible union of those who are outspoken on the evils of unions. This rich and powerful networking combined with the lack of a law limiting campaign financing to public funding is also behind the inability of the United States to exert even the slightest pressure on Israel. One of the first things a candidate for President must do is make a pilgrimage to Israel.

    Since members of the network occupy the three branches of government (though the House less so) and are the board members/CEO’s of all the significant corporations, where is reform to start?

    We have a system that selects for those who crave money and power and that has given us a democracy of lobbies, not of the people.

  3. Excellent post, thanks. It adds evidence to the fact we have become a colony, worse than the British one.
    It’s a pity that Obama has not been able to deliver the Proclamation of Independence as he once suggested he would do.

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