Why U.S. Income Inequality Is More Fr...

Why U.S. Income Inequality Is More Frightening Than Europe's

Posted in the Denver Forum

“Invisible Pink Unicorn”

Since: May 08

Location hidden

#1 Jan 26, 2013
Income inequality is not a uniquely American problem. Over the past 30 years, it's surged across the developed world, driven by everything from the insane wealth generated by big finance to the victory of computers (and offshoring) over blue-collar labor.

That said, there's a case to be made that U.S. income inequality is in fact exceptional, and not just because of its severity. I was reminded of that last night, when I saw this graphic from a 2008 report by the OECD making its way around Twitter. In broad terms, what it tells us is that in many developed countries, a rising tide has truly lifted all boats, with the wealthy rising a bit faster. In the United States, the tide is lifting up the rich, while drowning many of the poor.

The chart shows the average annual rate at which earnings rose for full-time working men (in dark blue) and women (in light blue) in each 10 percent bracket from 1980 to 2005. So the poorest men and women are on the left of each chart, and the richest are on the right.

Like their peers across the developed world, American women's earnings rose as they broke into the labor force -- though less so for lower-income women. For American men, it was a different story. Among the upper-middle-class and rich, male earnings inched up on the whole. Among the lower-middle class and poor, their incomes shrank. The only other country that saw a similar phenomenon was Canada, where incomes seemed to stagnate in general.*
That's what's so frightening about the way the U.S. economy was changing even before the Great Recession. It's not just that the rich saw their finances improve faster than everyone else's. It's that many Americans were seeing the value of their work, and in some cases their standard of living, decline. And that makes us at least a little bit special, in a very unfortunate way.

*A necessary caveat: this chart doesn't cover part-time workers, and their inclusion might affect Europe's statistics more than America's. But the changes to full-time workers' earnings are important on their own terms.

Charts
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2...

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Denver Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
News Lawmakers Consider Gay Discrimination Policies 11 min lides 5,804
News Colo. gay discrimination alleged over wedding cake (Jun '13) 14 min lides 22,837
last post wins! (Feb '11) 5 hr Icnoptnthis 25,189
Republicans the party of LIARS (Dec '11) 7 hr Felix 18,709
Hillary Clinton OUR next President 12 hr Lynette 41
Murderous White Cops 17 hr Confederacy 7
would any woman be willing to take my virginity... Thu paco20 1
More from around the web

Denver People Search

Addresses and phone numbers for FREE

Personal Finance

Denver Mortgages