Why So Many Americans Are Voting Against the Status Quo, in One Chart

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They know they’ve gotten the short end of the stick for way too long. And with a weak recovery and short job tenures, they’ve got no reason to think this will get better.

Circulate this chart widely. From Macro Viewpoints (hat tip Scott):

Screen shot 2016-06-06 at 8.17.24 AM

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  1. inode_buddha

    Thanks, will be emailing/sharing this…. BTW plz double check headline sp, I think you dropped a letter “y”

    1. diptherio

      Nice catch. Unfortunately, changing the title will (probably) change the url too, which is currently mis-spelled as well. Something to watch out for if the typo gets corrected – this link probably won’t work anymore.

  2. oho

    the culture wars are only going to divide the bottom 90% for so long. if not 2016, soon… us politics will be about class wars, not the culture war.

    1. Lambert Strether

      And the Democrat Party will not rise to the challenge, exactly as neither they, nor the Whigs, did on slavery. Not that we’re anywhere near an 1860-style realignment.

      1. Nathanael

        Actually I suspect we’re very close to an 1860-style realignment. Free Soil Party only appeared in 1848 and the realignment happened 12 years later!

        Hopefully the sore losers in the right-wing elite won’t start a civil war like they did in the 1860s. I expect them to start a civil war, though.

    2. JustAnObserver

      Unfortunately “so long” has lasted from the 70s till now. 40+ years of deliberate cultural polarization – a symphony of dog whistles – used to mask economic stagnation for the 99% is going to be difficult to unwind.

      1. philnc

        “… a symphony of dog whistles”

        Damn that’s good.

        Make a great book or documentary title.

  3. rich

    The Cupertino Union School District has “discontinued” plans to build teacher housing at an old school site.

    The school board decided at the May 24 board meeting to relinquish the project, citing “tensions” among employees, parents, and community members as a reason for the discontinuation.
    The Cupertino Union School District announced in December plans to build over 200 affordable housing units at closed school site Luther Elementary School, 220 Blake Ave. in Santa Clara. The district said the housing project was an effort to keep teachers in the classroom. A mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments were proposed to be rented below market value.


    Wealthy Silicon Valley town (median home: $1.8M) cancels affordable teacher housing project after neighbors complain

      1. Alejandro

        There are no “market” solutions to “market” created dilemmas…a variation to a definition of insanity…where should the “twain meet”?

        1. Brian

          KUDOS to you that the market has no solutions since the “dilemmas” are the creation of the wealthiest who are insulated from dilemmas, ie: the others to live with and experience.

        2. Mike

          Quote of the Century – There are no “market” solutions to “market” created dilemmas

      2. James Levy

        Stalinist? Huh? Please explain that statement because I don’t understand what you mean. Perhaps when we gave away millions of acres to the railroads and then subsidized the transcontinental railroad, that was Stalinist, too? Hey, maybe we even invented Stalinism! Aren’t we Americans on the cutting edge of everything.

        1. Synoia

          Hey, maybe we even invented Stalinism! Aren’t we Americans on the cutting edge of everything.

          Absolutely. Compare the treatment of the American Indians with Stalin’s treatment of the Kulaks.

          Although I believe the Romans were earlier adopters in the Second Punic War.

          1. Rich_F

            I know your being facetious, but its not even remotely possible to compare what we Americans did to the native Americans, to Soviet “dekulakization” of the 1930’s…The Kulaks were fighting agricultural modernization programs in the Soviet Union, including (but not limited to collectivization). The Kulaks were, more-well off, landowning peasants left over from Czarist imperial “land reforms’ of the 19th century. They were, notorious for exploiting their fellow peasant farmers and for rowdy criminality in general .There is not a direct American class analogy for the social layer inhabited by the Kulaks , but a reasonable comparison is the “freemen”, or whatever Cliven Bundy and his followers called themselves in the most recent “patriot” uprising. Big differences are, the Kulaks were more numerous, more aggressive and were receiving backing from foreign govts. and agents (primarily Polish agents). The Soviet govt.(aka “Stalin”) was fairly patient with them until there was massive crop failure in the Ukraine and Volga river valley,(caused by climate conditions in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s) resulting in widespread famine. Then they (Kulaks) were dealt with harshly (by deportation and imprisonment not execution or “deliberate starvation”) , breaking them up as a class.

      3. reslez

        Calling an employee housing project “Stalinist”: what a refreshing display of vacuous capitalism-worship. These projects wouldn’t be needed if the wealthy refrained from stomping public workers in the face. Happily, there are some alternatives to Stalinist building projects!

        o Stop relying on communist public education to teach your kids. Hire private tutors like a real capitalist.
        o Pay teachers enough money to buy a house in the area. Although… that might increase taxes on the “winners”. Nevermind.
        o Allow teachers to become homeless. Send your kids a valuable message about winners and losers and the type of work the economy values (grifting, self-promotion and fraud)
        o Force teachers to commute increasingly longer distances, 2+ hours isn’t unusual in CA. I think they already tried this and teachers responded by quitting…
        o “Innovate”, left as an exercise to the reader. (I have discovered a truly remarkable solution which this comment is too small to contain…)

        1. jrs

          Well WAS IT employee housing or just a general affordable housing project? In other words did you need to show one family member was employed in the school district or was a teacher or something to live there?

          Because the article isn’t very clear. If it was just affordable housing available to all, then people sometimes oppose this for various reasons. I’m not taking an editorial position on that, I’m just saying it’s more complex if it was general affordable housing open to all comers as opposed to “school district employee” housing.

      4. Benedict@Large

        Yeah, let’s keep subsidizing gentrification.

        Trust me, “Stalinist-style housing” would be a great improvement for many people. And for the homeless, it would be a blessing.

        1. local to oakland

          Just removing the zoning and other ordinances that prevent us from having boarding houses or Japanese style pod hotels would help. Also there is no reason other than politics why a failed gym couldn’t be converted to a service center for homeless people, complete with lockers, showers, security, po boxes or other mailing address service, possibly banking etc. It wouldn’t even have to be non profit.

      5. Softie

        Can Adolf Hitler’s low cost housing for labor solution – largely financed by both employer and state – worktable here?

    1. Ivy

      Zuckerberg has plenty of extra space around his pad now that he bought out four neighbors. Hillary could work on a similar program in Chappaqua, although on a different scale.

      Imagine the carbon footprint benefit of dense housing supplemented by some thoughtful transportation to those Cupertino and other job sites. I don’t know what the answer is, I’m just imagining.

      1. Phil

        Monday trivia: Zuckerberg bought the first house (of four) for about 50% more than it was worth. The other three he paid WAY over market for – I think it was something like $15M for four houses, that at the time were worth less than half of that in the “normal” market.

        I heard Zuckerberg leased back some of the properties to the owners. Guess they are going to go away, now that Zuckerberg wants privacy, which is in itself a HUGE irony, given what Lyin’ Mark Zuckerberg promised Facebook members about privacy – promises that he broke on a regular basis. Karma.

        1. sierra7

          Not to be even considered “pocket change” for MZ….just saying….
          Most of my family lives and works in Silicon Valley…incredibly difficult housing problems for just the ordinary worker…..If you’re not making $80-100,000 annually with bennies you’re not a homeowner (unless multiple families shape up to do it)….
          We are a sick, sick society; public education of our most precious members, our kids and grandkids gets shoved to the back of the bus….
          In my opinion it’s generally the people’s fault when their local, state or national governments tromp all over them in a social sense….that’s what’s been happening for decades in the US.
          A military-industrial-corporate-incumbent politician group sucking the life out of our society.
          “You have a Republic if you can keep it” (Ben Franklin)
          We may be getting close to the time that that prospect will have to be fought all over again in the streets because the ballot box is/has failed most of us.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Do not, please, blame “the people.”

            That assertion assumes a degree of awareness and autonomy on the part of billions of us that has studiously and industriously been demolished over a long-game century or more by the Fokkers who now rule us mopes. Us mopes, who believe that elections matter, who don’t have a prayer of recognizing how they have been prepped since birth for immobility (what a sick concept itself, “mobility”– implies, and seems to work out, that the only way “up” is by pushing others under the surface…) and manipulated and looted by the very small class of people that first figured out how to start the gaming of the system, and now own almost everything. Including the mythical “representative government” that with assent of the “representatives” in all branches, makes ‘everything all nice and legal-like.’ Because we mopes need the comforting myths that there are laws, rule of law enforcement, regulation, direction, control, Freedom’n’Liberty (TM), and we are aware, consciously or not, that we have no power to rule ourselves, or much talent for it. We delegate our franchise and our autonomy, we are taught with endless repetition and reinforcement that this is fitting and proper, and most of us live the lives of beasts of burden.

            And in this charmed space, in this briefly tolerated “Freedom Zone,” we can tell each other that we have power or the potential for it, that the masses will rise up, that “tech” won’t kill us but make our lives “better,” that AI-activated autonomous war machines will not go off the reservation, after making a few of us rich and perfectly comfortable for their lifetimes (after which “Who cares? IBG, beyond consequences!”) off the transition to post-humanity. Et fokking cetera.

            There are a lot of Quislings who go along to get along, who help boost the ascendant few (who will kill most of us for a buck) to higher quantum states, in the hope of self-advancement on the slipstreams of the parasites. But to say it’s “the people” that put in place the global “trade agreements,” that privatize local public utilities, suborn zoning and planning bodies and school boards and statehouses and on up the chain? Nope, that is not at all how it works.

            Picking examples from nature to apply to understanding of human systems is scorned by believers in exceptional humankind, but this one sure looks apposite to me:

            Scientists have discovered that ants use a drug on herds of aphids to make them move more slowly so they do not scatter and can be more easily “milked”

            Chemicals on ants’ feet tranquilize and subdue colonies of aphids, keeping them close-by as a ready source of food, says a new study throws new light on the complex relationship between ants and the colonies of aphids whose sugary secretions the ants eat.

            The reason ants do this is that the chemicals increase the number of aphids locally available, providing a renewable energy source for the ant colony, the sugar-rich sticky honeydew excreted by aphids, concludes a paper published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences.

            The development of these chemicals could ultimately lead to methods to prevent the spread of disease-causing blackfly and whitefly pests.

            The ants manipulate, and even protect, the aphids to get most out of them, according to Tom Oliver of Imperial College London, and Alla Mashanova of Royal Holloway, University of London and colleagues at the University of Reading.

            The research used a digital camera and specially modified software to measure the walking speed of aphids when they were placed on filter paper that had previously been walked over by ants. The data showed that the aphids’ movement was much slower when they were on paper that had been walked on by ants, than on plain paper.

            Ants often harm aphids to exploit them, for example by biting off their wings or using chemicals to sabotage wing development. Making aphids walk up to one third more slowly with a kind of tranquilliser could be one more example of the control exerted by the ants.

            The team points out that ant-attended aphid colonies tend to be bigger, and they suggest that the tranquillising chemicals discovered may be a reason for this.

            Tom Oliver notes that aphids may benefit from remaining close to the ants, as ants protect aphids from predators such as ladybirds.

            There may also be costs for aphids, however, because ants will also prey on aphids themselves when they need protein. So things don’t always run smoothly in the relationship between aphids and ants.

            Professor Vincent Jansen of Royal Holloway’s School of Biological Sciences, concludes “Although both parties benefit from the interaction, this research shows is that all is not well in the world of aphids and ants.

            The aphids are manipulated to their disadvantage: for aphids the ants are a dangerous liaison.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/3309936/Ants-subdue-their-aphid-prey-with-drugs.html

            1. different clue

              The next step in this dance would be for aphids to evolve to excrete simple proteins or even just polypeptides along with the sugar in the honeydew. Then the ants could get all their amino acid needs from the proteinated honeydew without having to eat any of the ants. The aphids could become even more dependent on the ants for protection as the ants gain incentive to protect the aphids without ever eating them.

    2. Phil

      Cupertino,welcome to Palo Alto! Same thing happened in PA; the city is now one of the most obnoxious, self-prepossessing places in the Bay Area – full of itself and filled with hand-wringers who fret over trifles. Meanwhile, no middle class person can afford the place.

      San Francisco can’t find enough teachers, either. Hey, try commuting from deep in the East Bay every day – wake up at 5AM to make it to school on time. I know a woman who drives 90 *each way* minutes from Tracy to Fremont, to teach science classes. She gets up at 4:45, every day. Insane!

    3. Mike G

      I just looked up the modest old tract home in an average neighborhood in Cupertino where I briefly lived in the late 80s.
      It’s been torn down and replaced with a 4300sq ft McMansion that just sold for $3m.
      And I thought the real estate frenzy was ridiculous back then. Silly Valley is basically uninhabitable to anyone who isn’t rich.

    4. DJS

      It was the right decision. Even the employee unions recognized that the school site, serving over 500 children today as a preschool, will continue to be needed in the future, due to all the projected growth in the area and overcrowding in schools. A better solution would be to have developers set aside subsidized teacher housing, but will they do it if it comes out of their pockets instead of the community?

      “The leadership of CEA, CSEA, SEIU, and the District, collectively recommend to the Board of Trustees that we do not move forward with the employee-housing concept at this time.”

      The “tensions” were created by the superintendent, Wendy Gudalewicz, and her decision to hold months of closed door sessions, and not meet with the surrounding community (and not conduct any teacher surveys) prior to the press event, which was arranged by a public relations firm. So the “tensions” are actually between administration and others (teachers and parents). Just google “west valley elementary”, and you’ll see the word “tensions” again.

      “The district’s superintendent, Wendy Gudalewicz, citing laws protecting employee privacy, steadfastly refuses to elaborate on her contention that “tension” and “school culture” demanded a highly unusual and mind-boggling makeover of the 600-student school.”

    1. Jef

      “capital goes where it’s well treated, but labor can’t.”

      Thus capitalism, like all other board games, has an end game. some win (10%) and most lose (90%).

      But as long as everyone believes that they have a shot at joining the 10% the game will keep being played to the END.

    2. jrs

      Where is labor well treated where that good treatment isn’t somewhat dependent on LIMITING immigration? Capitalism doesn’t treat labor well anywhere and it won’t on a capitalist globe. So no a mobile labor force won’t solve the problem.

    3. Jef

      I would say; capital goes wherever the f#@k it wants , but labor always ends up as slavery.

    4. different clue

      If labor were allowed to “go where it likes”, then capital would be able to treat labor as just another capital. Labor would be encouraged to migrate from the “labor treated badly” places to the “labor treated well” places. Badly treated labor would be encouraged to enter in such huge numbers so as to bid the treatment levels for labor in the target areas down, down, ever down . . . until capital could treat labor just as badly in the “labor treated well” areas as in the “labor treated badly” areas.

      The United States is an example of that process at work and being worked as a racket. “Capital” is importing all the illegal alien labor it can in order to create whole zones of “illegal semi-slavery” conditions here in America.

  4. DrunkPiano

    Misleading graph? It misses 30% of people. I suppose they also enriched themselves like the top 10% so the graph was less “readable”, but nonetheless… Oh and I thought “middle class” was bigger than 20% of people, but I’m no expert.

  5. Take the Fork

    Anybody: What proportion of the population did each cohort occupy in ’98 and ’13 respectively?

      1. Take the Fork

        What I thought I was asking was: what % of the population did each quartile represent in ’98 as against ’13? I assume that a greater % of the total was in the lower class in ’13 than in ’98. But what was the change?

        1. downunderer

          Those are quintiles, not quartiles in the chart.

          If they were quartiles, there could be no middle!

  6. Alfred

    Following the article link to Macro Viewpoints clearly shows this to be a hit piece attacking Obama and both Clintons leaving reality behind.

    As one example point five tries to link Hillary to the violence at the San Jose Trump rally and then to Benghazi in a convoluted arrangement of misinformation as if all three are related. Oh the alleged conspiratorial mind set of the Clintons coming from this disjointed right wing hit piece.

    Then in point six, with the use of the chart singularly reproduced but not explained by NC, ALL economic duress is laid on Clinton and Obama completely disregarding the eight years of Bush II right in the middle of it all. The effort to link 40 years of economic regression for 90% of the population on the two Democratic presidents is disingenuous at best and should be considered an outright lie.

    Though I think posting the chart is edifying linking to the misinformation and political propaganda from this right wing hit piece is a mistake for NC. Pure Trash.

    1. washunate

      Just to be clear, you are not disputing the information here? Your only beef is with the editorializing at MV?

    2. reslez

      NC never mentioned Obama or Clinton. You haven’t disputed the factual nature of the chart. What is your actual contribution to the discussion, aside from an ad hom fallacy?

      The truth is that both Republicans and Democrats have happily presided over the destruction of the 99% for longer than I’ve been alive. The sooner the rest of us notice the sooner things might change. As long as partisans like Alfred throw shade on those of us who’ve noticed the truth, however, we’re probably doomed to an ongoing puppet show. They present a false choice of left-Corporatists vs right-Corporatists while the already wealthy rob us blind, destroy the environment, and condemn us to premature death.

      1. Alfred


        “NC never mentioned Obama or Clinton. You haven’t disputed the factual nature of the chart. What is your actual contribution to the discussion, aside from an ad hom fallacy?”

        NC dropped the ball by linking to Macro Viewpoints, wherein lies the mention of Obama and Clinton, without pointing out the one sided nature of commentary at that site. By linking without commenting one can construe that NC abides to the content of the link. Our beloved posters usually comment on the veracity of links, this time a comment was overlooked.

        I think my comment clearly pointed out the value of the chart, so yes you are correct, I “haven’t disputed the factual nature of the chart”. I did point out the distorting nature of the chart by limiting the dates and disregarding the term of Bush II in the Macro Viewpoints editorial however. We all should know by now that the reversal of gains made by the 90% began in the 70’s and accelerated under Reagan not 1998. Presenting only information that attacks Clinton and Obama is where you’ll find “partisanship”, not in my comment as you claim.

        I would also hope you would adjust your characterization of my comment as an ad hominem fallacy. I did attack the substance of the Macro Viewpoints article. That I chastised NC for linking to “Pure Trash” is more of a practical or speculative reasoning process not an ad hominem attack.

        I don’t want to get into a row as I agree completely both establishment political parties are in the pockets of the wealthy and are in fact destroying the world for human habitation. Arguing amongst ourselves as to which is the worse is exactly where “they” want us. I also don’t think this forum wants back and forth bickering. For what it’s worth since ’68 I’ve only voted major party presidential candidate three times and it won’t be a fourth this year without Bernie.

        I’ll just stand by what I wrote as a objective attack on Macro Viewpoints, a subjective insult for NC, and leave it at that.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          That is rubbish. It is intellectually dishonest to excerpt finished work from another site and not credit it by naming the source and providing a link back. You are advocating that I engage in plagiarism.

    3. Lambert Strether

      I’ve seen decade’s-worth of disjointed right-wing hit pieces and this is not one of them (though it’s not a post for electoral politics junkies, for sure).

      On “ALL economic duress is laid on Clinton and Obama completely,” I think you missed this: “[T]he bottom 90% of the American people have been economically damaged under three past Presidents, two Democrats & one Republican.” It’s right under the chart.

      On the San Jose rally, I haven’t seen much reliable reporting at all; this is the best, from Kos, amazingly enough.

      1. Alfred

        When thirty tabs bogs down your browser the probable problem is RAM not the choice of browser. I’m sure IT experts could give you a better read on this subject than myself but as you can see from my previous comments I’m not one to hold my tongue regardless of my expertise.

        And now I will need to be the jerk and go past my “I’ll leave it at that” and jump back in. Yes the unidentified damaging Republican administration is noted but the identifying name, Bush II, is not mentioned throughout the article except to place a third person in the administration. Clinton I, Clinton possibly II, and Obama in other points are clearly identified and charged. Seems one sided to me.

        Please feel free to use any plant pictures from http://BoulderFallColors.blogspot.com Sorry no fungi there.

        A triple play for sure.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Geez, hair splitting on “Red Team/Blue Team” issues.
          People need to understand there is one team and they have been squeezing the 90% for the benefit of the 10% forever. The 10% is quickly becoming the 1%. It will then become 0.10%. And the squeeze is accelerating.
          Laying blame on Team Red or Team Blue is exactly what they want you to do, it obscures the real alignment: Capital versus Labor. Haves and Have-nots. Fer chrissakes in the richest country on Earth 2/3rds of people can’t scrape up $1000 for an emergency.

    1. Vatch

      Thanks. I think this is a better article than the one at Macro Viewpoints, which, as Alfred points out, does not give the Republicans enough blame for this tragic situation.

  7. James Levy

    Technically, Alfred, you have a case, but it ignores a salient fact: the chart is presented here to demonstrate why so many people are fed up with the status quo, and the Clintons and Obama are unquestionably part of that status quo. Millions of Americans have had it with the Washington Consensus. My problem with all this is that from where I sit Sanders is the real challenge to the consensus, while Trump is just a demagogue pretending to be a challenge to that consensus. What really worries me is why even MORE people are not angry and disaffected enough to vote for Sanders. The chart would indicate that he should have the nomination locked up by now. Clinton shenanigans alone do not answer the awkward question, why has Sanders not done better given the reality of that chart?

    1. Marco

      Perhaps his light velvet glove touch campaigning against Hillary? So only now (the weekend before the CA primary) he decides to question the Saudi donation to the Clinton Foundation?

      1. Ken Hoop

        Well he wanted the Saudis to take a more active military role in the Mideast, like they haven’t decimated Yemen enough. I suppose if they ever started acting like Palestine should be freed before Iran and Shiism subdued he might have a case….

        1. different clue

          Sanders has always been very local and domestic focused in his attention. He has never actually known or studied all that very much about the granular detail of foreign affairs or situations, so far as I know. So that leaves him somewhat a victim of the Washington Consensus on foreign affairs.

          He is a busy man, but perhaps he could spare a few minutes a day to start reading Colonel Lang’s blog Sic Semper Tyrannis . . . to learn about a whole different narrative equally supportable by actual facts. Then he could at least think about that whole different narrative. If he has any intelligence people reading these threads, one hopes they recommend Sic Semper Tyrannis to him.

    2. pretzelattack

      sometimes when people are getting desperate, but haven’t abandoned all hope, they cling to the familiar? i really can’t understand it.

    3. steelhead23

      The media. When the MSM wasn’t ignoring him, it ridiculed him, painted him pink, and otherwise made it seem that Hillary “had the nomination all wrapped up.”

      As regards why people accept the status quo, even when proffered change would benefit them, I offer the view of two friends, both quite bright and both support Clinton. They share a view that while capitalism, including crony capitalism as practiced in the U.S., is corrupt and inequitable, they fear change because it might complicate, or even diminish, their lives – principally by lowering the standard of living. These folks are fatalists, believing that “things never change”, and if they did change, it would be change for the worse. I suspect this fear of change dominates the Clinton bandwagon.

      1. Softie

        they fear change because it might complicate, or even diminish, their lives – principally by lowering the standard of living
        Based on your description of them, they seem not bright at all. It seems that they can’t see it’s-the-sunset-in-America. Apparently they can’t understand huge changes, particularly the negative impact on their own lifestyles, are inevitable, when the Empire flushes itself down the toilet. At this juncture near the end of the Empire, the ruling elites desperately want more for themselves nothing for the rest. They will take the population to WW3 hoping to prolong their raping of the rest of the world. They will suffer their total defeat just like all the empires before, undoubtedly. The biggest lesson of history is that rulers don’t learn from history.

      2. ekstase

        Yes. A lot of people get their concept of who they are, and how they rate economically, from mainstream media. That is changing, but it’s had a stranglehold on at least two generations of Americans. This is a big country, and it’s pretty hard to get the picture that this is happening all over it, without honest media. I remember about 20 years ago, being asked by a young recent immigrant whether achieving the American Dream were still possible. What ran through my mind then was: 1) I don’t have the data to prove this one way or another; 2) I sure hope so; and 3) I really don’t want to crush your dreams.

        Aside from the hope and empathy portions, things have certainly changed.

    4. sd

      A larger number of people than one would like are not willing to think for themselves. They do not want to be challenged. They want to be coddled, protected and follow in the footsteps of a leader who will make all of the decisions. They never have to take responsibility because someone else is doing the thinking for them which means they do not ever have to be proven wrong.

      Sanders is specifically telling people to seize responsibility and change the system. For too many, that’s just impossible. It’s also why many people do not vote, voting requires taking responsibility.

      I am not saying that Clinton voters are incapable of accepting or taking responsibility. This is about why more are not attracted to Sanders platform.

  8. washunate

    Agreed. Distribution is the economic challenge of our time. It didn’t start with the GFC in 2007. It isn’t caused by Mexico (or China, or Russia, or anyone else). And virtually our entire Democratic pundit/intellectual class has been trying to distract attention from it.

    1. Softie

      People have been systematically deprived of lessons from history and a whole set of vocabulary to express their unfreedom. That most famous sentence from the 19th century still needs to be repeated today: “Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.”

  9. allan

    The corresponding figures for the top 1.0%, 0.1% and .01% would be revealing.
    Did the Fed aggregate the data that way?

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Excellent point!

      The gap between even top 10% and 1% is huge.
      The gap between 1% and .01% is even more astronomical.
      Idiocy like taxing carried interest at 15%, plus offshore tax havens, is only accelerating the growing gap between even the 10% and the 1%.

  10. Softie

    I dont know whether or not the above net worth numbers are inflation-adjusted. If not, the real situation is far worse for the bottom 90%. Without people’s organized resistance to money and power, the ruling elite can prolong their suffering. I believe what we’re witnessing here is the first baby step for a historical movement that is unfolding right in front of our eyes. On the other hand, the ruling elite may want to inflict enough pain so that the population will echo the elite’s cries for WW3.

    1. Vatch

      The caption on the chart says “figures in 2013 dollars”. I missed that at first, too.

  11. readerOfTeaLeaves

    As if to support Yves’ essay in Politico last week, msnbc has a new analysis of polling results that quantifies what Yves was writing in her essay: many Sanders voters are moderates, but they are extremely unlikely to vote for Clinton:

    The pollsters are shocked! Shocked!! that the Sanders voters are moderates.

    It’s too bad the poll results don’t dig into a better economic analysis, because I’m guessing that many of the voter categories in this poll fall roughly in the ‘working class’ and also ‘middle class’ boxes in the chart above.

    IMVHO, both the poll and this chart are vindicating Sanders’ point that almost all the money since 2008 has gone to to top 1%. The parasites have eaten the host, but if the msnbc analysis is correct, it’s the moderates who see this most clearly and will not vote Clinton because that’s a vote for continuing to enable economic parasitism.

    I hope that a lot of super delegates read that essay by Yves, because I think that she nailed some essential dynamics. This chart and the msnbc poll analysis are more evidence supporting her analysis.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Count me as a Sanders-supporting moderate who wouldn’t vote for Clinton on a bet.

  12. gonzomarx

    I guess this also applies for the UK. Kinda fits with the EU referendum being used as a chance to give a giant fuck you to the establishment.

    less than a year after voting in the most establishment party…..as a man said people are strange

    Mark Thomas Thatcher v Cameron

  13. RBHoughton

    Well that graphically explains why a recovery still eludes us.

    And it goes beyond discomfort and unhappiness in the homeland, increasing credit card and other debt, sleepless nights, fear and loathing.

    To maintain inwards investment we (perhaps coincidentally) have numerous areas of the world in conflict or likely to become so, where all savings are being shipped off to New York for their preservation.

    Together with magic bits of paper this is the source of economic vitality until someone somewhere (Bernie?) recognises that repairing the domestic economy is the first step on the path of returning global happiness.

  14. Russell

    As the Clintons are with Finance banking and for prolonging the Drug War at the Federal level our betrayal by our last hope in last election I work to make it a fight for USPO Service banking so the sides are well drawn.
    Make them try to convince the people why not.

  15. Hui

    Noob question here,is net worth the same as income? Wouldn’t income matter more to people especially to anyone outside the top 10%?

    1. washunate

      No, not the same, but related concepts. Net worth is the cumulative effect of income over time. It’s what’s left over after people have purchased what they need to live. So there can be some difference (a high income person can live large and thus not have anything left), but in aggregate, across a lot of households, net worth is a great summary data point on how resources are distributed in society.

      A little longer answer: At any given time, income matters, and there’s a lot on that. Net worth gives you an easy snapshot into longer trends, especially as progressive taxation has been undermined, which means that a high income today is worth more after taxes than a high income used to be worth.

      Two things in particular have happened to wage related income over the past four to five decades or so:

      1) The components that comprise personal income (wage related income, dividend income, capital gain income, gift income, etc.) have changed. In particular, there is less wage related income than there used to be relative to other types of income, and financial income (like dividends and capital gains) is actually taxed at a lower rate. In combination with lower marginal tax brackets, that’s one of the other major ways the principle of progressive income taxation has been undermined, by creating exceptions (loopholes). By sheer coincidence (as the apologists would assure us), people with more income and more net worth just so happen to benefit disproportionately from these loopholes.

      2) Even within that shrinking wage related income component, completely ignoring the greater return and lower taxes from other sources, there has been a shift upwards to a more heavily concentrated distribution of wages. The top 20%, and especially the top 10%, earn a larger share of the total than they used to. This has happened as the fundamental link between productivity and median wages that was built up in the post-war world through New Deal and Great Society era legislation on worker rights, social insurance, financial regulations, and similar pressures has been broken.

      Today, there is very little linkage between the value a worker produces and the compensation a worker receives (if anything, one could argue, there is a linkage – but it is a negative correlation. Connected insiders involved in looting do a lot better than workers actually providing valuable services; predation is what pays today. Importantly, this staffing policy comes directly from public policy itself in how it funds various positions at enormously different compensation levels.)

      This has a variety of consequences in contemporary experience. For example, older Americans have tended to hold more influential positions in the workforce (to a certain extent, this is expected of course in that people with seniority and connections to people with seniority tend to run things, but the point here is the trend, where people running things are seeing accelerated compensation relative to people not in positions of power). The wage gap between younger workers and older workers has grown over time. That situation is manifesting itself remarkably clearly in this particular primary season where voters under 30 are going enormously for Sanders while voters over 65 are going enormously for Clinton. Most of the stress in our system is more nuanced and complicated than that, but the age gap on the Dem primary race is so blatant it is breathtaking.

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