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Monday, October 24, 2011

Wealth Gap Widens

Social Inequality In US Hits New Record

Earlier data released by the US Census Bureau established that every section of the population outside of the top 5 percent saw their real income fall between 2000 and 2005.

According to one recent study, while real income for the bottom 90 percent of the population fell by 11 percent between 1973 and 2005, those in the top .01 percent bracket, comprising some 14,000 households with annual incomes averaging nearly $13 million, saw their take increase by 250 percent over the same period.

What emerges from the data are the effects of a long-standing social policy involving a massive transfer of wealth from working people, the great majority of the population, to a handful of the super-wealthy, who have enriched themselves at the expense of the rest of society.

This is not merely an American, but rather a global policy that has been carried out on the backs of the working class of every country. A study released last week by the Boston Consulting Group found that the world's 9.6 million millionaires-comprising just 0.7 percent of the earth's population-now control $33.2 trillion in wealth-roughly a third of all the wealth in the world. According to the study, the world's wealthiest 0.1 percent-those with $5 million or more in financial assets-now owns 17.5 percent of global wealth.

Meanwhile, half of the world's population-some 3 billion people-live on less than $2 a day.

The demagogy of the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates about defending the "middle class" notwithstanding, these policies have been enacted by Democratic and Republican administrations alike. The growth of income inequality in America has continued unbroken since 1973, spurred by the high-interest-rate, recessionary policies enacted by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker-Democratic President Jimmy Carter's appointee-with the deliberate aim of driving up unemployment, slashing wages and unleashing a big business offensive against the working class.

By Bill Van Auken
16 October 2007