Thursday, November 19, 2009
Michael Parenti’s America Besieged, turns the idea that the U.S. is threatened by foreign enemies on its head. His notion is that the politically active segment of the privileged and wealthy class is intent on maintaining their privilege by any means necessary. The freedoms the rest of us have won are thus under siege since those freedoms potentially threaten that privilege. His chapter on distribution of wealth confirms what Chomsky and others have said in various of their books and lectures (not something you’ll find on TV where the greater population gets its information, - another subject). Parenti’s book was published in 1998 so it can be safely assumed (recall which administration presided over this period) that the trends he cites have gotten even more pronounced, which comports with the illustration above.
• 1% of the population owns 60% of all stock
• 90% of U.S. families have little or no assets
• The top 500,000 people have more wealth than the bottom 200,000,000.
• From 1983 to 1998 after-tax income for the top 1% increased by 85%
• For the same period income for the bottom 20% dropped 10%
• Using a child’s building block to represent $1,000, the average income would stack about 36” while the wealthiest would be far higher than the Eiffel Tower
• The census bureau excludes the highest earners when it averages U.S. income, giving the impression that making about $300,000 annually puts you in the top bracket