Cenk Uygur On Why The Occupy Wall Street Movement Exists - The System Is Rigged

From this Tuesday evening's The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur discusses why we're finally seeing many Americans angry enough to be taking to the streets, with details on some recent reports about the growing income disparity in the United
up

From this Tuesday evening's The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur discusses why we're finally seeing many Americans angry enough to be taking to the streets, with details on some recent reports about the growing income disparity in the United States.

Here's more on the stats Cenk was highlighting in the clip above from Think Progress -- As The Richest Americans Get Richer, The Rest Are Drowning In Debt:

That inequality has crushed the middle class and has perilous consequences for the American economy. It is also contributing to another problem: rising debt inequality. As income inequality has risen, the bottom 95 percent of Americans have fallen deeper into debt over the last three decades, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund. The top five percent, meanwhile, have seen their personal debt reduced, CNN Money reports:

In 1983, the bottom 95% had 62 cents of debt for every dollar they earned, according to research by two International Monetary Fund economists. But by 2007, the ratio had soared to $1.48 of debt for every $1 in earnings.

The bottom 95% had incomes of roughly $160,000 or less in 2007, including capital gains.

And then there’s the top 5%. Their debt-to-income level actually fell during the same period, from 76 cents of debt for every dollar earned in 1983, to just 64 cents in 2007.

The contributors to rising income and debt inequality are clear — for the richest Americans, incomes are rising rapidly while tax rates have fallen to historic lows. The rest, however, are increasingly burdened by student loan debt as the cost of college soars, mortgage debt as the prices on their homes have plummeted, and credit card debt as they’ve tried to keep their head above water despite stagnant wages and rising unemployment.

And from The Economic Policy Institute Blog -- It’s executives and the finance sector that did it!:

That the incomes of the top 1 percent have fared fabulously is well known, and deservedly so. But it was not until the analysis of tax returns by Jon Bakija, Adam Cole, and Bradley Heim that it could be documented that the doubling of the income share of the top 1 percent could be directly traced to executive compensation and finance-sector compensation trends. The new EPI paper, CEO pay and the top 1%: How executive compensation and financial-sector pay have fueled income inequality, which previews some of the findings from the forthcoming State of Working America, does exactly that.

Between 1979 and 2005 (the latest data available with these breakdowns), the share of total income held by the top 1.0 percent more than doubled, from 9.7 percent to 21.0 percent, with most of the increase occurring since 1993. The top 0.1 percent led the way by more than tripling its income share, from 3.3 percent to 10.3 percent. This 7.0 percentage-point gain in income share for the top 0.1 percent accounted for more than 60 percent of the overall 11.2 percentage-point rise in the income share of the entire top 1.0 percent.

The increases in income at the top were largely driven by households headed by someone who was either an executive or in the financial sector as an executive or other worker. Households headed by a non-finance executive were associated with 44 percent of the growth of the top 0.1 percent’s income share and 36 percent in the growth among the top 1.0 percent. Those in the financial sector were associated with nearly a fourth (23 percent) of the expansion of the income shares of both the top 1.0 and top 0.1 percent. Together, finance and executives accounted for 58 percent of the expansion of income for the top 1.0 percent of households and an even greater two-thirds share (67 percent) of the income growth of the top 0.1 percent of households.

More at their post so go read the rest. And as Travis Waldron noted in the piece from Think Progress, this kind of income disparity is actually a threat to our nation's future and we're looking at levels right now that are "worse than it is in countries like Ivory Coast and Pakistan, and it may be even worse than it was in Ancient Rome."

And as Cenk noted, we've got Mitt Romney out there actually campaigning on policies that would make the income disparity worse.

About Heather

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.