Everybody is worried about increased income equality. It’s not just neo-socialists looking for new ways to tar capitalism, or Democrats searching for political energy or an excuse to tax their wealthy enemies. The increased economic polarization in the United States is genuinely something to fret over, because political instability and multi-generational hopelessness are not good for anybody.
“The main message is a grim one,” The Economist editorialized after looking at new statistics on American household income late last year. “Most of the growth is going to an extraordinarily small share of the population: 95 percent of the gains from the recovery have gone to the richest 1 percent of people, whose share of overall income is once again close to the highest level in a century. The most unequal country in the rich world is thus becoming even more so.”