Hell Yes It’s Class Warfare!

The Distribution of Wealth and Power

There is an intentional misconception out there in the market place of talking points and political discussion – it is that liberals are waging class warfare on the wealthy. It is perpetrated in the right-wing echo chamber by the likes of Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh and Fred Thompson. These pinnacles of wit and honesty are correct. There is, and has been, class warfare ongoing in these United States, but it is being waged against the middle and working class by the wealthy, the über wealthy and their lapdog GOP politicians.

Perhaps you might find it debatable that the wealthy and the GOP are waging class warfare against the rest of us. To that, I say “Let’s take a look at some of the facts, shall we?” After all, actions are supposed to speak louder than words, though the republican noise machine has gone a long way toward proving that old axiom wrong.

To give you, dear reader, an established starting point by which to measure the following points, let us first get some perspective.

The top 20% of households in America control an astounding 85% of the wealth, leaving only 15% for the bottom 80%. Those numbers, however, include primary residences. For the overwhelming majority of that bottom 80% of households, the equity, if any, in the primary residence represents most, if not all of the net worth. If you take the home out of the equation, as most Americans cannot effectively liquidate their residence, the numbers are more staggering. Minus residence equity, the top 20% of American households control 93% of the wealth in this nation. (I heard a caller on the Alan Colmes show on Labor Day complain that union auto workers are making $40 per hour and there is “no way” anyone is worth paying that much money. I wonder how he would justify these figures.)

The top 10% own about 85% of all stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate. And as wealth is what really matter in terms of control of income-producing assets, it might be fair to say that a mere 10% of the people control the United States.

According to figures published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, only 1.6% of Americans receive $100,000 or more in inheritance. Another 1.1% receive $50,000 to $100,000. On the other hand, 91.9% (that‘s you and I) receive nothing.

Remember learning about the Great Depression? Well, one thing that we have in common today with our forbears is that the concentration of wealth in so small a group of Americans today is just about what it was in 1929.

During the trickle down economic theory period between 1983 and 2004 (the latest figures available), of all the new wealth created, 42% went to the top 1% of Americans, 94% to the top 20% and 6% did trickle down to the rest of us.

How does the U.S. compare to the rest of the industrialized world? Only 1 Western industrial nation has a greater concentration of wealth than we do – Switzerland. Must be the easy access to all those Swiss bank accounts.

As you may have heard, and you certainly have if you listen to Boortz, the economy has been growing and incomes have been rising, even during Bush the Lesser’s reign. To which I say, Touché. Income has grown by about 27% in the last 25 years, 33% of those gains went to the top 1% and bottom 60% were actually making less in real dollars. And the folks who sit between the 60% and 80% numbers saw only a 2% increase over that same period. By 2007, income inequality was at the highest levels since, you guessed it, just before the great depression. In fact, as bad as most Americans had it in 2007, the average income for the top 400 households doubled from 2006 to 07 reports.

Having said all that, you might be thinking that those are impressive numbers, but they hardly suggest, much less prove that the rich (and their Republican lapdog politicians) are waging war on the rest of us. You have a point, if you were indeed thinking that. And I… I have a counter point, in which I will demonstrate to you that, hell yes, it is class warfare. And I will do that… tomorrow.

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  1. Mr Fluberty
    September 8, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Lol. Nice graph.

    Wake me up when Mr Osama isn’t still spending half again on a war that he is still defending while he keeps innocent Muslims locked in Gitmo for political gain…

  2. Mr Fluberty
    September 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    As the Brits Say: “When do the war crime tribunals happen?”

  3. September 9, 2010 at 3:42 am

    I have no dispute with you on those points. I chuckled when I found that graph. I had some better ones, but thought that one went with my Monopoly Guy theme.

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