Of The 1%, By The 1%, For The 1%, Vanity Fair, May Issue
He says that, currently, 1% of our population controls 40% of our country's wealth. It didn't used to be that way. Just 25 years ago, 12% of the population controlled 33% of our wealth. The gap between rich and poor has widened and the gap is self-propagating ... the top 1% is on the path to control the majority of America's wealth.
For the top 1% life has gotten very good. Their incomes have risen 18% in the last decade while those in the middle have seen not just smaller rises but falling incomes.
Some ways the 1% are different from us:
- The top 1 percent rarely serve in the military—the reality is that the “all-volunteer” army does not pay enough to attract their sons and daughters, and patriotism goes only so far.
- The wealthiest class feels no pinch from higher taxes when the nation goes to war: borrowed money will pay for all that.
Here's something that surprised me:
"Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office."That makes me think the wrangling about the budget today, with the possibility of a government shutdown, is being done by people who are out of touch with most Americans. Stiglitz says so much:
"The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security—they can buy all these things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had.The common good. There was a time, Stiglitz says, when Americans cared about the common good, more out of a sense of pragmatism than idealism. At one time we appreciated that "paying attention to everyone else’s self-interest—in other words, the common welfare—is in fact a precondition for one’s own ultimate well-being."
They also worry about strong government—one that could use its powers to adjust the balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good."