Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Paul Krugman without the Times Select filter and with lots to say about why we're all falling behind

Paul Krugman's "The Great Wealth Transfer" in Rolling Stone mercilessly dissects three "comforting myths" we tell ourselves to obscure the ever greater concentration of wealth in the hands of a very tiny, very rich minority:: 1) Inequality is mainly a problem of poverty; 2) Inequality is mainly a problem of education; 3) Inequality doesn't really matter.
Rising inequality isn't new. The gap between rich and poor started growing before Ronald Reagan took office, and it continued to widen through the Clinton years. But what is happening under Bush is something entirely unprecedented: For the first time in our history, so much growth is being siphoned off to a small, wealthy minority that most Americans are failing to gain ground even during a time of economic growth -- and they know it.
And don't miss Krugman's dramatic evocation of a way to visualize all this, an imaginary line of 1,000 Americans with their height proportional to their wealth, with the tallest guy in line now towering over everyone with a height of 560 feet, almost five times taller than his 1973 counterpart. (Via Avedon)

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