Making The Pie Higher

Oh, this is good:

Chasm widens between rich and poor in U.S.

NEW YORK: The increase in incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans, data in a new report by the Congressional Budget Office show.

The poorest fifth of households had total income of $383.4 billion in 2005, while just the increase in income for the top 1 percent came to $524.8 billion, a figure 37 percent higher.

The total income of the top 1.1 million households was $1.8 trillion, or 18.1 percent of the total income of all Americans, up from 14.3 percent of all income in 2003. The total 2005 income of the 3 million individual Americans at the top was roughly equal to that of the bottom 166 million Americans, analysis of the report showed.


At every income level, Americans had more income, after adjusting for inflation in 2005, than in 2003, but the increases ranged from almost imperceptible for the poor to modest for the middle class and largest for those at the top.

On average, incomes for the top 1 percent of households rose by $465,700 each, or 42.6 percent after adjusting for inflation. The incomes of the poorest fifth rose by $200, or 1.3 percent, and the middle fifth increased by $2,400 or 4.3 percent.

Have a good time going to work tomorrow, guys! Take comfort in knowing that your hard work is helping to create the greatest income disparity between rich and poor seen in this country since just before the Great Depression. And remember how a rising tide lifts all boats — except for the ones it completely swamps.


Comments: 46


This is why we’re careening towards a depression. Not recession, but depression. You can’t take all the money and put it in a few hands and expect the economy to keep chugging along. It doesn’t work that way, no matter how long and hard conservatives have pretended that it does.




OK, maybe we need to get like bags of 20 dollar bills in bags and keep them in our mattress or some shit like that.


Not a bad idea…..if the dollar keeps tanking, those bags will give you a nice, soft mattress to sleep on – and something to start a fire in your fireplace with, too!


Rich people ARE POOR, didn’t you know?
Wealthy Canadians treated poorly at home “Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty […says..]Six-figure earners are paying too much in taxes…should get a break to encourage them to stay in the country.”

Meanwhile, the lowest income earners rarely, if ever, see a wage increase.


those stats are really incredible, Jillian. Yikes.


Proof that as far as the Donald Graham/Pinch Sulzberger class is concerned, G. Dumbya is EVEN BETTER than Reagan.

Dave Broder and Fred Hiatt are probably getting raises.


Not a bad idea…..if the dollar keeps tanking, those bags will give you a nice, soft mattress to sleep on

OK, how about lots of silver bars, &/or small diamonds.

Basically I’m trying to think of things that people worldwide will actually consider valuable, even in a depression.


Since when has Saul misused apostrophes like that?


Is it too early to call for expropriation as a punishment for white-collar crime?





See?? Tax cuts DO pay for themselves!! Jennifer suggests at the beginning that the U.S. is headed for a depression. Probably not, but let’s imagine so. These people that are taking home windfall money by the bushel basketful are never going to be hurt – not by a recession, not by a depression; not by anything short of death itself. They now have so much of the country’s wealth concentrated in so few hands that the owners of those hands are protected from anything less than having a meteorite land on their house, or some similar act of God.

The U.S. has never seen such a spread between worker and CEO, and Norman Rockwell must be spinning in his grave. But it barely gets a mention in the papers, although Paul Krugman spoke on it at some length a couple of years ago. Everybody’s pissed about it (except the rich, of course), but nobody seems to be quite pissed enough to do anything about it.


[…] Sadly, No!, on the widening gap between rich and poor, which is like your average Muslim Theorcracy. […]


Mark – of course the rich will escape the fallout (relatively) unscathed. Though their net worth won’t be what it was. As for depression, when I look around at all the indicators, I don’t see how it will be avoided. I see the housing meltdown as just another facet of this concentration of wealth…too much money in too few hands chasing too few investment opportunities…which ironically are fewer because wealth is already so concentrated that a significant segment of the population is no longer participating in the economy beyond what I would call a “subsistence” level – that is, no discretionary spending to speak of. So if you’re Richie Rich and already have way more money than you can spend and you need to invest the excess to make even MORE money (for what purpose, I do not know), where to put it? If the proles cannot afford to buy products, you don’t want to put it there. Hence the rush to real estate, which has always been considered “safe”…but they pretty quickly ran through the buyers that could actually afford to buy, and there was still the investment pressure, which led to relaxing lending standards and pretending that people who can’t afford to buy anything else could afford to buy homes….and here we are…

I’m no economist, so I can’t prove this is what has happened, but it’s the only thing I’ve been able to think of to make sense of it all.


Saul’s a hard-working guy. but if he isn’t rich, he must be a lazy non-English-speaking bum who hard-working guys have to pay the government to feed.

Why is a hard-working American like Saul paying the government to feed himself, when he obviously is too lazy to even work or speak English? It’s a tragedy.


Well, that ends our carping about how incompetent G.W. Bush is. His economic program — tax cuts for the rich, Wahr Ahn Terra be damned — has worked, in exactly the way he intended. Just about the only complaint he can have is that (a) it took so long, and (b) our wealth is concentrated in far too many hands. (Just listen to them whine, while you’re bussing their tables at their Country Club.)

And, if you’re greedy and connected, but unable to produce any product or service that anyone might want, G.W. Bush has created endless opportunities for graft and corruption. (The missing $billions in Iraq are a bug, not a feature, is What Digby Said.) So, like him, one need not have any success in any legal business to make it big. Welfare for the well-off has always been a top priority for these guys.


Um, lotsa folks around here with a whole buncha that, whaddaya call it, ejucayshun n’shit, right?

I don’t know, but I’ve always heard that this kind of situation always, that’s ALWAYS results in rebellion or civil war. Like in France, and, um, shoot, in other places that are, um, like, NOT France?

When people are poor and sick and hungry and their children die and have to work and there’s no relief, not options, no dream that you can even squint your eyes to believe, and yet they look around and see the fabulously wealthy in their private jets and their homes in europe and dubai and their privilege, isn’t that the point that people storm the Bastille?

Wouldn’t it make sense for the plutocracy to slow it down, throw the proles a bone, a little help, a few bucks, to kind of perpetuate their position of wealth and power?

‘Cause when it all breaks, and we burn the mansions, the missions and the banks, when people with a long history of anger and broken dreams, dead end jobs and abusive employers, cigarettes and bad fast food and fear and check cashing joints and incarceration kick their way into your comfortable palaces, and there’s no electricity and no phones and your private security team is bleeding out in the driveway, you’re gonna really wish you had thought it all the way through…



Welfare for the well-off has always been a top priority for these guys.

Which is the part that always cracks me up when they start bitching about “class warfare”.

Trust me, rich guys – it’s a counterattack on our part.


Why is a hard-working American like Saul paying the government to feed himself, when he obviously is too lazy to even work or speak English? It’s a tragedy.

Y’know, Jim, we have theories about that other hardworking fact-monger in our commentariat.


Have you ever known a gambling addict, mikey? ‘Cause that would tell you all you need to know.

They are always convinced that the dice will continue to land in their favor. Our economy’s run by high rollers, and people like that have no limits. It would make sense to slow it down – but try telling that to someone on the fag end of a binge.


The wingnuts will trumpet that everyone’s income is going up, EVEN allowing for inflation! Horray for Boosh!


I understand a well-to-do male could feed a family of five for a week. Longer if you use the bones to make stock!


if they were rational, mikey, they could even think it through a step further:

If they provide actual opportunities and decent wages for the proles, you could forestall revolution indefinitely; and as the Clinton years showed, you could STILL rake in money hand over fist, far faster than you could ever spend it in a reasonable lifetime, still have money to allow your daughter Paris to be an embarrassing gadabout slut.

But as with the wingnuts, the idea is not just to win, but to make somebody else lose so bad it hurts…


So that’s what they mean by stocks and bonds. Bonds to hold them down, and America’s famous ‘melting pot’ to cook the stock in.


Why are you guys complaining about our incredible meritocracy? Now everyone has the raw talent and amibition to take over a company, lose million and millions of dollars, then be rewared with an attractive buyout and a cushy new job. That takes real skillz.


So it’s unanimous then.

They’re pissing on us, watching us suffer and hurt and sometimes die, and just DARING us to do it.

Some kind of wacky game of chicken, where the losers get buried in unmarked graves.

They do get the whole they’re ONE fucking percent, right? They really think they can buy their way out of this?

I honestly don’t see any reason to wait.

Let’s rocknroll..




Can we ever get our asses off the sofa long enough to foment rebellion? The Lords and Ladies of our great nation already provide us with strong drugs, mind numbing TV, the circuses of steroid-sports, soul eating religious fundamentalism, misplaced pride in our exceptionalism, and fear…never-ending fear of the raping murderous other whose identity is forever shifting.


I got fired a month ago. Got a little money and nothing to lose. The revolution starts now.

Um, seriously, what next? IED’s?

I’m pretty good with chemistry.


Potassium perchorate is a righteous oxidizer.

But right now? I need a nap…



Wouldn’t it make sense for the plutocracy to slow it down, throw the proles a bone, a little help, a few bucks, to kind of perpetuate their position of wealth and power?

Ironically, this is exactly what the New Deal was. Give the peasents just enough to keep happy enough to not find being gunned down by a militia a reasonable option. The irony, of course, is that the right has spent the last 75 years screaming that it was a communist plot to destroy capitalism once and for all!! FDR learned it from Stalin!!eleven

The sad truth is that these people do not obtain wealth so they and their families can live well. They obtain it because they enjoy being better than those little people. I don’t see the appeal personally, but 6000 years of human history don’t lie.


Wow! Now if they’d only start reporting on that war we’re in that never makes it to the news….how did the media overlook that too?

Seriously, we should all write loads of tripe about Hitler being a liberal and get rich like good old Jonah. I could come up with that crap. I know I could.


Alan Smithee


Now everyone has the raw talent and ambition to take over a company, lose million and millions of dollars, then be rewarded with an attractive buyout and a cushy new job.

You mean someday I could be Preznit, too?????


Can we ever get our asses off the sofa long enough to foment rebellion?

Unfortunately, I think we probably have to start starving in order to get desparate enough for this.

I am aware from my reading how bad it was for the proletariat in France prior to the Revolution, and in Russia.

But now I’m curious how bad it had to get for the colonists before they snapped. Was it just because they were a bunch of pissed-off tea importers? IIRC, it never got to the point of starving masses.


Alan Smithee

Alan, were you at the WGA meeting tonight? I thought I recognized you there.


Clinton made enemies out of our plutocrats by raising their taxes. Here was this poor boy from Arkansas, who had availed himself of opportunites, and made several successful careers. Not only that, (as Joe Conason recounts, in Big Lies) he showed what a fraud their whole invented supply-side ‘economics’ was, after Scaife/Coors had spent millions creating that fraud. Their entire fake economics, created exactly for the purpose of keeping the tax man’s hands of Scaife’s (and Coors’) inherited fortunes, collapsed under the reality of an economy so good that Alan Greenspan actually worried that we would pay off the national debt too quickly!

But, worst of all, the prosperity under Clinton really did improve the lot of most Americans. Even though it made the plutocrats richer, it made the rest of us richer too. As G.W. Bush can easily tell you, having money spoils the servant class. It makes us uppity; we demand higher-than-slave wages, and actual benefits, including health care. (The current health care system is great so long as the plutocrats profit from it; when they actually start having to pay for insurance for their employees, they hit the roof.) Worst of all, when the servant class are not struggling for day-to-day survival, we’ll start to ask questions. We’ll talk about how Prescott Bush made deals with the Nazis during our fight against fascism. Better to keep us fighting with each other over whatever scraps the slobs drop from the table we’ve set for them. Then, the plutocrats can distract us with bogus stories about how t3h gayz wants all our rights, and them dirty Mexicans wants our second jobs.

As Dr. Orlando Figes recounts, in “A People’s Tragedy”, the Bolsheviks did not have to impose a reign of terror. By 1917, the peoples of the Tsar’s empire were eager to burn and kill their moneyed rulers. As with us now, the combustible combination of the rulers’ naked greed and total incompetence just waited for a spark. That spark was their complete mismanagement of an optional war…


Wouldn’t it make sense for the plutocracy to slow it down, throw the proles a bone, a little help, a few bucks, to kind of perpetuate their position of wealth and power?

The cultural equivalent of inbreeding has made the One Percenters lazy, incurious, and slow. Prescott Bush was careful to keep his dealings with the Nazis out of the public eye. “Poppy” Bush still retained enough sense of self-protection to fake populist leanings (pork rinds yes, broccoli no; speedboats yes, polo ponies no). Dubya so despises the MSM lapdogs that he lets them get pictures of him holding hands with the chief representative of a country which has fattened itself on America’s energy dollars while producing most of the 911 suicide bombers.

There’s an old proverb, “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” Improvements in modern techology and media have given the puppeteers behind the current Oval Office Occupant somewhat more scope, but it’s beginning to look as though history will treat the regime of Bush the Lesser as combining all the worst flaws of both Harding’s and Hoover’s administrations. Assuming, of course, that anyone survives the meltdown now glowing just over the horizon.


mikey, I’m up at 2:49 AM unable to sleep for worrying about money. I’m ready to rocknroll. Nothin’ much to lose.

Jillian, to mix up your metaphor a bit, the gamblers at the top ain’t too worried, because they’re rolling loaded dice.


g, the American revolution was in today’s terminology what we’d call a conservative revolution in a lot of ways – technically it was a classical liberal revolution, but I’m too sleepy to trace out the route from “classical liberal” to “conservative” at five in the morning – and you probably know it already, anyway.

The revolution never really had what you’d want to call “popular support”. John Adams estimated the support for revolution at about a third of the population in 1776, and I haven’t seen a modern historian that puts it over 40% (Adams was a smart guy). It was funded, supported and run by a bunch of rich guys who stood to get even richer off of its success and by the French, who hated England. Incidentally, if the French hadn’t been nice enough to stage their own revolution a few years after our own, there’s a good chance that the infant America would’ve failed before 1815 or so. France saved our asses twice.

I’m not really familiar with any studies talking about support for the revolution during its course, but considering how badly it went for the first five years or so, I can’t imagine it was very high. The desertion rate in the Continental army was staggering, and Washington was not above using the lash and the gallows to keep it in check.

Then, after the revolution is won off of the sweat, blood, and money of the independent yeoman farmer and craftsman – who bought war bonds to pay for the damn war – the Articles of Confederation turn those bonds into worthless paper that crafty speculators pick up for ten cents on the dollar and then make a KILLING off of after the ratification of the Constitution. The AoC couldn’t coin money to redeem the bonds, and actual working people couldn’t keep the bulk of their money in investments, but credit speculators, who knew which way the wind was blowing, surely could. And once the Constitution was ratified, there was a currency in which those bonds could be redeemed, much to the delight of the rich folks who picked them up and made insane profit off of them.

The story we’re told about the founding of America is not false, but there is a HELL of a lot of hot air in it. Read Federalist #10, which talks about “the dangers of faction”, and ask yourself how you would feel about it if folks like YOU were the “faction” under discussion. Check out in particular the part that discusses the dangers of “a rage for paper money or an abolition of debts” – who exactly was James Madison worried about forming a faction? Ask yourself why the Framers thought it necessary to write provisions into the Constitution dealing with bankruptcy, if all it is is a document enshrining human liberty.

All the pissing and moaning BEFORE the Revolution about the EVIL TAXES imposed upon us by a wicked king also neglect to mention that those taxes were in large measure to pay for the costs incurred by the crown in defending American colonists during the French and Indian war. Since when is it unreasonable to expect people to pay taxes to support their own military that actually had just defended them against an aggressor nation? But that’s not the way the story gets told.

American colonists were never starving. But “American colonists” weren’t the ones who fomented the revolution in the first place. A bunch of wealthy, landed tax resisters were. And that probably has a lot to do with why American remains a haven for wealthy, landed tax resisters to this day.

So, does this make me unpatriotic scum, or what?


g–well, I am about ready to stop hocking this screenplay and start offering to write for shows. Hell, I saw the Desperate Housewives “tornado episode”. They already have no writers.

Jillian–what an interesting view of those times and Federalist 10. And no, it does not make you “unpatriotic scum”. It does make those NR types out there who don’t know those details look rather bad though…


The fact is, class warfare never plays well in Peoria, and liberals should remember that here in the Heartland we work hard, repsect our rulers, and the ultimate ruler, God, from whom all providence flows.


I must admit, I found this take on This American Life rather funny. Then again, many people my age do suck ass.


The fact is, conservatism is an evil ideology, and all subscribers to such should be interned in the heartland and forced to undertake gay abortions, while growing organic food. Unless they’re Christians. Then you just multiply the above by 2.


I want the real Gary Ruppert back. I miss him.


I hear Global Warming lifts all boats too.


Gary Ruppert said,

December 18, 2007 at 15:02

The fact is, class warfare never plays well in Peoria, and liberals should remember that here in the Heartland we work hard

…except for Cheeto-stained bloggers like you, jackass. Now shut the hell up and let the adults talk.


Hell, I saw the Desperate Housewives “tornado episode”. They already have no writers.

Spinning across that shark at 90 miles an hour….


Julia–ROFL….they might as well have had a shark fly in as some of the debris. I spent every commercial of that episode laughing on the phone with my brother, we had tears running down our faces. I’ve never watched an episode of a shark-jumped show yet on purpose just to crack myself up that much. Oh boy, that was a good one.


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