Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Gulf States

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Gulf States

Article excerpt

Income inequality in the United States is at the highest level since 1928. It is this stark fact that explains why so many Americans support the Wall Street demonstrations and the 99 Per Cent movement that has emerged from them. A Time/Abt SRBI poll found that 54 per cent had a "very favourable" (25 per cent) or "somewhat favourable" (29 per cent) view of the movement.

The richest 1 per cent of Americans took home 23.5 per cent of national income in 2007, up from 10 per cent in 1980 (see graph). Even more remarkably, the top 0.1 per cent received 6.04 per cent, up from 0.9 per cent in 1978. Significantly, it is only in recent decades that the US income gap has become a chasm.

Inequality peaked in 1928 (when the richest i per cent held 23.9 per cent of national income), just before the Wall Street crash. It shrank gradually during the New Deal era of the 19305 before falling dramatically in the 1940s. …

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