On Tuesday this week in class I discussed the buying potential of the bottom 50% of the nation. I told them that The Wall Street Journal (2010), The Arizona Republic (2010) and Citigroup (2005) all regard the bottom 50 or more percent of the populace as financially irrelevant. They have no money to spend except on food, groceries, gas, and housing.
My students didn't get it because they don't realize what has happened to American society. We have become grossly unequal.
I have two links that explore this issue this week:
The Economic Policy Institute
The United States of Inequality at Slate
The article at Slate is quite detailed and includes a slideshow.
This economic dispossession of the majority of the population has ominous implications for our nation's stability and the sustainability of our way of life. Grossly unequal societies tend to be unstable, particularly when their leaders are looting and pillaging (as demonstrated so effectively by Jared Diamond in Collapse).