Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wall Street Journal: "Wage Divide Grows Wider"

April 18, 2012 p. A2.

"The gap between America's highest and lowest-payed workers is widening"

The article explains that during the last few years the wages of the top 10 percent of wage earners rose 7 percent while wages at the bottom 10 rose 2.5 percent.

People in the bottom 10 percent of the workforce earned $360 or less a week.

Majia here: This is the tip of the iceberg of inequality in America. I am not suggesting that everyone should have the same compensation. However, we have created a "Winner Take All Society" in which the very richest sweep the board in a rigged game.

The top .1% of the U.S. population, about 315,000 individuals, receives half of all capital gains on the sale of shares or property and these gains constitute sixty percent of the total income made by the Forbes 400.   

The top 20 percent of US households owns 89% of all equities.  Monopolization of wealth and power has been a deliberate strategy pursued by
Growing inequality stifles post-recession recovery. While U.S. corporate profits have reached unprecedented levels, both in absolute dollars and as a share of the economy, unemployment is at its highest level since the Great Depression.  

Over one half (fifty-five percent) of Americans’ wages were affected in the forms of job layoffs, wage and hour cut backs, and unpaid furloughs during the recession years of 2007 to 2009. Thirty-two percent of Americans reported unemployment during that period. On average, U.S. citizens lost twenty percent of their household wealth from 2007 to 2009 (Pew Research Center, 2010).  

Data published in 2011 indicate that fourteen percent, or one in six Americans, lives below the official poverty threshold.  The losses of household wealth, wages, and benefits are ongoing and point to the growing impoverishment of the nation at the same time that the federal government is proposing widespread cuts in social spending, particularly in the area of health (but not military spending or financial bailouts). 


Robert Lezner. “Capital Gains: Top .1% Earn ½ Capital Gains. Forbes (2011, Nov 20):

Ellen Byron and Karen Talley "Luxury Sales at Risk," The Wall Street Journal (2011, August 10): B1

Henry Blodget. “Here Are Four Charts That Explain What The Protesters Are Angry About...,”Business Insider (2011, Oct 15):

Pew Research Center. “The Great Recession at 30 Months.” Pew Research Center [on-line] (2010, June 30). Available:

Frances Fox Piven. “The War Against the Poor.” TomDispatch.Com (2011, Nov 6):

McKinnon, J. D. (Deficit panel stresses spending cuts. The Wall Street Journal (2010, July 1): A6.

Ellen Byron and Karen Talley "Luxury Sales at Risk," The Wall Street Journal (2011, August 10): B1

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