The United States of Inequality
18 December 2017
Last week, as Congress rushed to pass a tax bill that will transfer trillions of dollars to the financial oligarchy, two separate teams of experts published damning reports documenting the growth of social inequality in the United States.
On Thursday, a group of leading inequality researchers, including Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, published its 2018 World Inequality Report, which shows that the United States is far more unequal than the advanced economies of Western Europe, as well as much of the rest of the world.
The researchers reported that the income share of the top 1 percent of US income earners rose from 10 percent in 1980 to 20 percent in 2016, while the income share of the bottom 50 percent fell from 20 percent to 13 percent over the same period. The bottom 90 percent controls just 27 percent of the wealth today, compared to 40 percent three decades ago.
Another graphic indictment of American society was offered by Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, who argued in a report published Friday that the prevalence of extreme poverty amid unimaginable opulence in the US is a violation of basic human rights.
The fact that the United States has invaded, bombed and destabilized countries all over the world on the pretext of defending “human rights” is no doubt one of the reasons the corporate-controlled media has chosen to bury both of these reports.
Alston writes of the “sewage filled yards in states where governments don’t consider sanitation facilities to be their responsibility,” of “people who had lost all of their teeth because adult dental care is not covered by the vast majority of programs available to the very poor,” and of “soaring…