Every now and again we have to remind ourselves that the sustainability of our financial/economic system is under assault. We surely don't get much of a clue — on this or anything else that's important — from mainstream media. Working from Congressional Budgeting Office numbers, Jared Bernstein provides this eye-opener:
Boy, Have We Got an Inequality Problem, Jared Bernstein, TPM Café, Dec. 13: … Income inequality among households, both before and after Federal taxes, grew more quickly over the last two years of the series, 2003-05, than over any other two-year period on record, back to 1979.
Over those two years, the growth of inequality transferred $400 billion dollars from the bottom 95% to the top 5%. That is, had the income distribution remained as it was in 2003, the income of each of the 109 million households in the bottom 95% would have been $3,660 higher in 2005.
If this is the ownership society at work, I think we need to have a serious talk with the owners. …
Such concentration of income is unsustainable in a democratic society. The distributional mechanisms that have historically worked to ensure much more equitable outcomes appear to be wholly inoperative. Fixing them must be at the heart of any serious economic policy discussion.