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Classist Economic Oppression Grinding In

There's a useful graph on page 36 of Time Magazine (November 6, 1995) that shows that the U.S. has the largest income gap between rich and poor of any major industrial nation. (It compares Sweden [lowest gap], Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Britain, Canada, Italy, Ireland, and the U.S.-interestingly it omits Japan.)

Column 1, page 37, same article: "Between 1980 and 1989, the share of national income claimed by the most affluent one-twentieth of households rose from twenty-one percent to twenty-six percent; for the upper one-fifth as a whole it rose from forty-seven percent to fifty-two percent. Meanwhile, the share fell for the second one-fifth-and the third, and the fourth, and the fifth. The potential appeal of a sharply redistributive income tax is unknown, but this simple math suggests it's bigger than before and getting bigger."

Column 3, page 36, same article: "More than half of the House's tax cut of $245 billion would go to the six percent of American households with incomes over $100,000, according to estimates by the Washington group, Citizens for Tax Justice. Less than one-fifth of the cut would go to the three-fourths of American Households making less than $50,000."

Regarding data on overall wealth and income inequalities plus black/white inequalities, I've found Mel Oliver and Tom Shapiro's new book, Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality, New York: Routledge, 1995 very useful. They show "how much greater is the maldistribution of wealth than that of income" in the U.S. "Ten percent of America's families control two-thirds of the wealth. The top one percent collected over four times their proportionate share of income, but hold over eleven times their share of net worth and over eleven times their share of net assets.

Furthermore, to break into the lowest rung of the richest one percent takes $763,000 in net worth, an amount that is twenty-two times greater than the median of the remaining ninety-nine percent. Net financial assets exhibit an even steeper concentration, as the holding of the richest one percent start at $629,000 or 170 times the median of the net financial assets of the other ninety-nine percent." (Pages 68-69). The above data are for 1988. Lots of excellent graphs regarding inequality of wealth-corporate CEO (Chief Executive Officer) as compared to worker incomes, etc.-may be found in The Maximum Wage: A Common-Sense Prescription for Revitalizing America-By Taxing the Very Rich by Sam Pizzigati, The Apex Press, The Council of International and Public Affairs, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, New York 10017, USA (Tel. 212-953-6920), 1992.

Pam Roby
Santa Cruz, California, USA

Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00