income distribution in America

By L. Strauss
EarthBlog News©
TinyURL for this article []

This essay will offer evidence supporting this claim from an introspective look at the future of America.

During 2009, the leadership has taken actions which benefit the corporations and special interests who own them, while showing nothing but wanton disregard for the millions of citizens whose lives their sponsors have destroyed. What we are headed towards in the US if we are not there already, is a Straussian society of ultra rich, ultra powerful oligarchs and a serfish powerless population with no middle class to speak of.”

I would like to start with this chart from


The key takeaway from this chart is that 0.1 percent of Americans are making more than twice what the other 99.9 percent of Americans are making, combined.

0.1 percent of Americans, assuming a population of 300 million equals 300,000 individuals, controlling more than twice as much wealth and power as everyone else put together.

An oligarchy (Greek Ὀλιγαρχία, Oligarkhía) (oligocracy) is a form of government in which power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society.

Ideally, in a healthy democracy, income distribution would have a bell curve shape with the vast majority earning a wage that can support a middle class lifestyle…as was the case in America for many decades This would be indicative of a healthy thriving middle class.

I would also like to point out that an oligarchical income distribution is typical of a communist or (other form of totalitarian regime) where you have the serfs (99.9 percent of the population) and the elite (0.1 percent of the population).

If you were to research who this 0.1 percent of people are, you would find that they are the same ones telling you through their media outlets how things are, how to think, what to believe and why you should continue to trust them.

Needless to say, when such a small minority are in control, there is no hope of democracy, or a constitutional republic or anything else you would like to believe this is.

Edit: Add Footnotes

Middle Class Becoming the New Poor as Job Losses Mount
By Mac Slavo
February 23rd, 2010
The American dream is becoming a nightmare for millions across the country as job losses continue to mount, unemployment runs out and new job creation is simply not happening. Millions are facing unemployment for years to come:

Income inequality in the United States
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tour of the US Income Distribution, “The L-Curve”

Wealth, Income, and Power

The Distribution of Wealth in America

The Middle Class Two Income Trap – Two Breadwinners plus Extra Money to support the Banking Industry. How Middle Class Americans are losing Ground by Supporting the Financial Sector.

43% have less than $10k for retirement
By Chavon Sutton
March 9, 2010
NEW YORK ( — The percentage of American workers with virtually no retirement savings grew for the third straight year, according to a survey released Tuesday.

15 Years Ago, the Combined Assets of the 6 Biggest Banks Totaled 17% of GDP… By 2006, 55% … Now, 63%
Monday, March 1, 2010

Food for Thought: A Graphical Peek at Income Inequality in the United States

  1. Anonymous
    January 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I knew the US middle class was disappearing, but I had no idea to what degree it has already happened. Thanks for an interesting post.

  2. Anonymous
    January 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    That income distribution chart is eye-popping. I would really like to know the source of the data (not just the website the chart was pulled off of) and the date the chart references. And I'd really like to see it compared to a like chart in different time periods: 1929, 1940, 1950, 1980, 2000,2006 etc. to see if the supposed evaporation of the middle class is gradual or pops in and out due to position in the business cycle. I say "supposed" because as I look around myself here in the Bay Area, I see parking lots packed with cars, unpleasant rush-hour traffic, people shopping and dining as usual. It seems if they were really in poverty, they wouldn't be able to do this.It would also be highly useful to see a breakdown of sources of income. For instance, in some extremely highly priced locals, income is low, but family wealth is in the stratosphere. I assume this is due to the ability of the wealthy to shield their income from taxes (I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say legally).So, does this chart only refer to W-2 income and is skewed by corporate CEOs and sports celebrities? Does it include those who might wield massive wealth and power but are not on any payroll? How was this data captured?

  3. Craig Harris
    January 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Living in a metro area myself I have had the same thought, but in the same way you'll mostly only find sick people at the hospital, you'll mostly only find people with jobs and money to spend out spending money. What you have to look at there is how many businesses are struggling as a result of the collective loss of wealth and purchasing power. I know that in my area, a tremendous number of restaurants and stores have gone out of business as a direct result of fewer people with less money to spend.There are quite a few more income distribution charts along with background information at as well as other sites tracking statistics like have stumbled across much of the information you are looking for at various websites. If you are interested in further research try a google search on "US income distribution" and I think most of your questions will be answered.

  4. Anonymous
    January 6, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks Craig for communicating with the readers. I was amazed at your essay and to actually have you note something I wrote really makes me feel important. Like I said in another post as a conservative I would visit conservative websites, I would comment on how pathetic fox news is. My comments would go ignored passed over and then finally they would delete my posts and not allow me to post anymore. I have written hundreds of emails all for not. I am diagnosed with psychophrenia and being able to be acknowledged has really helped me with hearing voices. I feel like a human being and its nice. I decided I won't post on everything here but I will still post. Thanks Craig. Tyler

  5. Guy R. McPherson
    January 7, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Nice use of the figure in this essay. It illustrates the degree to which we're no longer a republic, much less a democracy. Fascism is perhaps the best we can hope for, over the long term. Are we there yet? And, whether or not we are there, is there any hope for the people to rise up and prune the tree of liberty, sensu Thomas Jefferson?

  6. Craig Harris
    January 7, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    One comment I'd like to make about income distribution is that my assertion is not that the US has ground to a halt, and no one has money to spend.My assertion is that the wealth has become so concentrated that there are only a very small number of Americans wielding wealth, and thus media and political power and control that make all the rules. The other 99.9% of the population have become voiceless serfs, even if they still have jobs and income.A basic tenant of a healthy republic or democracy is a stable, healthy, large middle class. The US no longer has that.

  7. Anonymous
    January 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    on the Bay area related to the comment above…Bay Area retail centers mired in foreclosuresBy George AvalosFive retail centers in the Bay Area have belly-flopped into bankruptcy, listing at least $39 million in debts, an ominous sign that consumers may still be struggling and the credit squeeze isn't over.

  8. Anonymous
    January 11, 2010 at 12:42 am

    The simple reason for why the rich continue to grow ever richer is usury. At a certain level of wealth your outgoings can never surpass your compounded interest gains, which means you cannot get any poorer – unless you get reckless.

  9. Anonymous
    February 14, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Hate to say it posters, but the chart doesn’t say what you think it says. Assuming we have a population of 300 million we also have 45 million earning $100k per year. That’s 4.5 Trillion in aggregate vs $450 Billion by the top .1%. or assuming the average income is $55k then 299,700,000 people earn $16.6 Trilion while the elite earn $450 billion. I think the poster who suggests seeing this data since 1929 in 10 yr increments is also thinking this chart by itself doesn’t say what you think it says. That data would be revealing one way or another.

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  1. February 19, 2010 at 12:14 am
  2. March 3, 2010 at 1:39 pm

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