Many Americans have spent the last few years getting worked up about income inequality in this country, even the unsuspecting aligning themselves with the Occupy movement as a means of trying to do draw attention to the problems of (what once was) “the middle class” and the ever-increasingly poor. We all heard the phrase “the 1%” a million times during the election cycle and were introduced to a new percentage – the 47% of us that Mitt Romney ridiculed – and who he “apologized” to on Sunday during a Fox broadcast. But what do all these percentages mean, really?
Though average citizens have maintained a general sense that income inequality has become not just a problem but a criminal sort of issue in the US, the wealthy have done their best to try to convince us that there’s nothing wrong and that their money is what creates jobs. You could find thousands of out-of-work Americans who would scoff at that argument, but there hasn’t been one clear, concise article or piece of information that is easy to present as a means of fighting that bullying logic. There is now, though, thanks to this video created by YouTube user “politizane.” He notes in simple language and with easy-to-follow graphics that “the richest 1% take home almost a quarter of the national income today.” That percentage has almost tripled in my lifetime.
America’s middle class is effectively the working poor and America’s poor are destitute, while our rich are wealthy beyond what is reasonable. I’m no economist, so I have absolutely no idea how to solve this problem, but I do know that ignoring it is only going to make it worse. Something has got to be done to make these jagged lines look more like a smooth curve.