Since the mid 70's the gap between rich and poor in the United States has been growing consistently to the point where it is now the largest it has been since 1929. The richest 1% of Americans today control 22% of the wealth of the country when in 1980 they accounted for just 8%. Despite an economy that has been growing for decades, doubling in size since the early nineties, many have yet to see the benefits of this improvement.
Excessive wealth inequality has been a concern for people from all sides of the political spectrum, and is a matter that has serious repercussions for the health of our democracy. De Tocqueville, writing in the mid 19th century, believed that American Democracy rested on the relative equality of social conditions that existed in the new world and more recently the former head of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan has commented that wealth inequality "is not the type of thing which a democratic society—a capitalist democratic society—can really accept without addressing.”
To discover more about the phenomenon of wealth inequality in the US today, The iCitizen Forum talked to Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute and co-author of the State of Working America about the issue. Jared is an expert on wealth inequality and has published widely in forums such as The New York Times, Washington Post, American Prospect, and Research in Economics and Statistics. He is also a former Deputy Chief Economist at the US department of Labor.
The iCitizen forum is a bimonthly discussion of democracy hosted by George Turner, that seeks to promote serious political dialogue in the online community. Please visit our website www.icitizenforum.com