The Real Class War

Average pre-tax incomes in 2006 jumped by about $60,000 (5.8 percent) for the top 1 percent of households, but just $430 (1.4 percent) for the bottom 90 percent, after adjusting for inflation, according to a new update in the groundbreaking series on income inequality by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. Their analysis of newly released IRS data shows that in 2006, the shares of the nation’s income flowing to the top 1 percent and top 0.1 percent of households were higher than in any year since 1928.

Average Income in 2006 up $60,000 for Top 1 Percent of Households, Just $430 for Bottom 90 Percent. Chye-Ching Huang and Chad Stone, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

I was watching Fox News on Saturday, after Senator Obama’s vice-presidential announcement, and William Crystal, that weird rolly-polly gnome of the right, called Senator Biden the perfect candidate to start the class war. They mean, of course, that Biden is pro-union and pro-women, generally speaking, and can start hammering away at McCain’s “welfare for the rich” economic programs.

It’s classic right-wing rhetorical Judo, as Huang and Stone’s work shows. You take the truth– that there’s been a radical shift of wealth from the poor, working, and middle-classes to the rich– and you insist on the opposite. If you repeat it often enough, it starts to sound like the truth. The farther you get from the actual truth, you more you need to exaggerate. Thus, “The Audacity of Socialism.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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