Friday, 14 August 2009

.01 % of Yankees Are Doodle-Dandy

It's been fun, hasn't it ? This sense of national unity in outrage at the attack of the vile foreigner on our treasured NHS. Like 1940 all over again. Very 'cockney-sing-songs-in-the-tube-stations-we-can-take-it-Mr.Hitler-Blitz-spirit-ish' I'd say. We've even managed to get that nice Daniel Hannan to agree to play the part of Lord Haw-Haw. (B& T suggests his success in this role should be lauded to the skies by New Labour).

But as I've just come back from spending a holiday with a group including a - really very nice - American I thought I ought to put in a word for one thing they definitely do well: inequality. The Huffington Post is reporting a new paper which says inequality levels in the States have reached levels beyond those of the Great Depression. In 2007 the top .01 percent of American earners took home 6 percent of total U.S. wages, a figure that has nearly doubled since 2000.(see chart)
"...while the bottom 99 percent of incomes grew at a solid pace of 2.7 percent per year from 1993-2000, these incomes grew only 1.3 percent per year from 2002-2007. As a result, in the economic expansion of 2002-2007, the top 1 percent captured two thirds of income growth."
All joking aside, this is why Obama's otherwise pitifully limited health reforms matter so much and why they're arousing so much anger over there. Yup, it's class. One side has got so used to taking everything that they can't quite deal with the idea that they might have to share a little in order to keep most of what they've got, the way their own All-American predecessors used to.


  1. That chart is the best chart. UK version?

  2. Not quite 'the same chart but for the UK' at all, but I thought you might like this one I nicked from Anne Pettifor