Today I saw this chart in THE WEEK on the internet. Many economic forecasters have been describing and alerting us to this phenomenon for years, but to see it displayed graphically makes me heartsick--not only for me, but for the remainder of the 90% represented by the blue bars below. Of that 90%, I am pretty comfortable comparatively--I have a roof over my head, regular meals, can get medical attention when I need it, and can afford basic cable. There are many many Americans who are not so fortunate and can't afford the basics of food and housing.
My own situation, however, is not entirely stable--as the stock market grows and corporate profits hit record levels, the tide is actually going out rather than raising all ships in the harbor. My economic stasis or decline is exacerbated by my inability as a 78 year old retiree (on a basically fixed income) to increase my income or asset base in any meaningful or legal way. My dentist doesn't understand or care about this (fees go up markedly each visit), neither does my land lord (rent for the next 12 months will rise 10%), nor my super market, nor Walgreens (purveyor of prescription drugs), nor Humana (prescription insurance), nor the folks at Exxon Mobil. My cost of living just continues to go up faster than my income--with no change in my lifestyle, material possessions, security, or peace of mind.
Unequal distribution of income in America, with a minority accruing spendable income of unspeakable amounts and at outrageous rates, is rapidly creating a situation (or already has)where the only recourse will be for the 90% to take to the streets and forcibly redistribute the wealth. There may be no alternative because history tells us that we cannot count on our wealthy brethren to self- police or self-regulate. Big money right now virtually controls the electoral process, so the democratic option of changing the system by voting is rapidly fading from sight. Greed and "living fat" are simply too much fun and too easy to justify in a country where everything is for sale and material values, for most folks, have long ago replaced anything remotely resembling ethical considerations with a spiritual or altruistic/idealistic foundation and focus. When you're really enjoying yourself, it's very hard to see, really see, the suffering around you.
I don't think that the Founders had this sort of outcome in mind when they established our Nation.
The question that remains is: what shape or form will the "correction" will eventually take, and how long will it be before people decide that the system is so badly broken that they have no choice but to act to fix it on their own?