Sun Nov 27th, 2005 at 10:56:31 AM EST
The middle class wage earner in the US has seen his standard of living remain about the same for the past several decades. Those in abject poverty have become a smaller segment of the population (at least until recently). The rich and super-rich have seen their share of both income and wealth rise substantially.
During the same period the US has amassed huge deficits, both foreign and domestic. My guess is that if one were to compare the growth in the size of the deficits with the growth in the assets of the wealthy they would be close in size. I assume all the corrections for inflation and similar factors are taken into account.
If this is even approximately true then what it shows is that the rich have been living off funds borrowed from others by the government on their behalf. An interesting economic development in that case.
As for the stagnant working class, I think this is a sign that in a fully developed economy the average person is "worth" only so much as an economic engine and thus there is little prospect for real increase in standard of living. The middle class has all that it needs in terms of necessities and even a fair amount of luxuries. If it were to get "richer" then it would be able to purchase more, driving up demand, thus driving up prices and making the effective purchasing power back where it started from.
So my hypothesis is that the top class has been taking from the US treasury and foreign treasuries to allow it command an unsustainable standard of living at everybody else's expense. I haven't found any hard numbers to prove this, but I still think I'm heading in the right direction.
I would appreciate some statistics if any one can cite them (either to prove or disprove my guess).