I’m belatedly making my way through David Cay Johnston’s new book “Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill),” which is well worth reading (and not just because I get a mention in it). I’m only a few chapters in, but my favorite factoid so far:
In 2005, the 300,000 men, women, and children who comprised the top tenth of 1 percent had nearly as much income as all 150 million Americans who make up the economic lower half of our population. Add the income the rich are not required to report and those 300,000 made more than the 150 million.
This growing concentration of income at the top is nothing like the distribution of income America experienced in the first three decades following World War II. Nor is it like that found in Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Instead it resembles the distribution of income found in three other major countries: Brazil, Mexico, and Russia.
Now there’s an epitaph for your democracy.
For more discussion of Free Lunch, see fieldofschemes.com, where I’ve posted about another section of the book – the bit with me in it, though it’s interesting for other reasons as well. You can also buy it at finer bookstores, like I did.