By Jason Sattler

5 Easy And Effective Ways To Rebuild The Middle Class

December 5, 2013 7:10 pm Category: Memo Pad, Politics 15 Comments A+ / A-

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This chart released by the Congressional Budget Office in October of 2011 — just weeks after the Occupy Wall Street protests began — made the income inequality crisis crystal clear: The poorer you were, the lower your income growth — even before the Great Recession began.

The disparity between the upper-middle class — whose income grew 65 percent — and the poorest Americans, who only saw an 18 percent increase, was substantial.

But it was the richest Americans — the now infamous “1 percent” — who saw their incomes explode by 275 percent, thanks to government policies.

Since our recent recovery began, the problem has only intensified. The top 1 percent took in 95 percent of all income gains from 2009-2012.

But awareness of the problem has grown as well. This video, which illuminates how unaware Americans are of the massive wealth disparities that exist in this country, has been viewed over 12 million times.

As Occupy Wall Street has evolved into movements addressing foreclosures and debt forgiveness, former labor secretary Robert Reich released the film Inequality for All and new websites, movements and think tanks are focusing on solving what President Obama called on Wednesday “the defining issue of our time.”

On a political level, the re-election of President Obama cemented some of the achievements of his first term that promise to help those at the bottom of the economic ladder. The Elizabeth Warren-inspired Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advocates for borrowers, the Bush tax breaks for those earning over $400,000 have ended and the Affordable Care Act is, after a serious bit of website trouble, being fully implemented. These policies are promising but the president himself admits that they are not even close to enough.

Inequality was created by elected officials acting on behalf of the very richest. And it can be reversed by new policies that benefit 99 percent of America, creating a more stable and productive country for all Americans. Here are five ways to begin that change today.

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5 Easy And Effective Ways To Rebuild The Middle Class Reviewed by on . This chart released by the Congressional Budget Office in October of 2011 -- just weeks after the Occupy Wall Street protests began -- made the income inequalit This chart released by the Congressional Budget Office in October of 2011 -- just weeks after the Occupy Wall Street protests began -- made the income inequalit Rating:

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  • paulyz

    Why does someone making more than someone else have anything to do with someone making less? I don’t make a lot of money but live fine & the fact that there are others making much more wouldn’t affect my life in the least.
    There will ALWAYS be people making different salaries & wages in a FREE society, we all have choices in life. If everyone earned the same wages, who the hell would work hard to become an engineer or doctor?

    • Ford Truck

      You are right, we need the right for some to earn more money than others to spur people to get more education, develop natural talents, work harder, etc.

      The problem however, is not that some people make more money than others, its the DISPARITY between those 1-2 percent that are paid enormous incomes, vs the million in the lower 25 or so percent that are paid minimal wages, which in reality, are barely living wages.

      Varied income is good, it drives competition. The degree to which American income varies is immoral!

    • jmcconkey

      No, it’s not unfair that some people make more money than others. What’s unfair is a tax structure of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich, which guarantees that income will trickle up to those who need it the least.

    • ThomasBonsell

      But “someone making more than someone else” isn’t the problem.

      If you would have paid attention during the “occupy” movement you would not see any protest against the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or others who “earned” their money. The protest was about those who don’t “make” more, it was against those who “take” more and have done nothing to earn outlandish sums. The problem is that the deck has been stacked, and dealing off the bottom is an ongoing practice. The problem is that the game has been fixed and the fixers continue to bribe the referees and the umpires.

      If you would also pay attention to history you might see that we had a much better economy and a stronger middle class before the fix was in. When CEOs made 20-30 times the average income of their employees, the economy flourished. When they started lining their own pockets at the expense of everyone else, the economy stagnated.

    • Barbara Morgan

      You are wrong when 1% percent of the citizens of a Country control over as much money as they do in this Country,it affects you and all of us even if you don’t know that fact . Percentage wise with all the loopholes the rich have you are paying a higher tax rate on your income that they are and because you are your paycheck is smaller, in other words you pay taxes and can’t not pay them, so you have less money coming in to your life, while the rich makes millions, don’t pay their fair share of taxes or don’t pay any taxes because of tax loopholes at all and in some cases even get money from the IRS. Also it is great if you are able to live on less money and don’t have to get foodstamps because of the amount of money you are paid but not all of us get to live in our parents home rent free and not have to buy groceries. Most of us have to pay for housing, groceries, clothes and shoes for our child and or children and ourselves, pay medical, eye, dental expenses, and pay for school supplies that are very expensive. No one is saying everyone should be making the same wages just that everyone should be making a living wage one that allows a person to take care of their family without having to apply for foodstamps, go to to food banks and free clinics to take of their children .

  • paulyz

    The graph above shows that the so-called income inequality was highest under Clinton & Obama!

    • Sunspot

      It does not. The graph ends before Obama was elected.

    • ThePeoriaKid

      I reckon you’ll listen to the voices in your head before any rational print in front of you.
      Fail. You are part of the problem.

  • Bill Thompson

    The Ted talk says it all it is the middle class that are the job creators this country work best when we did not work on a supply side mentality. In fact the supply-side mentality has been responsible through our country’s history for the three depressions and numerous other recessions that we have experienced. In so far as taxes go if you look back before 1980 the top tax rate was 75% before that it was as much is 90%. While I am not advocating a 75 or 90% tax rate certainly taxes should be higher than they are now for people at the top. The people at the top are not spending the necessary amount of money to drive this economy. Commonsense tells you giving the middle-class more money to spend will drive this economy the people at the top will only put it in the Caymans.

  • Lovefacts

    Here are some ideas of mine:

    1. Treat earned and unearned income the same.
    2. Equalize the tax code, and get rid of the deferred allowance. Have one set of deductions, those used by the middle class, and a graduated tax code.
    3. Lift cap off the SS tax deduction. Right now, no one’s taxed above $113,700
    4. Stop all oil and gas subsidies, and those to large corporate farms.
    5. Follow Europe, undergraduate degrees are free.
    6. Have trade schools; we’ll always need plumbers, electricians, construction workers.

    • Jenny M

      Number 5 and 6 have been on my list of things we need to be doing for a long time. K-12 is no longer a foundation for a sucessful life. Our schools need to take children to a level where they can be expected to suceed and drive our country and economy to suceed as well.

  • Defend The Constitution

    Since those who preach from collectivism’s altar constantly conjure up an ever-shifting mirage of utopian illusions, their followers tend to have a difficult time understanding spontaneous events and natural order.

  • Liberalism is Nonsense

    To preserve liberty, we must be compensated based upon the usefulness of our contributions instead of subjective merit as judged by others.

  • Liberalism is Nonsense

    Since those who preach from collectivism’s altar hold an irrational confidence in human reason, they object to that which is not controlled.

  • Defend Liberty

    While democratic processes attach value to each person, collectivism reduces each person to a vessel for the will of pernicious quacks.

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