income polarization stats from Center on Budget & Policy Priorities
Before I go on, let me qualify my statements by saying that there are so many variables in such a complex calculation, it would be impossible to have an all encompassing statistic to prove (or disprove) a polarization in income trend.
It may be that your general perception as a laborer in the economy is the most elucidating evidence that there is an increasing disparity, (as stated in the link provided by Haggis
I "Googled" a bit and found the following opinion piece.
Because of extenuating circumstances, I have to discount my own perception. However, to say
... its fashionable to bemoan the state of the economy
, indicates that my perception is not unique.
If we do as the article suggests and use general perception rather than statistics, then it follows from Haggis' statement that if the "fashionable" belief suggests there is a problem, then indeed, there is.
As for consumption being an indication of wealth, I disagree again. I did not bother to Google statistics on savings versus indebtedness because I think it is fair to say that our consumer credit situation is common knowledge. This indicates we're greedy not wealthy and does not necessarily correlate with the ability to pay.
Also, purchasing a pair of $70.00 Nike's does not mean you aren't taking advantage of welfare, (as illogical as that is, we all know it happens).
As for comparing life now to life in the 1970's, consider this; in 1975, 47.3 % of mothers with children under 18 worked. In 2001, 72.1 % of mothers with children under 18 worked. (Dept of Labor). Take them out of the workforce and see how many families drop a tax bracket or two. Good thing we have all those TV's because daycare is expensive...
The statistics listed in the article comparing telepohnes, complete plumbing, refrigerator, stove, tv, and vehicle, did NOT consider that
a.) the price of these items has declined drastically with technology much like the price of Haggis' VCR, and
b.) many of these things are considered a necessity today when they weren't so much then, e.g. telephone, plumbing (mandated in most areas), stove & refrigerator (can't pass a building inspection without them in most states) and vehicle. This says NOTHING of income disparity.
From the "South-North Development Monitor (SUNS); annual working hours in the US have been steadily rising since 1980 and US workers put in the longest hours among industrialized nations.
Broken record: a protestant work ethic does not get you anywhere anymore.
It doesn't appear, in general, that higher education or specialization sets you apart anymore either.
IMO, we don't have a capitalist economy anymore.
Evidence of income/class polarization; crime stats, political polarization, need for welfare.
A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, Nothing else.
Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi