To the editor:
Columbia University Professor Joseph Stiglitz wrote in the May 2011 Vanity Fair magazine, “The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in 25 percent of the nation’s income each year. In terms of wealth, rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent; 25 years ago the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall.”
As a consequence, the United States now compares to Russia and Iran in income inequality. And the wealth gap continues to grow toward economic totalitarianism led by the big banks and seemingly allowed by a Federal Reserve system that watches while the banks and traders, the financial sector, not only pocket the income but cast aside previous banking regulations via corporate lobbyists for their clients.
The median wage in the United States is the same as it was 30 years ago (“Deep Economy” by Bill McKibben, page 11). The real income of the bottom 90 percent has declined steadily. They earned $27,060 in real dollars in 1979, $25,646 in 2005.
We need to focus on a green revolution, renewable energy, food, health care, transportation and energy for all Americans. Instead we have had our economy nearly hobbled by the unaccountable excesses of Wall Street.