Stakes on Stakes on Stakes

Writing for Reuters, David Cay Johnston describes the wildly divergent recovery from the Great Recession:

The 1934 economic rebound was widely shared, with strong income gains for the vast majority, the bottom 90 percent. In 2010, we saw the opposite as the vast majority lost ground.

National income gained overall in 2010, but all of the gains were among the top 10 percent. Even within those 15.6 million households, the gains were extraordinarily concentrated among the super-rich, the top one percent of the top one percent.

Just 15,600 super-rich households pocketed an astonishing 37 percent of the entire national gain

I said yesterday that there are actual stakes to this election, even if we’re all inclined to treat the event like a good ball game. Well, this is one of them. President Obama’s policies on income inequality aren't great—at most, his push for higher taxes on the rich will make social investments more affordable—but they are radical compared to the GOP’s plan to increase the rate of upwards redistribution with lower taxes on wealth and high incomes, paid for by massive cuts to entitlements and social programs. In other words, if we go by their actual policies, Republicans—including “moderates” like Mitt Romney—want to take the trend that Johnston describes, and accelerate it. That alone is reason enough to care about the outcome of this election.