California Vs The American Oligarchy

Thomas Piketty et al., expand on their earlier work showing how the US is entering a new gilded age. The main points are:

  • The bottom half of the country has been shut out from income growth for 40 years.
  • Government spending has helped lift lower incomes, but only a little.
  • Increased health care spending on the elderly consumes most of the gains.
  • The top 1% and the bottom 50% have swapped their relative shares of the national income.
  • Taxes in the United States are much less progressive than they used to be.
  • More women in the work force also helped mitigate rising inequality.
  • But there’s still a heavy glass ceiling.
  • Since 1999, any upper-middle-class income growth has been after-tax.
  • Taxes and spending helped blunt the effects of inequality and income stagnation.

It’s worth noting that the California values expressed in the CNP Platform are the exact ones that would have prevented this new Gilded Age from forming in the first place:

  • Progressive taxation
  • Social spending
  • Gender equality
  • Universal healthcare
  • Economy built from the middle out instead of top down
Nine New Findings About Inequality in the United States