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The rich get richer, with government help

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  • Under Republicans and Democrats alike -- enthusiastically in the former case, more ambivalently in the latter -- Wall Street received a sympathetic ear, even though its practices were enriching a tiny slice of Americans and posed real risks to the economy as a whole.
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  • Fast Track to Inequality
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  • Washington at Work--for the Wealthy
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Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, Bloomberg News/Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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Four years ago, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson took a moment from his economic cheerleading to acknowledge that, yes, economic inequality had risen. Over the previous three decades, the share of pretax national income raked in by the richest 0.1 percent of Americans had more than quadrupled. By the time Paulson spoke, this tiny upper crust of American households (average 2007 income: $7 million) brought home about $1 of every $8 earned in the country.

Paulson expressed concern about the trend. Yet his basic message was that Americans should get used to it. Growing inequality, he declared, "is simply an economic reality, and it is neither fair nor useful to blame any political party."

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Related:

Fast Track to Inequality, Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

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  • Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.
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  • “Over the last generation more and more of the rewards of growth have gone to the rich and superrich. The rest of America, from the poor through the upper middle class, has fallen further and further behind.” -- Political scientists Jacob Hacker of Yale and Paul Pierson of the University of California, Berkeley.
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  • Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics
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Washington at Work--for the Wealthy, Sam Pizzigati, Other Words

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  • "We cannot avoid the sad irony," as one new report <> has just concluded, "that government policy aimed at building wealth is largely helping the rich get richer."
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  • Uncle Sam is concentrating America's wealth, not sharing it.
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  • Think Again: Inequality and America’s Antiquated Politics
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  • Americans Vastly Underestimate Wealth Inequality, Support 'More Equal Distribution Of Wealth'
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