Joseph Stiglitz says the rich have got America right where they want it.
The Nobel Prize-winning economist writes in Salon that the super-rich have never been better at advancing their cause -- that being the obtainment of a larger slice of the pie.
“What is different today," he writes, "is that the 1 percent now has more knowledge about how to shape preferences and beliefs in ways that enable the wealthy to better advance their cause, and more tools and more resources to do so."
He has two friends in Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, two political scientists that argue in their book “Winner-Take-All Politics" that corporate America and the wealthy people that run it have twisted Washington to their advantage since the late 1970s. You know, Citizens United, etc. Stiglitz also argues that the richest Americans have successfully obscured how much inequality has truly risen, citing a study that found most people think the wealthiest fifth of society holds 60 percent of the nation’s wealth, when that percentage lies closer to something around 85 percent.
Yet there's evidence that income inequality has actually become something of a mainstream issue in recent years. A January survey by the Pew Research Center, for example, found that more than half the country saw signs of "strong conflicts" between the rich and poor. The percentage had risen 50 percent from just a few years prior.
What's certain is that America's rich have been the biggest beneficiaries of the U.S. economy since the 1970s, with the nation's richest one percent watching their incomes rise an average of 275 percent between 1979 and 2007 -- gains that significantly outperform any other income bracket.
Look at CEO pay rates for a specific example of this process. Even as the wages of everyday workers fell 2 percent last year, CEO pay grew by 15 percent, The Guardian reports.