09/23/2010 01:17 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Think Again: Inequality and America's Antiquated Politics

It's ironic--though perhaps that's too kind a term--to note that at the moment the U.S. poverty rate is reaching a 15-year high the nation is engaged in whether to offer additional tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 per year. (For a single adult in 2009, the poverty line was $10,830 in pretax cash income. For a family of four it was $22,050.)

This despite the fact that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed the short-term effects of 11 potential options for dealing with the present unemployment crisis and found that retaining the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy offered the least powerful "bang for the buck," owing to wealthy people's proclivity to save rather than spend additional income. And yes, it just so happens that the Forbes 400 came out during the same week, and lo and behold, "The super-rich got even wealthier this year." (CAP's Matt Yglesias offers a few ideas about this phenomenon as well.)

Economic inequality in America is growing to proportions we have never seen before, threatening not only our social structure but also our democracy as the U.S. Supreme Court equates the right to spend money on politics with freedom of speech.

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