Stephen Colbert's Explanation of Income Inequality is Pretty Sharp...

October 27th 2014

Adam Rotstein

As Stephen Colbert reveals in the video below, everyone from President Obama to Pope Francis are now highlighting the vexing nature of income inequality. Pope Francis laments the "idolatry of money" and Colbert's faux-conservative character aptly points out that Wall Street doesn't worship a "golden calf" but a "bronze bull" (brilliant reference to the iconic Wall Street statue). According to Colbert's biting wit, the "Income Wealth Gap" is the last thing that's still Made in the USA. 


As Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at UC Berkeley, reveals: U.S. income inequality has reached levels not seen since 1928. In fact, income inequality has been increasing steadily since the 1970s. The following graph reflects this:

More disconcerting, perhaps, is the growth specifically seen since the Great Recession in 2008. A federal survey suggests that although average income for U.S. families grew from 2010-2013, all of the growth was concentrated among the top earners. Three percent of the population accounted for 30.5 percent of all growth. Unfortunately, there is no sign that this disturbing trend is slowing down anytime soon. The income gap is one we should all mind, to be sure. 

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