The 1 percenters targeted by those leading the Wall Street occupation had a profitable run between 1979 and 2007. Their average after-tax income grew 275 percent in that period, while income for the 60 percent of the population in the middle of the earning scale grew by just under 40 percent.
That’s the news from a report published by the Congressional Budget Office this month. Researchers said an increase in the share of income coming from capital gains—profits made on investments—played a substantial role in the overall increase. And of course, all of this occurred during the period in which participation in the derivatives market—the favorite golden goose of modern investors—grew astronomically.
Meanwhile, German researchers ranked the U.S. as the 27th least “socially just” country out of the 31 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development—a group whose stated goal is the stimulation of global economic progress and trade between nations. Greece, Chile, Mexico and Turkey filled the last four spots on the chart.
The U.S. scored lower than the OECD average on more than half of the measures, taking 29th in “poverty prevention,” 20th in “access to education,” 16th in “labor market inclusion,” 16th in “social cohesion and nondiscrimination,” 23rd in “health” and 20th in “intergenerational justice,” which attempts to measure whether an earlier generation inhibits or enables later generations’ access to education, employment and general health.
The Northern European states, which include Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, were deemed the most socially just countries in the OECD by far.
For a brief explanation on how the “Social Justice Index” works and why the U.S. scored so poorly, read this interview by Justin Elliott of Salon, who spoke with Daniel Schraad-Tischler, the author of the study. —Alexander Reed Kelly
Bronze sculptures depicting urchins with bags of money are found in the subway station at 14th Street and 8th Avenue in New York City.