Disrupt   |  September 14, 2013

Growing disparity of wealth in America

This week we saw further evidence that things are going very well for the rich, but not so much for almost anyone else. In the first three years after the major market crash, 95% of the income gains flowed to those top earners. Their income increased by nearly a third, but for everyone else, the needle barely moved. Jared Bernstein from the Center on Budget &  Policy Priorities joins MSNBC’s Karen Finney.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this week, we saw further evidence, if we needed it, that things are going very well for the rich. but not for almost anyone else . the dow jones closed well over 15,000 points on friday. yet, in a new poll, only 27% believe the economy will get better in the next 12 months. that's a new low for the year. maybe it's because so much of that bull market money is going to a few people. more than 19% of household income in america last year went to the richest 1%. that's the biggest share since the 1920s . we are marking the five-year anniversary of the market crash and president obama will address on monday. in the first three years after that crash, 95% of the income gains flowed to the top earners. their income increased nearly a third. for everyone else, the needle barely moved. in fact, 1% seemed to have captured more than two thirds of all income growth in the last two decades. long-term trend or not, the president is taking the hit for it. president obama 's approval numbers are down. and most people think republicans would do a better job than democrats on the economy. i suspect that opinion will change as people learn about the gop's plans. joining me now is jared bernstein. jared , thanks so much for joining me.

>> thank you for inviting me.

>> so, you know, jared you have been talking about this quite a bit this week and it used to be that really everybody kind of shared in the pain, like when you think about the iraq war , when you think about world war ii , everybody kind of shared in the pain of that war. and now, you see, you know, the rich getting richer. the middle class and low-income people really taking the hit.

>> i think you raise an important point because folks may not realize because the statistics go a long ways back, you said something about 20% of the national income accrued to the top 1%. going back 30 years, it was half of that and if i donyou look at how income gains were distributed, say mid-40s to mid-'70s, just about every income group doubled and not just that folks were getting ahead but very similar rates across the income scale and, of course, that's very different today.

>> so, the republican plans aside from cutting all kinds of great programs that help people succeed, the republican plan seems to be as voiced by senator inhoff, i have a sound from him to play in a moment, it seems more spending for the military, but don't raise those taxes on anybody. here, let's take a listen.

>> the president has so degraded the military and the budget, the first year, you remember that. that was when he did away with the fifth generation fighter, the lift capacity, the c-17, future combat system .

>> so, you know, inhofe is talking about a system that in terms of defense spending , you know, from 1997 to 2013 , it goes up. and we know that the specific fifth generation fighter that he is talking about, the f-35, replaced the f-22 which is what obama canceled, meaning senator inhofe was a little off on the facts but more importantly, with all of this talk with increases of defense spending as you have toelgd told me, they won't raise taxes on the wealthy so that money has to come from programs.

>> correct. if you actually kind of pull back and look at the republican economic plan, generally speaking, this goes back to not just mitt romney and paul ryan and the campaign but to ronald reagan , what i'm going to say sounds a little glib but i think it's actually true. if you looked at the plan, you would conclude that rich people don't have enough money and poor people have too much. the idea is that we need to cut anything that helps low-income people because it's somehow keeping them from participating in the economy or whatever. and at the same time, this is the trickle down supply side part. cut income taxes very sharply for those at the top. and you're exactly right. you very quickly run in to the buzzsaw. if you try to maintain those ideas in your head, where at the aim time you want to increase defense spending but take taxes off the table, in fact, lower taxes for those at the very top, the only place to go is on programs that everybody else depends on and that's what the budget does. it's robin hood in reverse big time .

>> and as the president has been talking about, we need more investments so that we don't have robin hood in reverse. thank you, jared .

>> thank you.

>>> that does it for me. thanks so much for joining us. please don't forget to share your thoughts, find us on facebook and tweet us.