Thursday, February 24, 2011

How Much Income You've Given up for the Super Rich

This chart, one of many at Mother Jones, shows how much income you've given up for the top 1%

Economic policies favor the rich and it's easy to get richer when you already have money. Wall Street doled out $21 BILLION in bonuses in 2010, the fifth highest ever, despite a sluggish economy.
But we can't solely blame the super rich for getting rich off the backs of the working and middle class. The working class and the middle class have long bought into the idea that we can be super rich too! We have aspired to riches and plunged ourselves deep into debt to appear somewhat rich. We bought houses we couldn't afford because we thought we were entitled. Then we used them like an ATM machine to buy other stuff. Keeping up with the Joneses has long been part of the American culture. Retailers, marketers and sellers of material goodies call us "aspirational." Folks who sell stuff love the aspirational because up until the Great Recession, the aspirational allowed the rich to buy that third vacation home and that luxury yacht. The best thing we can do for ourselves is get out of debt and then live within our means.