Piss trickling down on the rest of us

One of the very important myths I’m supposed to believe is the “trickle down” theory, that making the rich richer leads to benefits that “trickle down” to the rest of society. Another way of phrasing it which I recall from the Reagan era is that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

So I’m wondering how I’m supposed to understand the following chart:

It shows that about two thirds of all income gains between 2002 and 2007 went to the top one percent of the population.

Stephen J. McNamee and Robert K. Miller, Jr., write:

According to the ideology of the American Dream, America is the land of limitless opportunity in which individuals can go as far as their own merit takes them. According to this ideology, you get out of the system what you put into it. Getting ahead is ostensibly based on individual merit, which is generally viewed as a combination of factors including innate abilities, working hard, having the right attitude, and having high moral character and integrity. Americans not only tend to think that is how the system should work, but most Americans also think that is how the system does work (Huber and Form 1973, Kluegel and Smith 1986, Ladd 1994).

So when Ronald Reagan became president, I should have gotten rich! Somehow that didn’t work out. I just don’t understand why. I mean, it just couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that the top twenty percent of the population takes home nearly 50 percent of the income or that the top one percent of the population holds over 30 percent of the wealth.
And surely our President Barack Obama wouldn’t have bailed out all those rich people if they didn’t need the help a lot more than the six million who have lost their jobs since the beginning of this recession. After all, it’s not like anybody needs a job or anything. I just don’t understand.

You know, I guess there’s just one explanation. It must have something to do with what McNamee and Miller have to say about how wealth seems to be associated with inheritance. After all, if you were born to money, you might have a mental breakdown or something if you don’t have it anymore. And you know that’s gotta be more important than anybody else having food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over their head. I mean think of poor Paris Hilton! Nothing else makes any sense, does it?

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