I don’t know about you, but you chart seems to suggest that the increase went to a serious rate at about the 70s to 80s, corresponding to the break down of the Breton Woods program.
It also corresponds to:
- The peaking of the mean real hourly wage rate in 1974.
- Nixon printing additional dollars after Bretton Woods, in order to inflate away the debt from the Vietnam War.
- The Arab Oil Crisis.
- The advent of the time when significant production in the economy started to be (a) automated, and (b) shipped overseas.
I think I’m still on the right here in relating the increase in inequality to the levels we see today, with the rise of the neoliberal paradigm in economic policymaking.
I think that what inequality is is a multivariate issue that most people want to boil down erroneously to one or two factors for political reasons. Hence my sensitivity about tying the rise in inequality to the Reagan tax restructuring, which technically didn’t lower taxes at all. (Marginal rates dropped significantly, but effective rates pretty much stayed the same across the income quintiles.)
And it is my view that inequality is driven primarily by #4 above, fueled by bad trade policy that the Europeans were the beneficiary of. Peter Navarro is not wrong when he points out that President after President has been overly generous to our counterparties when it comes to trade policy; and nations like Germany have been much smarter in how they abrogate the effects of automation and globalization.
Interestingly, if you look at that one significant “bump” in the GINI chart in the early 90’s, that jump in inequality occurred when Bush I and Clinton were RAISING tax rates, not lowering them. This further throws shade on the “tax policy causes inequality” narrative.
So when I wrote that particular paragraph, I was thinking specifically of Trump and Bolsanoro. Granted, Trump seems less scary compared to Bolsanaro, a man who’s praised the Brazilian dictatorship, but Trump clearly dislikes the democratic process, starting with him saying he wouldn’t accept the election if he lost.
Well, I don’t take Trump all that seriously when he ad libs, but in this case, keep in mind that ANY individual who starts complaining about election-related “stuff” for which there is no proof (e.g. “voter suppression”) is also throwing shade on the democratic process. and are doing it in a way which is more dangerous than Trump’s ad hoc attacks.
Trump’s easy to ignore in that regard because he gets silly; it is much more serious, in my view, when politicians and others with a platform start stating their opinions about the unfairness of the electoral process without proof. (Repeat a lie often enough……you know how the line goes.)
There’s also le Front National, or whatever they call themselves now, as well as the German AFD who’ve been regularly tied with Anti-Semites, or evoking anti-Semitic tropes in their rhetoric. I do plan to read more on declared far-right groups, and their platforms, but I feel like based on what I understand of this political phenomenon, it’s safe to make the point I did.
All I could find was the Democracy Fund Voter Group that found that: “Nearly a quarter of Americans say that a strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with Congress or elections would be “fairly” or “very good” and 18 percent say that “army rule” would be “fairly” or “very good.” More than a quarter of respondents show at least some support for either a “strong leader” or “army rule.””
Well, the lead finding from that report also says this:
The overwhelming majority of Americans support democracy and most of those who express negative views about it are opposed to authoritarian alternatives.
And then it goes on to say this:
The highest levels of support for authoritarian leadership come from those who are disaffected, disengaged from politics, deeply distrustful of experts, culturally conservative, and have negative views toward racial minorities.
If you put those two summary findings together, you can conclude that these are people who are not just “conservative”, but it some way are disconnected from the broader society. My experience with these sorts of attitudinal surveys is that about 20% of the public can always be counted on to express some sort of “surprising” attitude towards anything; but when you dig into the numbers as to the WHY they hold that attitude, what the survey captures is usually not as toxic as it first appears. For example, if you go back to that 25% and really dug in to why they believe it, you’ll likely find that the person doesn’t perceive our political process as doing anything (broadly) or at least not doing anything for “people like them” REGARDLESS of what party controls what.
And when you watch the politicians dither around each other on TV, you kind of realize why a person might come to believe that you need a “king” (or equivalent) to get anything done. :-)
Economic problems have moved people to look at more radical folks, who promise them a restoration of the older, better, times.
Sure. Make me queen for a day, and I’d be the second coming of Calvin Coolidge, trying to recreate the Roaring 20’s economy.
Make a Democrat king/queen for a day, and they’d want to bring back FDR.
There’s always a golden age out there, somewhere. :-)