The Triumph of the 1%

Originally published at:


The slide downward from the start to the end of WWII is really interesting.

Was that just the New Deal coming into full effect?

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The article summary on Dissent…

By all indications, the incoming administration is not just indifferent to the root causes—growing wage inequality, financialization, the collapse of progressive taxation—but eager to double down on all of them.

Now, come on. Let’s give this new…eh…“government” a chance. Still some weeks away from…[…gag!!!] Trump’s inauguration. I’m told that we’re going to be pleasantly surprised. Really…that’s what someone just offered me over some Christmas party egg nog. I needed another spike of the good stuff for that.


Partly. But also tax increases to pay for the war, and full employment from mobilisation of the entire population, which led to wage increases as workers were in high demand.

Case in point:


I was wondering that, too. My initial take was the 1% cutting into their own salaries in a patriotic “wave” in support of the war effort. It wouldn’t have been considered OK at the time to be seen as profiting on the war. Sort of a moral self-imposed austerity. But I admit I’m simply guessing and you could be right, especially in light of the fact it continued well after the war. Did the government raise taxes in the build up to our entry into WWII? That would account for it as well.

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Color me not surprised.



Which correlates quite nicely with those salary charts from the story. Correlation is not causation of course, but it plays into the narrative I formed during the Reagan years about taxes being one of the largest influences on where salary increases go, so I’ll hold onto it from now.


For all that we talk about the strong mid-century American middle class being the result of the devastation the war brought upon every other industrial nation, a lot of the post-war economic anomaly was also deliberately engineered. The tax policy changes brought about by Reagan and maintained by Third Way Dems has played a significant role in hastening the current contraction of the middle class.


Double plus like.


I’d venture to guess that it’s also a healthy dose of Keynesian economic policy (of which the New Deal was only a part) going on. Then the Friedmanists took over and things went to shit.


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