Some of my educated European friends, and nearly all of my uneducated friends and family, have absolutely no idea just how economically regressive the last thirty years have been in the United States. After the jump, I've included a batch of revealing statistics from Juan Cole.
Also check out this new blog called Occupy Philosophy (hat tip: Brian Leiter).
Note that there is actually some really good news in Cole's statistics. Despite a barrage of negative reports from traditional media outlets, a firm majority of Americans now support OWS and what we are fighting for.
In this respect, one must note that the thing that saves the United States over and over again is that phony populism almost inevitably gives way to the real thing. What starts with crapulent racists like Faubus and Coughlin ends up with people like the brothers Long and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
I think OWS is the beginning part of exactly this dynamic, with the "Tea Party," Rush Limbaugh (see quote in picture to right), and Fox News having played exactly the stock role of that very traditional racist kind of pseudo-populism. It's something that corrupt regimes everywhere project in an often successful attempt to keep their feet on everybody else's necks. The extent to which the American experiment has been successful is the extent to which this strategy has heretofore always ultimately failed in a way that allows real populists to clean up the civilizational detritus left by the plutocrats.
Anyhow, Joe Bob says to check out the good, the bad, and the ugly after the jump.
Percentage of Americans who approve of Occupy Wall Street: 54
Percentage of Americans who say that the gap between the rich and the poor has grown too large: 79
Percentage of Americans who say the rich should pay more in taxes: 68
Percentage of Americans who approve of the Tea Party: 27
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ranking in Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans: 8
Bloomberg’s net worth: $20 billion
Amount Bloomberg spent of his own fortune on his two mayoral campaigns in New York: $159 million
The combined net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans, as measured by Forbes magazine in 2007: $1.5 trillion
The combined net worth of the poorer 50 percent of American households in 2007: $1.6 trillion
Number of times Bloomberg promised that the Occupy Wall Street protesters could “stay indefinitely”: 1
Average salaries in New York’s securities industry in 2010: $361,330
Average salary of Wall Street financiers against whom the protesters were protesting, according to Bloomberg (saying they “are struggling to make ends meet”): $45,000-$50,000
Average increase in compensation for private-sector employees outside securities industry during the past 30 years: 1.8%
Average price inflation rate during past 30 years: roughly 3%
Decline in average wage of the average middle class family in past decade: 7%
Decline in the average income of the average poor family in the past ten years: 12%
Rate at which the volume of commercial and industrial bank loans grew in the second quarter of 2011: 9.6%