Hopefully President Obama will talk about the gap between rich and poor tonight. Here's why:
Saez has now updated this statistic to include 2011. When you look at the economic recovery's first two years, the top one percent (which by 2011 meant any household making more than about $367,000) captured 121 percent of all pre-tax income gains.
How is it even possible for the one percent to capture more than 100 percent of all income gains since the last recession? Looked at from one point of view, it's not. It is enough to say that in 2010 and 2011 all of the recovery went to the one percent. If you were in the bottom 99 percent, as by definition nearly all of us are, you didn’t see a dime of that recovery.
If I were Obama, I'd be of two minds about flagging these statistics. On the one hand, they certainly make his case for the middle class more compelling. On the other hand … this happened on his watch! Since 1948, economic growth has most benefited those at the bottom of the income distribution whenever a Democrat was in the White House, and it's most benefited those at the top of the income distribution whenever a Republican was in the White House. Obama's first term, it seems increasingly clear, constitutes a dramatic break from this historic pattern. The U.S. economy’s current ability to expand—no matter who is president—without benefiting the 99 percent is something new. Perhaps we should do something to change that.
Either that, or Obama is just another president of the 1 Percent. He has three years and 11 months to get this right.
Blogger's note: I'm tied up on the Christopher Dorner drama...over and out.