This report summarizes the situation of the Third Estate very well. From the Findings of the Working Group on Extreme Income Inequality, these key points:
- Percentage of U.S. total income in 1976 that went to the top 1% of American households: 8.9.
- Percentage in 2007: 23.5.
- Only other year since 1913 that the top 1 percent’s share was that high: 1928.
- Combined net worth of the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans in 2007: $1.5 trillion.
- Combined net worth of the poorest 50% of American households: $1.6 trillion.
- U.S. minimum wage, per hour: $7.25.
- Hourly pay of Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon, for an 80-hour week: $27,034.74.
- Average hourly wage in 1972, adjusted for inflation: $20.06, In 2008: $18.52
Please click on the link for much more including fascinating statistics on CEO pay and the real value of the minimum wage today. Of course, the argument that increasing the minimum wage that much would result in more unemployment must hold true, because the above minimum wages have slumped to below real constant dollar “old minimum wage” levels. (that was a mouthful) But really, think about it. If the real incomes of the top have increased so much, and the rest have done nothing so as to have fallen below the real value of the 1972 minimum wage, then a lot of somebodys got screwed.