Half of all Americans became poorer while the richest 1 percent became richer under Bush’s policies. Are these two facts related? Apologists for Bush’s pro-rich policies say no, that economics is not a zero sum game. But that argument is false in this case. Economics is not a zero sum game if the economy is growing at a good pace–there’s more to go around for everybody. But after taking inflation into account, the U.S. economy is not growing, so it is zero sum game. What’s more, it is still possible for wealth to move from the poorer to the rich even with a growing economy. But if the economy is stagnant or shrinking, as the inflation-corrected numbers show, then wealth definitely moved from the less-fortunate HALF of all Americans into the pockets of the richest one percent. There is no doubt that Bush’s policies, which are designed to tilt the table in favor of the rich, are doing just what they were designed to do.
The last time that the richest Americans had such a large slice of the pie was in the 1920’s, before the Great Depression. The income statistics were released by the Internal Revenue Service.