For years, I’ve been making the same embarrassing mistake about U.S. economic inequality. Sorry.
I’ve written, over and over, that the most important divide in our wealth disparity was between the 1 percent and the 99 percent. For example, when I compared the evolution in investment income since the late 1970s, I often imagined a graph like this from the Economic Policy Institute, showing the 1 percent flying away from the rest of the country.
It turns out that that graph is somewhat misleading. It makes it look like the 1 percent is a group of similar households accelerating from the rest of the economy, holding hands, in unison. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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The midterm elections in 2010 brought a tide of conservative Republican victories at the state and local level that gave them strong majorities in the US House of Representatives, as well as many state legislatures and governorships. States affected include those that have traditionally been conservative red states, as well as some which have been more moderate or liberal blue states, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Making matters worse, the sweeping victories came in a US Census year, meaning the elected legislatures then became responsible for drawing new district maps for both US House and state legislative districts for the next ten years.
Some of these legislatures began quickly trying to enact extreme right wing laws limiting workers rights, voting rights and abortion rights among others, while simultaneously redrawing district boundaries to help ensure that they would be more easily capable of maintaining power within their states for years…
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