Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Hey, it turns out that income inequality really is a major national security issue

About a year ago, when I began thinking aloud in this blog about income inequality as a national security issue, I worried if that argument was a stretch. So I was pleased to see George Packer sprinkle holy water on it in the new issue of Foreign Affairs: This inequality is the ill that underlies ...

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Flickr
Flickr

About a year ago, when I began thinking aloud in this blog about income inequality as a national security issue, I worried if that argument was a stretch. So I was pleased to see George Packer sprinkle holy water on it in the new issue of Foreign Affairs:

This inequality is the ill that underlies all the others. Like an odorless gas, it pervades every corner of the United States and saps the strength of the country's democracy. But it seems impossible to find the source and shut it off. For years, certain politicians and pundits denied that it even existed. But the evidence became overwhelming. Between 1979 and 2006, middle-class Americans saw their annual incomes after taxes increase by 21 percent (adjusted for inflation). The poorest Americans saw their incomes rise by only 11 percent. The top one percent, meanwhile, saw their incomes increase by 256 percent. This almost tripled their share of the national income, up to 23 percent, the highest level since 1928.

About a year ago, when I began thinking aloud in this blog about income inequality as a national security issue, I worried if that argument was a stretch. So I was pleased to see George Packer sprinkle holy water on it in the new issue of Foreign Affairs:

This inequality is the ill that underlies all the others. Like an odorless gas, it pervades every corner of the United States and saps the strength of the country’s democracy. But it seems impossible to find the source and shut it off. For years, certain politicians and pundits denied that it even existed. But the evidence became overwhelming. Between 1979 and 2006, middle-class Americans saw their annual incomes after taxes increase by 21 percent (adjusted for inflation). The poorest Americans saw their incomes rise by only 11 percent. The top one percent, meanwhile, saw their incomes increase by 256 percent. This almost tripled their share of the national income, up to 23 percent, the highest level since 1928.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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