This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
With just a little investigation, it becomes clear why the Occupy Wall Street folks are so upset. Read the complete nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report on income inequality in America between 1979 and 2007 (http://cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=12485). It gives the details behind the recent oft-quoted figures of a 275 percent growth in real (inflation adjusted) after-tax household income for the top 1 percent versus a 40 percent increase for the middle 60 percent.
A large but undifferentiated amount of the increase in household income of the "middle class" is from an additional spouse working in the household. The Economist reported earlier this year that the real (inflation adjusted) median income growth for an American male worker rose by only 5 percent 1973 to 2007. That is a truer measure of our progress as a nation.
Even the CIA's The World Factbook reported that the United States ranked No. 61 (from the best) in income equality.
Capitalism in America works just fine for the top 1 percent or even the top 20 percent, but it isn't working for everyone else, unless near-stagnation is success.