The baby boomer generation is well-documented as
the wealthiest generation in American history. It is simply a function of human
nature and supply and demand that, where there is so much money, there
will also be a proliferation of those motivated to try to get their hands on their
own ill-gotten pieces of it.
A block of quotes from Mr. Noah's introduction
quickly puts things in perspective:
1915, University of Wisconsin statistician Willford King published The
Wealth and Income of the People of the United States;
was troubled to find that the richest 1 percent possessed approximately 15
percent of the nation's income (it was likely closer to 18 percent);
income tax was created in part to ostensibly prevent disparities in wealth
turn the United Sates into a European-style aristocracy;
had never been a time when class warfare seemed more imminent;
was when the richest 1 percent accounted for approximately 18 percent of
the nation's income. Today, the richest 1 percent account for 24
percent of the nation's income.
How did this happen? Thus begins Mr. Noah's
examination of a host of possible factors. It's a fascinating and recommended
read which arrives at the unambiguous conclusion: this is a problem that needs
to be fixed.