Fox News' Eric Bolling has said some pretty awful things about the Occupy Wall Street movement. He's called the protesters "petulant little children," compared them to Communists and Nazis, and even slammed them as "pot-smoking, sex-addicted morons." When Bolling has been forced to specifically address the substance of the protesters' claims -- namely that of rising inequality and an economic system tilted to overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy -- he has employed a different tack: denial or diversion.
Tonight, confronted with the fact that Americans share the protesters' concerns about rising income inequality in the United States, he chose to negate the claim, arguing that income inequality doesn't exist in this country.
Bolling's efforts to dismiss inequality comes as an overwhelming majority of Americans voice support for policies meant to address inequality. Results from a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll indicate that 68 percent of Americans believe the current tax system favors the wealthy, and 72 percent of Americans support raising taxes on millionaires.
Here are the facts:
- Taxes on top earners are at historic lows
- CBPP: "Typical middle-class households face higher tax rates than some high-income households."
- The Center for Economic and Policy Research has shown that income for the top 1 percent increased 256 percent from 1979-2006, while the lowest quintile saw incomes rise 11 percent
- Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: Mobility has "not been sufficient to offset the considerable rise in short-term inequality."
Income after transfers and federal taxes (denoted as after-tax income in this study) for households at the higher end of the income scale rose much more rapidly than income for households in the middle and at the lower end of the income scale. In particular:
- For the 1 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007
- For others in the 20 percent of the population with the highest income (those in the 81st through 99th percentiles), average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent over that period, much faster than it did for the remaining 80 percent of the population, but not nearly as fast as for the top 1 percent.
- For the 60 percent of the population in the middle of the income scale (the 21st through 80th percentiles), the growth in average real after-tax household income was just under 40 percent.
- For the 20 percent of the population with the lowest income, average real after-tax household income was about 18 percent higher in 2007 than it had been in 1979.
The following chart from CBO makes clear that there is indeed income inequality in this country regardless of what Bolling would like to believe: