Forty years ago a single skilled manual wage was enough to provide a living for a working-class man, his wife and family. Now even a middle-class couple with both partners working can't bring in enough to make ends meet.
The golden age for the salaried worker across all the OECD countries was between 1945 and 1973, when ordinary working people gained their highest percentage share of GDP. Since then the real wages of the middle and working class have stagnated or fallen, while income for the rich has rocketed and that of the super-rich has hit the stratosphere.
The facts are astounding. Contrary to the delusions of the free-market fundamentalists, the Thatcher/Reagan revolution has come at a great cost to the working and middle classes. In the US, the top one per cent have seen a 78 per cent increase in their share of national income since 1979 with the bottom 80 per cent of the population experiencing a 15 per cent fall.
Far from being a tide that raises all boats, neo-liberalism has undermined the wealth and security of the majority of the working population. In Britain for example, the liquid wealth of the bottom half of the populace has fallen from 12 per cent in 1976 to just one per cent in 2003, while the top 0.01 per cent in Britain are taking a larger share of national income than at any time in modern history and have seen their incomes rise by more than 500 per cent in under a generation.
You can read more of Philip Blond's excellent First Post piece on the consequences of the neoliberal counter-revolution here.
It is clear that what we have witnessed over the past thirty years is a massive redistribution of wealth from the working class and middle class- to a new group of global super-rich. Their enormous wealth has been made at the expense of you and me, me dear reader, and it's time we- the majority- did something about it.
UPDATE: In similar vein, here's Seumas Milne writing in today's Guardian:
The absurdity is that, precisely when the breakdown of the orthodoxy of deregulated markets, the small state and corporate privilege is plain for all to see, the main political parties are clinging to it ever more tightly. Locked into a free-market framework, it is impossible to tackle the growing crisis of inequality, insecurity, social immobility and falling living standards - because those are the very policies that caused it. But that also creates opportunities for those, inside and outside Labour, pressing for a genuine alternative.