With the gap between rich and poor Americans exploding—and hardly anyone talking about it—what Washington needs is a “genuine populist,” writes David R. Francis in the Christian Science Monitor. Some quick facts: The wealthiest 1% “took 23.5% of the nation’s income in 2007,” far more than the 8.9% they took in 1976; and between 1979 and 2008, the incomes of the richest 5% soared 73%, while the poorest fifth watched incomes fall 4.1%.
Meanwhile, CEOs of the top US companies are paid some 300 times more than their lowest-paid workers; in the 1960s, they were paid just 30 times more. Indeed, the distribution of wealth is more lopsided than that of Egypt, a division that inspired a revolution. And the media here, like the state-controlled media there, hasn’t made much of the gap. We need a populist who can capitalize on the notion of fairness, not envy, “despite inevitable false charges of socialism.” Let’s “make it politically embarrassing” for conservatives “to continue coddling the rich.” (Read more populist stories.)