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Thinking Big by Nathaniel Loewentheil, James Lardner

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7

1 Building Shared Prosperity

Lawrence Mishel and Nancy Cleeland

FOR the better part of three decades, our country has been stuck on a single, simplistic idea about the economy: less government equals more prosperity. American leaders have sought to create a marketplace unfettered by rules and regulations. Let people fend for themselves, they said, and innovation and entrepreneurship will flourish, the economy will grow as never before, and the benefits will eventually lift the fortunes of all.

That was the promise. We have seen—and lived—the reality. From 1989 to 2006, the highest-earning 10 percent of U.S. households collected over 90 percent of the nation’s income gains. Today the top 1 percent of American families receives 23 percent ...

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