The growing gap between skyrocketing corporate profits and the geometrically growing fortunes of the piggish 1% and the stagnant or falling household incomes of the rest of us is not attributable to work ethic, intellect, or entrepreneurial-ism on the part of rich. It began with Ronald Reagan and is a direct result of conquest of the economic and political systems of the United States by the 1%, and their ongoing abuse of the institutions of finance and government in order to bleed the middle class in this country to death.
It has gotten to the point where the middle class, once the backbone of the U.S. economy, back when the country actually made something besides noise, is individually and collectively so far in debt that they can no longer pay or borrow for the shit the rich got rich selling. What the privileged class is missing is, when the debt comes due and there's no money to pay it, there is no more money period. Debt-based growth is not an infinite loop, and when it ends it ends for everyone. Except the 1%, who twist perception so we forget the last time they had our tits in the wringer (Enron, anyone? S&L scandal?), then force us to take the economic hit while they walk away without penalty, fortunes intact. Privatize profit, socialize loss.
And we, many of us, end up supporting the very people who continue to rob us, by voting for their wholly-owned politicians.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” – Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928