As of 2008, wealth disparity was the greatest it has been since 1928. Irrespective of whatever might be happening to GDP, Republican presidents thrust more people into poverty, Democratic presidents, even Carter, get some people out of poverty. The differences are stark. Click on the chart to blow it up to a full page view.
Update: Current productivity increases are stunning. (From Delong again)
The flip side of the jobless recovery is a high productivity-growth recovery--and, with stagnant wages, a rise in the profit share...
Update 2: The unemployment picture stays bleak. But you knew that.
What do YOU think is happening to wealth distribution?
Note the changes in the number of Americans living in poverty. The only big declines have happened during Democratic administrations. The first big decline on the chart was the result of the Kennedy/Johnson Great society. Nixon/Ford followed by Carter did little to affect poverty numbers. Reagan wasted no time in getting more people back into the chains of poverty. Though his irresponsible fiscal profligacy might have contributed to a slight decline after the initial surge, by the end of the Bush I term, poverty was almost back to the 1959 level. The next big decline in poverty occurred under Clinton. There was good and bad in the Clinton Presidency. This good thing was totally undone by Bush II.
Do you see any hope of this trend improving in the near future?
Note: I could only find an earlier version of this graph with data through 2007. So I grabbed the above chart from DeLong.