The net effect of this is that the elite are the ones who set policy instead of focusing on what is best for the whole. In the United States both parties are beholden to special interest benefactors who then demand to have their say. The recent healthcare bill failure was one such example but there are many others.
The post World War II boom was an anomaly in that mass immigration from Europe accompanied by the need to rebuild that ravaged continent allowed America to build a prosperous middle class. The post war baby boom then became the generation who profited from their parents's ability to see them through advanced education to construct the nation's ruling political class.
Today most wealth is not amassed through toil and hard work. Yes there are exceptions such as technology purveyors Bill Gates or Steve Jobs but it is actually about being born into the right family. In that sense the American dream ideology that everyone can prosper equally has vanished into thin air.
As a prime example, Donald Trump was born into money and without it he wouldn’t have gotten far. Even then he is an abject failure at most things he attempts and, coupled with lack of intellectual capacity or curiosity, he is barely able to string coherent sentences together.
The problem is that income disparity at such extreme levels will invariably see nations implode from within as the basic needs of the majority are not met to make way for the aspirations of the top echelon. To not see this amounts to complete stupidity or complete lack of empathy for it is obvious that the health of a country is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain. Power corrupts absolutely and unless this imbalance is addressed the United States and any other democracies who have hitched their wagon to the Neo-Liberal philosophy that open border markets are enough, are in for a very hard lesson. What was forgotten when global markets were opened is that lack of safeguards only guarantees that greed will be the primary motivator at the expense of health inside national borders.
The discontent with this model is what allowed an opportunistic moron like Trump to gain power and even if this set back is only temporary, the underlying problem must be addressed or face dire consequences.
It is no secret why the happiest nations are socialist democracies for the disparity is not as extreme and many of the basic needs of its populace are met. Let us hope that at least they stay sufficiently healthy.