BILL MAHER: I'm glad this issue of economics came up because this is an important story this week. The United States middle class, for the first time, not the richest in the world. That was kind of crushing when I heard that. It's -- Canada is beating us, I guess. Some of the European countries are still behind, but you know what? When you factor in the fact that those countries have like free college, free healthcare, lots of free good stuff, I don't know, we be even more behind than number two.
But it came out during an interesting week, this story, because this book called Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century (sic) by a French economist named Thomas Piketty -- sold out on Amazon. It is like the most -- you can't get near this book. Not that is anyone is reading this doorstop. I'm sure it's wrong to basically break down a 700-page tome into a few words, but I'm going to. Because, you know, everything is too long today. Movies are too long, books are too long.
Basically what this guy is saying is that under capitalism, income inequality is inevitable, and that when we had a thriving middle class after the war -- after World War II in the '50s and the '60s -- that was the aberration. And, by the way, the reason why we had a thriving middle class then is because of socialism. Because the tax rates on the rich then were 70- to 90-percent. And the house I grew up in was under the G.I. Bill, because my parents were veterans and they could -- that's socialism! That's all socialism.
Socialism built the middle class in America. Deal with that, conservatives!
CHARLES MURRAY: Being the victor in World War II and being the only economy to come out of World War II ruling the world, that didn't hurt either, you know?
MAHER: That's true, that's right. Nobody else was even standing. (HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, April 25, 2014)