In his recent piece in the Nation, Robert Reich argues that the structural reason for the Great Recession is/was (depending on whether you believe the recession is over) "America's surging inequality."
Here's a snippet:
"Consider: in 1928 the richest 1 percent of Americans received 23.9 percent of the nation's total income. After that, the share going to the richest 1 percent steadily declined. New Deal reforms, followed by World War II, the GI Bill and the Great Society expanded the circle of prosperity. By the late 1970s the top 1 percent raked in only 8 to 9 percent of America's total annual income. But after that, inequality began to widen again, and income reconcentrated at the top. By 2007 the richest 1 percent were back to where they were in 1928—with 23.5 percent of the total."Each of America's two biggest economic crashes occurred in the year immediately following these twin peaks—in 1929 and 2008."
Take a few minutes to read the full article; it will be worth it.