I am so glad to know that not all the inequality in the U.S. is due to evil hedge-fund managers, evil bankers, and evil speculators. (And Peter Coyote then asks the superstars to share the wealth. Read the whole thing.)
Since 1990 the earnings of the top leading actors have increased exponentially while the salaries of nearly all other actors have been systematically driven down. In many cases, the earnings of established character actors have been rolled back by 60-70 percent. This occurs, in large part, because the working professional (as opposed to the star) is at a disadvantage when negotiating in the new corporatized production environment. We do not possess a unique, marketable (and often media exploited) brand, and consequently lack the power to make or break the existence or profitability of a film. Consequently, respected, veteran actors with numerous credits and hard-earned “quotes” now routinely receive "take-it-or-leave it" offers, often at “scale”---a beginners wage.
Note: If Radar's recent report, "Who Killed the Movie Star? Hollywood's A-List Idols Are Losing Their Movie-Selling Mojo", is right, the situation he is decrying won't last much longer.