Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Economic ‘Recovery’? Who Recovers And Who Does Not

Via Robert Reich, here's information from The Levy Institute of Bard College (.pdf):
For the vast majority of people in the United States, economic growth has become little more than a statistical sideshow, largely disconnected from their paychecks. This is starkly illustrated in the figure below, which shows how income growth has become more inequitably distributed with virtually every subsequent economic expansion during the postwar period.

In the 1949–53 expansion, the overwhelming majority of the income growth went to the overwhelming majority of the people—the bottom 90 percent of the income distribution. After that, the bottom 90 percent’s share of income gains gradually shrunk, decade by decade. This trend accelerated in the 1980s, to the point that the richest 10 percent began receiving the majority of the income growth. And from 2009 through 2012, while the economy was recovering from one of the biggest economic downturns in recent memory, 116 percent of the income growth went to the top 10 percent (with the top 1 percent alone taking home 95 percent of the income gains); this absurd result is possible because the bottom 90 percent actually saw their incomes fall, on average, during this growth period.

(See linked article for the figure referred to above.)

This trend and its consequences in people's lives are utterly unjust. Worse, action by a government in facilitating such outright robbery of the poor and the middle class by the very rich is the stuff of which revolutions are made... read America's Declaration of Independence, and note how many of the reasons given for revolt are economic in character. The 1% has basically one choice in its own self-interest: revise the rules to reinstitute a prosperous middle class and substantially reduce poverty. Not that those people listen to me...

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