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Mon Sep 2, 2019, 11:05 AM

On Labor Day, US Workers are 1/3 poorer than in 2003 & Top 1% is 2x Richer

JUAN COLE
Informed Comment, 09/02/2019

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – On Labor Day, American workers have little to celebrate. That’s alright. The September Labor Day, while initially proposed by some workers in the 1880s, was backed by conservative President Grover Cleveland over May 1, which he associated with radicalism (i.e. with workers who would demand their rights). So it really isn’t for the workers, it is for the bosses.

David Harrison at the Wall Street Journal reports that the lower 50% of US households by wealth have 32% less wealth than in 2003 in real numbers.

They have only now, in 2019, finally regained the wealth they lost in the Great Bush near-Depression of 2007-2009.

So they’ve gotten back to what they had in the way of assets (home value and other valuables; probably not stocks, since that half of Americans doesn’t typically own securities) in 2007, but not what they had in 2003.

Continues...

https://www.juancole.com/2019/09/workers-poorer-richer.html

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Reply On Labor Day, US Workers are 1/3 poorer than in 2003 & Top 1% is 2x Richer (Original post)
Kid Berwyn Sep 2019 OP
Newest Reality Sep 2019 #1
Kid Berwyn Sep 2019 #2
Newest Reality Sep 2019 #3
Kid Berwyn Sep 2019 #4
Newest Reality Sep 2019 #5
Bradical79 Sep 2019 #6
Kid Berwyn Sep 2019 #9
moondust Sep 2019 #7
Kid Berwyn Sep 2019 #8

Response to Kid Berwyn (Original post)

Mon Sep 2, 2019, 11:20 AM

1. When we fret and complain about

the host of social problems that are growing and worsening, it has a direct correlation to those numbers, i.e, if you study a bit about the relationship of poverty to crime, drug abuse, etc., etc.

Now, in a crony capitalism with its shibboleth of profit and its demigods of wealth, the facts about that are not only inconvenient, they are sacrosanct to the system.

If we really wanted to improve this country as a whole and see the dire, negative statistics decline rapidly, then addressing the massive and growing inequity is job one and the one that would be most effective, sound and lasting. Currently, profit and acquisition trumps, (pun intended) life, health, happiness and general flourishing. It is making a rather sick society go critical and the symptoms we see point directly to the illness we have collectively.

Right now, we are collectively working to support and enrich a small percentage of our population and many of us can hardly survive doing that. The priorities of the wealthy, (and big corporations) are so heavy and egregious that their weight is like an elephant on our backs. We can't keep that up much longer and if breaking the backs of a large number of Americans of all kinds is going to proceed unabated, then what are we getting for our efforts? Nothing much?

This is not a big secret. There are no big metaphysical question marks hovering around it mysteriously. It is not a big WTF. It is supported by facts and evidence and that information is available for all to see.

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Response to Newest Reality (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 2, 2019, 11:36 AM

2. Great post! Thanks! No secret to those who think.

What about those whose job it is to tell the truth, journalists, academics and politicians?

They all, seemingly intentionally, miss the GOP elephant (+ their Wall Street funded friends across the aisle) standing on the nation’s back.

This is Year 38 of Trickle Down. It’s 37 years past seeing voodoo economics doesn’t work, except for turning the Haves into the Have-Mores.



How economists have misunderstood inequality: An interview with James Galbraith

Posted by Brad Plumer at 11:37 AM ET, 05/03/2012
The Washington Post

Before 1980, few academics in the United States gave much thought to the idea of economic inequality. It just wasn’t a glaring concern. But in the last 30 years, the incomes of the nation’s wealthiest 1 percent have surged, and more and more economists have been paying attention.

Occupy Wall Street protests in Los Angeles (LUCY NICHOLSON - REUTERS) Yet there’s still plenty about economic inequality that’s not well understood. What’s actually driving the gap between the richest and poorest? Does it hurt economic growth, or is it largely benign? Should it be reversed? Can it be reversed? Surprisingly, there’s little consensus on how to answer these questions — in part because good data on the topic is hard to come by.

In his fascinating new book, “Inequality and Instability,” James K. Galbraith, an economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, takes a more detailed look at inequality by assembling a wealth of new data on the phenomenon. Among other things, he finds that economic inequality has been rising in roughly similar ways around the world since 1980. And this rise appears to be driven, in large part, by the financial sector — and the changes that modern finance has forced in the global economy. We talked by phone recently about his book.

Brad Plumer: You bring together a lot of new data on inequality in the book across a variety of countries, from the United States to Europe to China to Latin America. What’s different about what your book discovers?

James Galbraith: One thing we found is that there are common global patterns in economic inequality across different countries that appear to be very strongly related to major events affecting the world economy as a whole. The most important have been changes in financial regimes and changes in systems of financial governance. It made a big difference when the Bretton Woods system ended in 1971. The debt crisis of the 1980s made a big difference. The debt crisis of the 1980s made a big difference. It made a big difference in 2000 when the NASDAQ crashed and interest rates were reduced These things all had global repercussions, and they affected inequality around the entire world in different ways.

BP: And this isn’t how many economists have looked at inequality, correct?

JG: No. The most unconventional thing in this book is about how inequality relates to macroeconomic performance and financial factors. The discussion of inequality tends to be heavily dominated by a marketplace perspective that stresses individual-level characteristics like the demand for skill. Economists have always classified this as a microeconomic problem. ... But when something’s happening at the same time around the world, in different countries that are widely separated, that’s a macro issue. There was a global movement toward higher inequality as a result of the financial stresses that the world is under.

CONTINUED...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/how-economists-have-misunderstood-inequality/2012/05/03/gIQAOZf5yT_blog.html



University of Texas Inequality Project

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Response to Kid Berwyn (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 2, 2019, 11:48 AM

3. Good links!

Thanks. I appreciate the links. That's on spot

I would like to think of "our side" as taking the time and making the effort to learn and know more about both the details and the bigger picture in order to effectively counter the misinformation and pull back the carpet to see what has been swept under it. We may not have enough time and energy, but even a little bit is better than none. If we want to take a journey of a thousand miles, the first step is how we begin.

Our counter to the low-information, misinformation voters, etc., ("their side" is to be highly informed, stay abreast of things and to be able to respond in kind rather than merely react out of habit from the lizard brain. The wool should not be easily pulled over our eyes and knowledge still is power, if you have the right kind and know how to use it. In the churning storm of white noise and news cycles, that task can be all the more difficult, too. Attention and focus are a matter of discipline, but the cause is worth it.

That's the fuel for our incremental and collective capacity to make any transformations and bring about some necessary balance and it is really becoming a matter of life and death for more and more of us as this continues, which might add some emphasis to the conundrum. Otherwise, we may just find ourselves more frustrated, confused, stressed-out and incapacitated.

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Response to Newest Reality (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 2, 2019, 01:24 PM

4. Wealth, Income, and Power

You are most welcome, Newest Reality! Readers are leaders. And they make excellent writers. You may enjoy...



Wealth, Income, and Power

by G. William Domhoff

This document presents details on the wealth and income distributions in the United States, and explains how we use these two distributions as power indicators.

Some of the information may come as a surprise to many people. In fact, I know it will be a surprise and then some, because of a recent study (Norton & Ariely, 2010) showing that most Americans (high income or low income, female or male, young or old, Republican or Democrat) have no idea just how concentrated the wealth distribution actually is. More on that a bit later.

As far as the income distribution, the most striking numbers on income inequality will come last, showing the dramatic change in the ratio of the average CEO's paycheck to that of the average factory worker over the past 40 years.

SNIP...

Historical context

Numerous studies show that the wealth distribution has been concentrated throughout American history, with the top 1% already owning 40-50% in large port cities like Boston, New York, and Charleston in the 1800s. (But it wasn't as bad in the 18th and 19th centuries as it is now, as summarized in a 2012 article in The Atlantic.) The wealth distribution was fairly stable over the course of the 20th century, although there were small declines in the aftermath of the New Deal and World II, when most people were working and could save a little money. There were progressive income tax rates, too, which took some money from the rich to help with government services.

CONTINUED...

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html



The plutocrats get scared when people learn.

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Response to Kid Berwyn (Reply #4)

Mon Sep 2, 2019, 01:34 PM

5. Oh, a bonus.

Thanks again. I will read that one, also, and I hope that others will do the same.

I tend to still enjoy some of the old truisms, though they really seem to have fallen out of favor. Some are maybe less applicable these days, but: A thinking man is a dangerous man, fits well here along with, knowledge is power. The sword was also a symbol for the intellect, long ago, and it is obvious as to why, though, it was said, the pen is mightier than the sword. Gee, that was a truism tangent.

It is an information age and not only do we have to investigate it, but we also need to hone our discernment to be able to sort out the facts from the many, manipulative fictions. That's not really hard, but it does take a little effort and practice.

I am just sharing that for whomever reads these comments. I do find that the more solid information, (recent and historical) you have in your stash, the better you can digest, absorb and discern the rest.

Keep on keeping on, and may the truth set us all free.

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Response to Kid Berwyn (Original post)

Mon Sep 2, 2019, 01:38 PM

6. My $70 billion employer has sub-$15/hr maximum wage :-(

 

For customer service, cashiers, and normal sales floor folks. And they are eliminating a ton of bonus money for the higher paid sales specialists.

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Response to Bradical79 (Reply #6)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 05:23 PM

9. What the average billionaire makes per hour...



Warren Buffett: He made $12.7 billion this year or ~$37 million per day; ~$1.54 million per hour; or ~$25,694 per minute.

Bill Gates: He earned $11.5 billion this year which works out to be ~$33.3 million per day; $1.38 million per hour; or ~$23,148 per minute.

Sheldon Adelson: The casino mogul earned $11.4 billion this year which means he made ~$33 million per day; ~$1.38 million per hour; or $22,946 per minute.

Jeff Bezos: He made $11.3 billion this year or ~$32.7 million per day; $1.36 million per hour; or ~$22,745 per minute.

Mark Zuckerberg: The Facebook founder made $10.5 billion this year or ~$30.4 million per day; ~$1.27 million per hour; or ~$21,135 per minute.

Masayoshi Son: He made $10.3 billion this year or ~$29.86 billion per day; ~$1.24 million per hour; or $20,732 per minute.

Sergey Brin: He made $9.3 billion this year which works out to be ~$26.9 million per day, $1.12 million per hour; or $18,719 per minute.

Larry Page: He made $9.3 billion this year which works out to be ~$26.9 million per day, $1.12 million per hour; or $18,719 per minute.

Lu Chee Woo: He brought in $8.3 billion this year or ~$24 million per day; ~$1 million per hour; or ~$16,706 per minute.

Carl Icahn: The billionaire investor made $7.2 billion this year, which works out to be ~$20.87 million/day; ~$869,565/hour; or ~$14,492/i.

SOURCE: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-warren-buffett-makes-per-hour-2013-12

This was back a few years. Still, a billionaire makes about as much as the average schmuck working three part-time, minimum wage jobs for a year, per minute. Then, they move it offshore.

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Response to Kid Berwyn (Original post)

Mon Sep 2, 2019, 02:01 PM

7. Thanks Reagan.

Some of us predicted this is what would happen--in 1980--when Reagan was selling his "trickle-down" "voodoo economics" hoax and going after organized labor and "big gubment."

Thatcher picked up on it and neoliberalism spread to other countries that wanted a piece of the action. Former investment banker Macron has been described as a neoliberal who slashed France's wealth tax and wanted to replace it with a fuel tax that everybody could pay! Reagan and Thatcher would be proud!

Now there's Brexit, Trump, Yellow Vests, RW authoritarians gaining power all over, etc., at least partly due, IMO, to the victims of all that wealth concentration losing ground and trying to "shake things up" before neoliberalism eats them alive.

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Response to moondust (Reply #7)

Wed Sep 4, 2019, 05:18 PM

8. "Trickle Down" economics was a "Trojan Horse" -- David Stockman

EXCERPT...

In the 1980’s Ronald Reagan ushered in a new era in American economics as he cut the top tax bracket from 70% down to 50% and then down again to 28%. In order to get support for doing this from the people, and also from politicians, a very crafty set of lies were produced. As David Stockman, then Reagan’s budget director, put it: giving small tax cuts across the board to all brackets was simply a “Trojan Horse” that was used to get approval for the huge top tax bracket cuts. “Trickle-Down” was a term used by Republicans that meant giving tax cuts to the rich. Stockman explains that:
"It's kind of hard to sell 'trickle down,' so the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really 'trickle down.' Supply-side is 'trickle-down' theory."

"Yes, Stockman conceded, when one stripped away the new rhetoric emphasizing across-the-board cuts, the supply-side theory was really new clothes for the unpopular doctrine of the old Republican orthodoxy."

"…the Reagan coalition prevailed again in the House and Congress passed the tax-cut legislation with a final frenzy of trading and bargaining. Again, Stockman was not exhilarated by the victory. On the contrary, it seemed to leave a bad taste in his mouth, as though the democratic process had finally succeeded in shocking him by its intensity and its greed. Once again, Stockman participated in the trading -- special tax concessions for oil -- lease holders and real-estate tax shelters, and generous loopholes that virtually eliminated the corporate income tax. Stockman sat in the room and saw it happen."

"'Do you realize the greed that came to the forefront?' Stockman asked with wonder. 'The hogs were really feeding. The greed level, the level of opportunism, just got out of control.'"

CONTINUED...

http://rationalrevolution.net/war/trickle_down.htm

Excellent rant, moo dust. Greatest wealth in human history and it's now offshore.

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