Monday, August 01, 2011

Goodbye American Dream

MarketWatch is reporting that paychecks account for the lowest percentage of GDP in history, and corporate profits are taking the largest percentage ever.

So why are we shifting taxes off of corporations, their shareholders and CEOs and onto workers?

Because the Republican Party represents people who own, not people who work. And because of this work means less today, it pays less. Owners are the gods in this new America. They can hold the nation to ransom. Ordinary taxpayers pay taxes corporations used to pay. We pay their legal fees when they break the law. We pay their fines and penalties. We pay for their mistakes by bailing them out when they fail.

TooMuchOnline is reporting that top management consultants like Booz & Co. are telling American businesses to pay their employees less than they are worth so they can keep all the money themselves. That is the expert advice of the Harvard Business School. Stiff the worker. But obscenely overpaying executives is OK.

(What makes this relevant today is how it affects the budget deficit. The vast majority of average earners, those whose incomes have flattened or disappeared, are the ones who pay taxes. The individuals and corporations who have reaped the greatest income hikes are the ones who have had the biggest tax cuts. This is where the budget deficit comes from.)

If you look at the pay graph over the past four decades, they've already accomplished this––the pay of average employees has been level for that long. (see Lane Kenworthy's economics blog.) There've been no increases for the American worker at any level (except the very very top) since Reagan declared Morning in America. It was a very cold morning, and an end to the American Dream.

Who does the American Dream belong to now? Look at the numbers. The most favored Americans are those who don't work at all.

This economy, this dead economy––for millions of Americans––and insecure at best for most, is out-of-this-world rewarding for the top top people, the ones with the enormous Republican tax cuts, the ones with Boehner and Cantor and McConnell slugging for them. The ones who own instead of working.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that the income gap between the middle class and the extreme upper class has tripled.

The Washington Post reports on what this new exclusiveness creates: an insulation from the society that supports them, the society they live off of. As they earn more they care less about the people whose work creates their wealth.

Wall Street and the too-big-to-fail financial institutions, who taxpayers bailed out with trillions, reward themselves with billions apiece and handsome bonuses. But will they "loan money"? Will they hire? Will they get the economy going again? Why should they?

This bum economy is exactly the economy the bankers and Wall Street and Big Oil and their Republican operatives wanted.

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