Monday, March 4, 2013

Looting by its proper name

Teamster Nation just posted this excellent video on wealth inequality in the US:

Teamster Nation: For workers, the recovery is more like a stick-up 
If this shocking video about wealth inequality in America doesn't outrage you, then consider this: corporate profits rose 20 times faster than worker incomes since 2008.

ThinkProgress tells us:
Corporate profits hit record highs in the second half of 2012, but that prosperity hasn’t led to the creation of jobs, since America’s biggest firms are sitting on stocks of cash instead of investing them back into the economy…. 
From 2009 to 2011, 88 percent of national income growth went to corporate profits while just one percent went to workers’ wages, and hourly earnings for workers actually fell over that time. And while they aren’t investing in job growth, corporations are also paying taxes at a rate that hit a 40-year low in 2011.
And if that doesn't enrage you, think about the sequester. It will hurt ordinary people and leave the plutocrats unscathed.

Here's just one example: The Social Security Administration estimates sequestration will mean 10-minute waits when calling the 800-number, 30-minute waits at the Social Security field offices to see a representative, waits of two weeks longer for a decision on an initial disability claim and a month longer wait for a disability hearing decision. And don't expect to see Bill Gates sitting next to you.
Wealth inequality is one of those issues that is really hard for people to get their heads around.  People really don't have a good sense of how much out right theft and graft is within our current political system.

Whats worse is the economics profession has pretty much taken a page out of P.T. Barnum's playbook to sell the general public on the idea that their profession is a science; rather than a highly politicized ideological enterprise, where the solutions and priorities are highly determined by the personal priorities and opinions of those doing the asking.

Yves Smith in her excellent book ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism closed out the opening chapter of her book with an important insight:
"Free Markets" ideology, with  its libertarian idealism, has in fact produced Mussolini-style corpratism. And until we learn to call the resulting looting by its proper name, it is certain to continue.
Over the past four decades a fraud has been perpetuated on the public and we have to start waking up to it if we are ever going to regain real economic prosperity, prosperity which is equitably earned and shared by all who strive for success and economic productivity.

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