Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 15 (15 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   16 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

America's Race To The Bottom

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 5   Valuable 5   Well Said 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 12/11/09

- Advertisement -
I sure hope that there is a full and speedy recovery to the massive recession we are all now suffering under.

But, I'll be honest. I doubt that there will be. Most of the upticks following our latest national downturns have been dismal enough that economists have had to invent a new term for them. The phrase is jobless recovery, and the implications are as ugly as they sound.

What it means is that GDP rises, but life remains crappy for real people with real jobs. If they're lucky enough to have one, that is.

Where does the money from rising GDP go, then? Funny you should ask. It goes exactly where it's been going for the last three decades. Not to the public, and not to raising the living standards of ordinary folks. But, rather, to the uber-class.

My guess is that The Great Recession as some are calling the current disaster (presumably to avoid using the D word) will be followed by what history will record as the The Tepid and Rather Jobless, Thank You Very Much, Recovery. If that.

And, more importantly, my guess is that this will be the latest and greatest click yet of what is the most massive ratcheting project of the last three decades, perhaps the most wholesale redistribution of wealth in human history.

Consider the numbers...

The ratio of executive salary to the average paycheck during the mid-twentieth century was about thirty to one. In the last decade it has ranged from three hundred to over five hundred to one.
- Advertisement -


The richest four hundred Americans were worth an average of about $13 million each in the middle of the century, using today's dollars. Now they average over $260 million each.

The top taxpayers in America now pay the same proportion of their income in taxes as those earning less than $75,000 per year. Those taxes on the wealthy went from being more than half of their income fifty years ago to about a sixth today.

In the past three decades, the income of the richest Americans quadrupled, while the income of the lowest ninety percent actually fell. Today, the median wage is lower than it was in the 1970s, even though productivity has grown by nearly fifty percent.

All told, from the 1930s through the 1970s, America produced the biggest and richest middle class in human history. But then many of us made the mistake as I did of assuming that this had become, based on a solid society compact, the default status quo for the foreseeable future.

In fact, it was instead an aberration. And it was contingent.
- Advertisement -


It was an aberration because we are now speedily returning (if we haven't already arrived) to the days prior to the New Deal, when the rich had everything and the middle class was small and insecure. And it was contingent because the good old days depended on a combination of elite satiation and/or a strong progressive defense of an equitable economic order.

But both have disappeared in the Age of Reagan. Today, there are seemingly no bounds conceivable to what the already astonishingly wealthy will do in order to further magnify their holdings. No suffering of the struggling middle class let alone impoverished brown people inconveniently sitting on top of desirable resources somewhere abroad represents the slightest impediment to a greed which long ago ceased to have any passing relationship with utility. We are simply talking here about sociopaths people who cannot fathom a reason to alter their predatory behavior under any circumstances, even when the lives of millions are at stake, and even when another pile of millions of dollars in their investment portfolio does nothing to improve their condition because they are already so rich to begin with.

Okay, well, that's not exactly a new thing. Unless, say, you're a geologist and you happen to think that human beings are a new thing. But what is new is that the other possible protection against the gutting of the middle and working classes that is, the existence of a progressive bulwark against greed has all but disappeared. At the level of elites, this has transpired because the Democratic Party has simply joined the GOP in becoming a corporate tool, serving the interests of Goldman Sachs and a few others, with near complete disregard for the public interest. At the mass level, Americans have embraced their own petite bourgeois form of greed, and have become stupider and Republicaner with each passing year.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

www.regressiveantidote.net

David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.  He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles (dmg@regressiveantidote.net), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. His website is (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Now I'm Really Getting Pissed Off

Mission Accomplished: The Reagan Occupation and the Destruction of the American Middle Class

Mission Accomplished: The Reagan Occupation and the Destruction of the American Middle Class

Yes, Of Course They're Brownshirts. What The Hell Did You Expect?

Liberated from Libertarianism: Rand Paul Runs and Hides from ... Rand Paul

In The Year 2025

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
12 people are discussing this page, with 16 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)
According to the latest Forbes report on the 400 r... by Siegfried Othmer on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 12:32:54 AM
As long as its cheaper to produce goods in third w... by Jeffrey Rock on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 2:33:03 AM
NAFTA is only amongst three countries, the US, Can... by Archie on Monday, Dec 14, 2009 at 1:48:41 PM
The problem can be covered with two words, FREE TR... by kanawah on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 11:59:47 AM
Until people stop associating "Patriotism" with gu... by weslen1 on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 12:15:05 PM
and his nearly tripling of the deficit that had no... by Stanimal on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 3:28:19 PM
In the lead in to this article it was asked "Could... by arlen custer on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 3:44:08 PM
at socialism and communism is a sign of stupid ? ... by sommers on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 5:10:25 PM
Totalitarian police state is a good way to describ... by arlen custer on Monday, Dec 14, 2009 at 11:54:45 AM
I believe that some of the most socialist of state... by Archie on Monday, Dec 14, 2009 at 1:42:59 PM
They may have some form of socialism but the power... by arlen custer on Monday, Dec 14, 2009 at 4:40:47 PM
Ahem, here is another unpleasant truth.There is no... by Michael Fairfax on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 3:57:59 PM
is so large and so versatile that it can handle a ... by Archie on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 5:39:44 PM
It didn't "begin with Reagan" though his administr... by mrk * on Sunday, Dec 13, 2009 at 11:53:46 AM
Many risks are best managed through collective act... by kwalsh on Sunday, Dec 13, 2009 at 6:51:32 PM
And to add to the stats, the Center for Tax Justic... by crispy on Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009 at 4:48:30 AM