The problem with America is that the owners of corporations don’t control them, looting corporate managements belonging to a cozy ruling class do; “corporations are people” and can buy elections outright (so can anyone in the world, since the money can be contributed anonymously); income and wealth are being split up largely along class membership lines (with the rare entrepreneurial exception who didn’t start off in or near the upper class—look at who gets funded by VC); and the only thing that will prevent America from descending further into banana republic neofeudalism will be renewed democratic commitment to collective welfare: health, education, and work for those who need it. Our emerging competitors may easily leapfrog past America as they see that countries that strive for “government that works” outperform countries where the prevailing attitude is “government is evil.”
I continue to hope. Many have given up, and have become survivalists waiting for collapse. To lose hope in the possibility of reform is to become a serf.
Hat tip to www.businessinsider.com:
The basic gist: After losing big during the Great Recession, the top 1% have dominated income gains in the Great Recovery.
From the report:
During the Great Recession, from 2007 to 2009, average real income per family declined dramatically by 17.4% (Table 1),1 the largest two year drop since the Great Depression. Average real income for the top percentile fell even faster (36.3 percent decline, Table 1), which lead to a decrease in the top percentile income share from 23.5 to 18.1 percent (Figure 2). Average real income for the bottom 99% also fell sharply by 11.6%, also by far the largest two year decline since the Great Depression. This drop of 11.6% more than erases the 6.8% income gain from 2002 to 2007 for the bottom 99%.
The sharp fall in top incomes is explained primarily by the collapse of realized capital gains due to the stock-market crash. Aggregate realized capital gains fell from $895 billion in 2007 to $236 billion in 2009. Indeed, including realized capital gains, the top decile income share dropped from 49.7% in 2007 to 46.5% in 2009 while excluding realized capital gains, the top decile income share remained virtually constant from 45.7% in 2007 to 45.5% in 2009.