The point where Wall Street blew up the world economy is pretty obvious right? There’s a little blip on the radar but despite the overall shrinkage of our economy, we’ve remained productive. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily translate to better working conditions. In fact, in extreme cases this is leading to quasi-sweatshop conditions. We’re seeing record productivity and record profits but wages aren’t matching; in fact they’re actually going down across all demographics.
This is statistical evidence of individual workers being squeezed for more work, harder work, faster work, off the clock work. We need more jobs, but companies aren’t hiring because people won’t buy their stuff.
So how do we get people back to work? High-end tax cuts aren’t going to do it; corporate cash reserves are already at a 50-year high. Cutting taxes doesn’t make them invest, it just gives them more cash. How do we fix that?
We get money into peoples’ pockets, one way or another. Keynes* said that you build bridges and roads where you can, and if all else fails you pay people to dig ditches and then pay other people to fill them back up. This approach seems to be working in Iraq, but I guess there’s some reason we can use our money to do that there but not here.
*the guy who came up with this whole evil socialistic deficit-spendy thing about demand stimulating the economy
Bottom line? If rich people don’t wake up then pretty soon they’re going to run into a situation where poor people can’t buy their shit any more.
In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers).