Sunday, November 18, 2012

Robber Barony Is Back
United States
Average Incomes
bottom 90% average income - including capital gains

Shows the submerged 90% of us earn the same (per family) in real terms as we did in the late 1960s. Yet the typical family now has more wage earners, working more hours.

Same site, select
Top Income Shares
top .01% - including capital gains

Shows the hunting animals eating the entire carcass except during 1942-1981, when we had effective antitrust law, labor law, and progressive taxation.

In only these forty years was the average family income of the top .01% "only" 165 times the average family income.  Before 1942 and after 1981, the rich took a much larger share.  In 2010 it was 462 times the average and increasing.  (If only the top .01% earned anything, their share would be 10,000 times the average.   That the one family in 10,000 now takes nearly 5% of all the income, is appalling.)

The rich get their income not for what they do, but for what they own.  They claim to be "job creators."  In truth, the only job creator is a customer, who buys something.  We have to get money back in the hands of those who spend it--the nonrich.  When the only people with money to spend have all the stuff they can use, the economy collapses.  These booms and busts happened regularly up through the Great Depression.  It was political action that transformed the working class into the middle class, avoiding the booms and busts.  Deregulation, detaxing the rich, eroding worker rights, free trade, since 1981 are bringing back the bad old days of many serfs, one lord.  Only political action can reverse the trend.  We have to restore antitrust laws, restore workers' rights, establish fair trade not free trade, tax the rich.

Norway has a much fairer balance of power between employees and employers, partly due to nationwide collective bargaining.  U.S. labor laws have been eroded since they were enacted in 1935, by anti-labor court decisions and anti-labor legislation.  Now, management can ignore labor agreements and labor law without serious consequences.

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