September 24th, 2011
|02:47 pm - The US - 30 Years of Economic Madness |
This graph of US wages and productivity over the past 60 years is exceedingly illuminating. Productivity rose over this entire time at roughly the same rate, but after 1980, wages ceased rising with it, except for the very wealthy, and they actually declined for people in the lowest earning bracket. I remember 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president, and libertarian laws like California's Proposition 13 and similar greed-head "tax revolt" laws were all the rage . Also, I took some classes in international development in that era, and this was the beginning of US corporations outsourcing large amounts of manufacturing to the developing world. Attitudes changed, and most people turned against social programs for the poor, unions, and anything that might supposedly get in the way of unfetter capitalist "economic growth.
From looking at the graph, it's clear that wages improved under both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama presidencies, but also that they didn't improve by very much, because Republicans remain firmly in control of the terms of the debate over the US economy. In the mid 1970s, the US had an economy that was clearly less equal and less fair than those of most of the nations of Western Europe, but these differences were not vast, and the situation seemed to be improving. Then the US took several large steps backwards in that regards and now has a level of economic inequality comparable to China and Mexico, and considerably higher than any European nation, including Russia. Unsurprisingly, the level of economic inequality in the US in the 1960s and 70s was equal to or better than most of Western Europe, but it rose in the US after 1980, and stayed the same or declined in the nations of the EU.
I see a fair amount of outcry among everyone except reactionaries and libertarians, since Shrub was elected, and even more so since the 2010 Congressional election, when the reactionaries and libertarians revealed exactly how crazy and vile they really are, but its well worth remembering that this is nothing new. The alliance of religious fanatics, bigots, libertarian wackballs, and neoconservative greed-heads have been supporting these exact same policies for the past 30 years, and the results of these policies have been exactly the same over that entire time – the rich get richer, and everyone else gets screwed.
At this point, I'm not certain what would need to happen to actually change this situation. A fair proportion of the US seems willing to elect people who are openly both hideous and crazy, and in fact to cheer them on for this, and our reactionary-controlled news media reports this madness as if it was perfectly normal.
Current Mood: indescribable
|Date:||September 25th, 2011 04:05 am (UTC)|| |
Add wealt hto the picture and it gets even worse
60% of the US population has seen a decline in wealth since 1983
. 60% of us are poorer than our equivalents would have been 30 years ago. More than 80% of the gain in wealth in the US in the past 30 years has gone to the richest 5%, and the rest has gone to the top 40%.
|Date:||September 25th, 2011 06:24 am (UTC)|| |
I find it interesting that it isn't that hard to prove that raising taxes on the wealthy will not hurt job growth- something that Conservatives (and even some Moderates) have been shouting is the necessary consequence of taxing the wealthy.
I also find it amusing that they call an increase from 33% to 39% "class warfare." They seem to have forgotten the early 80's, when the tax rate on those making more than $250k was DOUBLE what it is now. (and in times of war and conflict, it has risen as high as 94%)
Even worse, you now have two generations of adults (Generation X and the Millenials) who never knew anything other than this Republican hegemony. Many of us may see this as inevitable, so we might as well accept the new normal and learn to compete for the little we are permitted to get.