Friday, July 08, 2011


And no, this isn't about taxes.

From AlterNet:

88% of Post-Recovery Income Growth Has Gone to Corporations, Just 1% to Workers

It’s going to the pocketbooks of the richest of the rich. The Guardian reports: “The globe’s richest have now recouped the losses they suffered after the 2008 banking crisis. They are richer than ever, and there are more of them — nearly 11 million — than before the recession struck.” According to the annual world wealth report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, the wealth of high net worth individuals — those who have more than $1 million in free cash — rose nearly 10% last year and surpassed 2007’s peak of $40.7 trillion, topping out at $42.7 trillion. It was even better for “ultra-high net worth individuals,” those with $30 million to spare, as their numbers surged by 10% and the total value of their investments rose by 11.5% to $15 trillion.

Where is it not going? To wages and salaries. As compared to corporate profits, household incomes only saw 1% of the $528 billion in national income growth, or $7 billion. The NYTimes reports, “The share of income growth going to employee compensation was far lower than in the four other economic recoveries that have occurred over the last three decades.” In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that average real hourly earnings declined by 1.1% percent from the beginning of the recovery to May 2011. This comes on top of the fact that real wages have been faring worse in the last ten years than during the Great Depression — incomes fell by almost five percent and wages barely budged. These facts don’t escape the public. In a recent poll by Democracy Corp, 43% of likely voters said that either they or someone in their family had experienced “reduced wages, hours or benefits at work” in the last year.

More here.

The conventional wisdom embraced by the entire Republican Party and most of the Democratic Party: grow the economy by favoring business with laws, lower taxes, and loose regulations, and this will result in increased hiring, and higher wages and benefits--legislatively favoring business over workers is the same thing as favoring workers. President Kennedy summed it up this way, "a rising tide lifts all the boats."

The reality: it's their fucking money, so why in hell should they ever give it to you?

Actually, that's not even the reality. It's your money, too. After all, without your work, they couldn't possibly be so productive. I mean, it's very nice and all to own all that capital, to own the businesses, but none of it would amount to jack shit if they didn't have workers to make it happen. Of course, you'd never get the capitalist class to admit this because if they did their whole concept of the "labor market," you know, the market that buys and sells human labor, that is, human fucking beings, and which ostensibly dictates what a fair wage is for a given job, would be severely compromised, and they'd have to start paying wages more in keeping with the fact that workers, like capitalists, create great wealth, too.

Did you get that? Workers, in association with capitalists, create wealth. All wealth. That's why labor strikes are so effective; they expose the fact that without workers capitalists are nothing. But the way our society is set up completely ignores this. In our society, capitalists and only capitalists create wealth, and workers are lucky to be along for the ride. It's total bullshit, of course, but that's what Americans believe. Consequently, overall wealth growth goes not to us, but to the people who own and operate the nation, the wealthy elite and their corporations.

Meanwhile, rent costs go up. Health care costs rise. Fuel and power bills increase. But our wages stay the same, even regressing. In essence, they're squeezing blood from a stone, and doing quite well with it.

There are several ways of dealing with this. We can tax the fuck out of the rich and spend the money on numerous social welfare programs to make up the difference. Or we can give enforcement teeth to already existing labor law and unions can force business to fork over what workers are actually owed. Or a combination of both. Unfortunately, the wealthy elite and the corporations own the government. So none of this will ever happen.