I saw this in a recent online business journal....
Our income is grossly unequal and needs to become more balanced.
*I knew it. He's gone raving liberal.* Look carefully. Look at the dates of the last time things got this skewed. 1928-1932, the beginning of The Great Depression. When the massive, consuming middle class is held down, our economic system bursts under the strain. We almost saw that in 2008, but were saved (temporarily?) to see stock market highs again today grow into the stratosphere. Can this go on forever? Does anything?
Look at our most stable period, 1948-1970. Our largest employer was GM, and their average pay/benefits adjusted to 2014 dollars was over $50 an hour. Today our largest employer is Walmart, and their average store employee makes $8.81. Figuring in their executives and salaried workers, their average pay packet is still only $12.78 an hour. Numbers like those don't have the buying power to keep our economy going indefinitely.
Beginning in about 1970 (see chart) we became enamored with the idea of "trickle down economics"....giving breaks to the more affluent so they can accumulate even more wealth and use it to create new jobs for an expanding middle class, or so the theory went. As we now see, many of those new jobs were often bottom-feeding jobs, but *big shock* the 0.1% began their rapid rise to controlling 22% of our wealth. Again, this can't go on indefinitely. Never worked, never will.
We need to approve the Keystone pipeline ASAP. *Oh Jeez....now he's a card carrying Tea Partyer.* Why? Because the oil will make it south anyway, only more and more will come here via railroad tank cars, traveling through towns and cities, where accidents and terrorism can bring down havoc on us all. Common sense says moving oil by rail is NOT ideal.
Plus this is just one more component in some day making us energy independent. That means more US dollars staying at home vs going overseas to countries that do NOT have our best interests at heart. It will make us STRONGER, and it's at a time of economic strength that we can begin to phase out all the tax breaks, subsidies, and other perks the wealthy have used since the 1970's to gain a strangle-hold on the middle class. Over time income will begin to level out, and in the long run we'll all be better off for it.
Is the US going downhill? Unless we do something, yes, we probably are. But does it HAVE to be this way? NO, not at all! We need to sit together, liberals and conservatives, look at things from a longer ranged perspective and not just from a "what's in it for me now" position, dust off our 'common sense' gene, and make some tough decisions.
It's the start of a new year. Let's begin it with a new, can-do attitude. Anyone have the guts to give it a try? Think we can get any politicians to compromise for our common good?