Monday, September 06, 2004

Unless you're rich, the bottom economic line these days is that you're losing ground. Now if you're in the top 1 percent, of course, it's a hallelujah hoedown, and the prez is assuring that the money rains down on you. But the rest of us lost 3.4 percent of our income (adjusted for inflation) in the last three years. That's an average of about $1500 less spending power a year.
Bob Herbert's New York Times column today quotes a study by the Economic Policy Institute. In part, he says:
"Between 1947 and 1973 productivity and real median family income both grew 104 percent, a golden age of growth for both variables." That parallel relationship began to break down in the 1970's, but it is only recently that it fell apart altogether, leaving us with the following evidence of unrestrained inequity:
"In the 2000-03 period income shifted extremely rapidly and extensively from labor compensation to capital income (profits and interest)," so that the "benefits of faster productivity growth" went overwhelmingly to capital.

If you'd like to see Herbert's column, click here.
Even more worth reading than Herbert is today's Post-Dispatch editorial "Girlie Men", which also refers to Economic Policy Institute information:
With wages weak, 85 percent of the profits from the rising economy are flowing to the owners of capital - the wealthy, generally - and only 15 percent to labor. That's the opposite of what normally happens at this stage in an economic recovery.
If you must choose between the two links, I'd recommend The Post-Dispatch piece because it assesses what is and isn't Bush's fault in the increasingly lopsided distribution of wealth.

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