Spreading the Wealth!

You’d think that Barak Obama committed an act of political apostasy.  While discussing his health plan with the now feted Joe the Plumber he mentioned that he believed in spreading the wealth!  Spreading the wealth!  How dare he make such socialist claims that wealth should be “spread around” like so much marmalade!  Commie Pinko.

Of course, everyone knows that wealth spreading is not the American way.  Wealth consolidating!  That’s what we are all about.  We like to take 90% of the marmalade and glop it on to 10% of the bread.  That’s the American way.

What hypocricy to suggest that the only direction that wealth should go is up.  Of course, the free market oracles of the last thirty years suggest that this is the natural progression of things. The rich get richer because they have what it takes to succeed in the global market place.  Everyone else is just too lazy or too stupid to find their neoliberal nitch.

This is a lie. In fact, the distribution of wealth to the top echelons of our society is not the natural consequence of corporate thrift, but rather one sided, class conscious policy favoring the corporate elite.

The corporate elite benefit…and consequently the working man and woman lose…when policies such as Bush’s tax cuts favor the wealthy.  Tax cuts received by the middle and working class were enough to put a small dent in credit card bills and missed mortgages (which of course goes into the pockets of the wealthy), meanwhile, the effective tax rate cut for the wealthy was twice the rate for the working America.

Reagan/Bush1&2/Clinton deregulation and lack of regulatory enforcement not only allowed for the concentration of wealth in the top tiers, but also placed the corporate fox right smack dab in the middle of the wealth hen house.  The result can best be summed up by the pie chart below.

Distribution of wealth

Almost three quarters of wealth generated between 2002 and 2006 went to the top 1% of households.  The bottom 90% of households received barely 10% of the growth.

Was it because the top 10% simply worked harder than everyone else?   Of course not.  Wealth is generated by people producing. Wealth is the result of millions of working people doing their jobs every day.  In the last eight years, the American worker has increased productivity by about 20%.  So we should see a 20% increase in wages, right? After all, fair is fair.  No!  Wages for Americans have been stagnant during this period.  In fact, they’ve been stagnant for over a generation.  In real dollars, the minimum wage is almost half that of what it was when Henry Ford’s workers were pushing out Model T’s.

Production vs Wages

Isn’t it about time that some of the wealth be “spread” to the people who are actually creating it?

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