The foxes are destroying the henhouse
What will they do when there are no chickens left?
Just as they did in 2000, the Republicans are running this year on an economic platform of tax cuts, especially making the tax cuts permanent for the richest among us. So how did the tax cuts work out? My analysis of the new data, with all figures in 2008 dollars:
Total income was $2.74 trillion less during the eight Bush years than if incomes had stayed at 2000 levels. [Emphasis added.]
That much additional income would have more than made up for the lack of demand that keeps us mired in the Great Recession. That would mean no need for a stimulus, although it would not have affected the last administration’s interfering with market capitalism by bailing out irresponsible Wall Streeters instead of letting the market determine their fortunes.
Chuck Marr, CBPP:
[O]ver the last three decades a stunning shift in income has taken place in this country, from the middle class to those few at the very top of the income scale. Back in 1979, the middle 20 percent of Americans had more than twice as large a share of the nation’s total after-tax income as the top 1 percent. But by 2007, the top 1 percent’s slice of the economic pie had more than doubled and in fact exceeded the middle class’s slice, which had shrunk. [Emphasis added.]
This great income shift means the average middle-income American family had about $9,000 less after-tax income in 2007, and an average household in the top 1 percent had $741,000 more, than they would have had if the 1979 income distribution had remained.
According to research (PDF) carried out by Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School and Dan Ariely of Duke University…, 92 percent of Americans would choose to live in a society with far less income disparity than the US, choosing Sweden’s model over that of the US. [Emphasis added.]
What’s more, the study’s authors say that this applies to people of all income levels and all political leanings: The poor and the rich, Democrats and Republicans are all equally likely to choose the Swedish model.
For a long time, American politics has been defined by a Left/Right dynamic. It was Liberals versus Conservatives on a variety of issues…
The new dynamic, however, has moved past the old Left Right paradigm. We now live in an era defined by increasing Corporate influence and authority over the individual… Where there is massive concentrations of wealth and influence, there will be abuse of power. The Individual has been supplanted in the political process nearly entirely by corporate money, legislative influence, campaign contributions, even free speech rights.
This may not be a brilliant insight, but it is surely an overlooked one. It is now an Individual vs. Corporate debate – and the Humans are losing. [Emphasis added.]
Marshall Auerback, a portfolio strategist .hedge fund manager, and Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow:
The corporate elites in this country saw Bush driving the country off a cliff, so they concocted an allegedly “post-racial” moderate Democrat to stabilize the system and obtain Democratic buy-in on issues like perpetual war, and a government as feeding trough, which has facilitated ongoing corporate predation…
[T]here is a … profoundly corrosive social effect at work here. There is a pervasive sense that people who have played according to the rules are being persistently jobbed by this Administration – this has begun to perpetuate a feeling of “they’ve got theirs and now I want mine.” It’s hard to quantify the impact of this growing mentality, but it is the kind of phenomenon often manifests itself via widespread tax evasion and a corresponding loss of political legitimacy on the part of a government in other countries…
For all of his renewed vigor on the campaign trail, Mr. Obama fundamentally fails to understand this phenomenon… His “change” message is no longer a symbol of hope, but has become a source of bitter irony and cynicism. As a result, this President risks turning off an entire generation of new voters who were once genuinely excited by the man’s promise. [Emphasis added.]