The Real 'Re-Distribution' of Wealth
Find a Conversation
|Wed, 05-01-2013 - 12:10pm|
I'm intentionally stealing the Conservative meme about how Liberals and Socialists are always trying to unfairly re-distribute the wealth from the rich to the poor -- and how that inevitably makes middle class people work harder to support a bunch of slackers and moochers..
Think of the revenue (Earnings) our economy generates like an enormous wedding cake that is divided up to feed everyone at the reception. 35 years ago, families in the top 1% of our society got about 9% of the cake - leaving the other 91% to be shared by everyone else. In 2011 the top 1% received 21% of the cake. This means that in addition to the overly large piece they got 35 years ago, they also got an additional 1/8 of the cake (12%). To put that into perspective, 12% of our national earnings is just about exactly the TOTAL income of the bottom 50% of American families. To put that into clearer perspective, the income for someone at the TOP of the 50th percentile is about $33,000/year (about twice the official Poverty level for a family of 4) -- all of the remaining 49% of Americans have gradually LESS income. Think real hard about those last numbers the next time you see some pundit on Fox complaining about how the 'poor' (the bottom FIFTY PERCENT??) don't have enough 'skin in the game' because they don't make enough income to owe any Federal taxes.
This redistribution of an extra 12% of our total national income to the top 1% earners is the greatest 're-distribution' of wealth in American history. Taking a look at the state of our economy is all the evidence you need to see exactly how giving all this extra income to the 'job creators' has worked out.
The Conservative argument is that you 'can't tax the rich enough to balance the budget'. Really? National earnings last year were around $13.4 Trillion. The extra 12% of our national income that is now going to the top 1% totals $1.6 Trillion. Since the 2013 US budget deficit is currently running around $1.2 Trillion, it is evident that just the extra amount of personal income the 1% have added over the last 35 years is enough to not only balance the Federal Budget, it would also pay down the National Debt by $400 Billion.
My object in this little exercise is to hopefully get you readers to WAKE UP!!! Over the last 35 years our system has been systematically skewed more and more to the advantage of the uber-wealthy minority of our society - mostly the top 0.1%. The increase from 9% to 21% of our total national earnings represents a 133% increase in their share of the 'cake'. Over the same period, median income after inflation has FALLEN by almost 7%. And the inevitable result of this massive redistribution of wealth is a staggering economy -- where the bottom 50% of our population doesn't have enough money in their pockets to sustain Demand for products and services. And this lack of Demand means that there is no incentive for manufacturers/employers to provide the Supply of goods and services necessary to keep people employed -- which is why we have REAL unemployment in the US at close to 16%.
This is NOT rocket science ... it is Economics 101. And it is why Conservative politicians just HATE raw, uncooked numbers -- because they so clearly expose the damage their policies have done to our nation. Just this year, THEIR solution was to fight to preserve the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest Americans, while re-instituting the Payroll Tax on the people who actually buy the products and use the services that stimulate employment. They recently allowed the FAA to redirect the Sequester budget cuts that were causing flight delays - just before they adjourned Congress and started flying home to their districts. But they didn't bother to redirect the cuts that have caused thousands of senior Medicare patients to lose their Chemo-therapy drugs, or to the over 4,000,000 economically challenged seniors who have lost access to Meals on Wheels, or to the 70,000 economically disadvantaged schoolchildren who are losing their Head Start program.
I'm 65 years old, and I am both DISGUSTED and EMBARRASSED at the state to which we have let our society fall. We are no longer the 'land of opportunity' I grew up in, where the American Dream was vibrant and real. Instead we have become the 'land of the greedy rich and influential'. And I'm mostly embarrassed because this is STILL A DEMOCRACY. Apathy and laziness have caused the American people to accept being spoon-fed lies and mis-information - while generations of our elected Representatives have sold out our future - and most importantly OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE - to a corporate and financial Aristocracy that spends a lot of the wealth they are taking out of our society to make sure that only the Representatives that support their continual wealth and power grab get re-elected. You can all sit back and listen to pundits pontificate, or you can WAKE UP and use your power at the ballot box to reclaim our national heritage -- before it is too late. If you don't, your grandchildren will look back at these moments and curse you. And they will be justified.