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Labor’s Share Plummets, Capital’s Share Soars: New Fed Data

Economy Memo Pad

Labor’s Share Plummets, Capital’s Share Soars: New Fed Data


Powerful new data shows just how badly American workers are faring in the 21st Century, as corporate profits soar ever higher.

Labor and capital share in the nation’s economic output, but an awful trend line for working people appears in data released Wednesday night by the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis.

fed chart

Dean Baker, the liberal economist who studies income at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told me this “redistribution from workers to capital, on this scale, has never happened before in the post-World War II era.”

The chart showing a falling share for labor is the “flip side of record profits,” Baker added. “With unemployment still at extraordinarily high levels, workers have little bargaining power. This means that employers are able to take almost all of the gains from the economy’s productivity growth.”

Here is the Fed chart showing the rise of corporate profits for the same period beginning in 1950, with only that one steep but brief drop during the Great Recession:

fed chart 2

These two charts show that 1980, when Ronald Reagan won election, and 2001, when George W. Bush became president, marked major downward shifts in labor’s share and large increases in corporate after-tax profits. America has six million corporations, but just 2,600 of them own more than 80 percent of all business assets.

Major news organizations have done virtually no reporting on how corporate lobbyists are quietly persuading Congress and state legislators, as well as regulators in Washington and the 50 states, to rewrite the rules of business. These new rules decimate private sector unions, insulate big companies from the rigors of competitive markets, take away consumer rights, force workers and customers to pay taxes that corporations legally get to keep and in myriad other ways take from the many to benefit the few. These changes are detailed in my book The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use Plain English to Rob You Blind.

Since Reaganism replaced the New Deal in 1981, labor’s share has drifted downward except during President Clinton’s second term, which also produced the only federal budget surpluses since 1969.

Careful observers may notice that labor’s share rises during recessions. That is because by definition profits fall during recessions, while wages tend to be what the economists call “sticky,” meaning they are less volatile. But the long-term trend since Reagan is clear – more and more for capital, while the slowly dwindling share for labor has plummeted since 2000.

Since 1980 corporate pre-tax profits have grown at almost twice the rate of pre-tax wages. After-tax profits of corporations have grown at 2.4 times the rate of wages, my analysis of Table 1.14 at the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis shows.

Wages are only part of total income and the differences are less stark when the costs of fringe benefits, primarily health care, are taken into account. But benefits are not cash in people’s pockets and many companies have cut spending on retirement and other benefits to finance rising health insurance premiums.

The best evidence of flat-to-falling wages is found in the median wage data, which the Social Security Administration calculates annually from every W-2 form issued to every worker in America.

The median wage – half make more, half less — has been stuck at a bit more than $500 per week for more than a decade.

Measured in 2011 dollars, the median wage was $27,142 in 1999. It then slipped in 2011 to $26,965, a decline of more than $3 per week in real terms.

Now take into account cuts in fringe benefits like pensions, 401(k) matches, health insurance and bigger healthcare co-pays, not to mention working overtime off the books, and the real cuts to worker financial well-being are severe.

Wage growth since 1999 has been almost entirely among those earning $100,000 and up.

Consider 2011. That year 102,694 people were paid $1 million or more for their labor. At the top were the 93 people who averaged $79.8 million, Social Security Administration data show.

Not counted in this high-end labor data are earnings deferred into the future. Most workers could save only $16,500 that year, but a little-known law allows executives, movie stars, professional athletes and top sales agents to save unlimited sums. Some have saved billions of dollars, as I first explained in 1996.

We have known for 16 years that executive pay has been growing faster than even corporate profits, indicating that investors are not doing as well as the managers they hire to run companies.

David Cay Johnston

David Cay Johnston won a 2001 Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of taxes in The New York Times. The Washington Monthly calls him “one of America’s most important journalists” and the Portland Oregonian says is work is the equal of the great muckrakers Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens and Upton Sinclair.

At 19 he became a staff writer at the San Jose Mercury and then reported for the Detroit Free Press, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and from 1995 to 2008 The New York Times.

Johnston is in his eighth year teaching the tax, property and regulatory law at Syracuse University College of Law and Whitman School of Management.

He also writes for USA Today, Newsweek and Tax Analysts.

Johnston is the immediate past president of the 5,700-member Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) and is board president of the nonprofit Investigative Post in Buffalo.

His latest book Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality an anthology he edited. He also wrote a trilogy on hidden aspects of the American economy -- Perfectly Legal, Free Lunch, and The Fine Print – and a casino industry exposé, Temples of Chance.

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  1. gmccpa June 6, 2013

    We have been conditioned to view the phrase ‘redistribution of wealth’ to mean…from the rich downward. Unfortunately, the reality is the opposite. For the past thirty years or so, the wealth has been redistributed upwards. And yet, the wealthy complain about the ‘takers’ and cry about paying too much income tax.

    1. Fern Woodfork June 8, 2013

      Ahh The Trickle Down Effect Means Rich People Pissing On You Heads Telling You It’s Raining!! Wake Up People The GOP/Tea Party Is Out To Destroy The Middle Class And It’s Working :-(!!

      1. BillP June 8, 2013

        Fern you couldn’t be more correct. The only “Trickle Down” effect I see is the urine running down my leg.

      2. tax payer June 9, 2013

        They are going to have to be real tall in order to do that to the people unless they invent something that will shrink all of us.

        1. Allan Richardson June 9, 2013

          Economically they HAVE been shrinking the rest of us since Reagan took over. Or more precisely, for a few years longer, while setting the stage for Reagan.

          1. Independent1 June 9, 2013

            I believe it was Reagan that started the escalation of wealth to the already wealthy, for this reason: it was Ronnie who started it when he busted the Air Traffic Controllers Union and all the CEOs in America said: Wow! If the President can trash the Controllers Union, why are we catering to these guys and giving them pension plans, and 100% benefit coverage, and fair pay for a fair days work as the Unions have been pushing us for. We can do like Reagan and just layoff the guys that are pushing us and replace them with new workers that don’t cost us as much. And that’s just what companies started doing. If you remember back, it was during Ronnie’s 1st term that companies started laying off their senior, more dedicated workers and started replaceing them with new folks they didn’t have to pay as much. And it wasn’t too many years later that companies started cutting back on pensions.

          2. charleo1 June 10, 2013

            And we went from being the world’s largest creditor Nation.
            To being the world’s largest debtor Nation. Which ought to
            speak to every hard headed Conservative out there. Reagan
            cut the top rate in half. Then cut it in half again. And George
            W. Bush cut Reagan’s number in half again. Proving that tax
            cuts, by ideological idiots, don’t create wealth. They create

          3. RobertCHastings June 16, 2013

            The unions were able to hold on for a few more years, but since Reagan, states have steadily been eroding union membership, managing to convince people in the process that unions have done nothing but cause problems. We should all know the truth, that without unions, ALL hourly workers would be working 6 – 7 days per week and as many hours as the boss dictated, with no compensation for overtime. There would be NO paid time off for sick days, vacation days, or holidays, and no employer-paid insurance. For those of you who have been misled by the smoke screen of the conservatives about unions, wake up and hear the fire alarm. Support your local unions and at least talk to a union member about collective bargaining. I live within fifty miles of two large Freightliner plants (manufacturer of semis), one unionized and one not. The unionized one has not had a layoff in years, and wages have remained good. The non-unionized one has layoffs every six months or so, which allows them to keep wages low. I really think I would prefer to work at the unionized plant.

    2. Dominick Vila June 8, 2013

      We have also been conditioned to believe that our standard of living is higher than the rest of the world when, in fact, the standard of living in other industrialized nations is higher than ours.
      The areas where we are ahead of everyone else are the accumulation of wealth by a tiny elite, military spending, powerful banks, and corporations so large that their assets exceed the GDP of most countries.

  2. pbrower2a June 6, 2013

    The super-rich are getting richer by making the rest of us poorer.

    1. tax payer June 8, 2013

      We are not rich or poor, but only live the lifestyle we can afford. The more you earn the better life you live. The poorer you are than the better life you live than those that work and try to make it, and not depend on the tax payers. The super rich have their wealth because of working hard or even by getting an inheritance, but we shouldn’t say they make us poorer because we do it to ourselves by not making an effort to improve our situation. You may not agree, but it’s there in plain sight.

      1. concerned Grandma June 8, 2013

        I beg to differ. Not all “do it to themselves”. There are many among us who are truly the victim of circumstances beyond their control. i have seen this first-hand and also have viewed more than one documentary about the hard-working middle-aged individual laid off in the recession and unable to find employment because of his or her age. There are indeed leeches among us as well, but why is it that folk such as yourself are always looking at the “poorer” leeches and do not ever acknowledge the “wealthy leeches” milking the government programs that benefit them even though they do not need the handout? Even though I am now retired, when I see a post such as yours, I think back to the co-worker who was a cleaning lady in our work unit who worked three jobs just to make ends meet. She was also a single Mom through no fault of her own. I have come to value my own predisposition to give to others the benefit of the doubt, especially when they are less well off. I am not so generous with the wealthy who “never seem to have enough”. Not all super rich are hard workers!

        1. tax payer June 8, 2013

          Not everyone in this country is like those that feel we should share our wealth with them because not all of us are rich.

      2. elw June 8, 2013

        Good job of using Republican talking points. Now explain why it is that that large corporations and banks gladly take government hand-outs in the form of tax-breaks and rebates and that is not living off the tax-payers.

        1. tax payer June 8, 2013

          I was referring to individuals that feel the poor are making them poor not Cor[orations. Both Parties are not there for us, but that’s another subject I am not worried about at this time. I never mentioned Republicans unless you read between the lines and made sure you saw it. We also take rebates from the Government because Obama made sure most of us got a rebate a few years ago, when those that were working got a tax break.

          1. CPAinNewYork June 8, 2013

            So you never mentioned Republicans. That’s supposed to mean something? The Republicans are the representatives of the rich in government. If you think that’s a popular misconception, then you’re operating in a vacuum.

            As for the rich not being responsible for making everyone else poorer: every time a law reducing the tax on the rich is passed, it penalizes the rest of us. Make no mistake about it: the rich are the cause of the plight of the middle class and the poor. They’re bloodsuckers whose appetite for greater wealth is never satisfied.

          2. tax payer June 8, 2013

            If you don’t like being poor than why haven’t you done something about it and stop blaming others for your wrong choice of life. I am not a RePUBLICan nor a DemocRAT, so it makes no difference to me, if you hate them. I don’t care about who gets what or whatever because I am set for life. I prepared myself for the future by working and never donated to the poor except to cancer research because I considered myself poor too except the tax money I had no say in how the Government uses it.

          3. CPAinNewYork June 8, 2013

            I’m not poor. Where did you get that cockamamie idea?

            You think that you’re set for life? Maybe you are and maybe you’re deluding yourself. If the economy crashes, the currency may become worthless, thereby reducing your nest egg to zero in a short time.

            If you really don’t care “who gets what,” then you’re a perfect set up for the rich, who will screw you out of every dollar you think is safe through confiscatory taxes and reduced pension benefits.

          4. tax payer June 8, 2013

            I wasn’t going to respond anymore, but like you mentioned you aren’t poor, so it means you are rich, so why are you talking about your kind of people; if you are rich? You are saying you are getting richer and would I say the same thing, if I was in your shoes? No! Nice chatting with you, but I have to go and count my pennies, so I can buy an ice cream cone.

          5. CPAinNewYork June 8, 2013

            Not being poor means that I’m rich? In logic, that’s called a non sequitur. Look it up. You refuse to answer me? Good. It’s just your admission that you either disingenuous or a liar.

          6. ococoob June 8, 2013

            Yipee Skippy!

          7. charleo1 June 8, 2013

            Well, that’s fine. It’s a free Country, and you are certainly
            not required to consider anyone but yourself. But, that’s
            not the way America became a wealthy Nation, and a
            great Country. With everyone only looking out for themselves.
            Those wealthy landed gentry colonists, that founded this Country, were also set for life. What if they had had your
            attitude? Do you think you would have had the opportunities,
            that have come your way, without somebody, somewhere,
            caring about something bigger, and more important than
            their own, personal enrichment? The Constitution, and Bill
            of Rights, did not write themselves.

          8. tax payer June 9, 2013

            We are not a Wealthy Nation because our country is in deep debt or do you believe we are debt free? Our Constitution means nothing, when Congress goes behind our backs, and decides we need more illegals among us and will therefore reward them for being here uninvited. Would you go to another country and demand they change their Laws to Benefit you? I don’t think so because we would never see you again. I hope you have a nice Day. Miami Heat the best.

          9. charleo1 June 9, 2013

            Well, it may not seem like we’re wealthy to you. But, by all
            standards of measuring a Nation’s wealth, we still lead the world in economic capacity, size, and being the most
            diverse economy in the world. And, we have faired better
            than most in the recession. Unfortunately, for the Country,
            we have let our politics stand in the way of investing, and
            preparing ourselves to continue to lead in the global
            economy of the 21st century. No longer will America be
            number one, by default. Outpacing other economies,
            that had not yet fully realized their potential as industrial
            Competitors. That will not be the case, in the coming years.
            And, those that would use the debt as a convenient political
            ploy, do not only a disservice to today’s America. But the
            America of the future. Some have forgotten, that failure to
            prepare, is to prepare for failure.

          10. tax payer June 9, 2013

            Many jobs are being shipped to other countries. Did you know the people working in those jobs earn only $80.00 a week ( six days and ten hour days ) and those jobs paid $15.00 an hour in the USA. I saw the pay stud of a cousin of my wife ( years ago ) and she was earning $40.00 for a six day week, and that’s for a job in a store or daycare. My brother-in-law earns $80.00 at a Seat belt Manufacturer for six days and you know they must earn $15.00 an hour here in the USA or more. Those are jobs that were here, but are now in another country. Even the illegals don’t want those jobs because they know they can earn $80.00 a day here, so some of them take a chance thinking there are jobs. The jobs will be taken by the most qualified and right now Americans have the edge.

          11. charleo1 June 9, 2013

            Sure. But I certainly do not believe Americans should just
            say, well that’s it. They’ve built a factory over in China, and
            now the job that was buying my home, and feeding my kids,
            is gone. Nothing to be done then. That’s really a lot of bull.
            There is no reason these guys should be able to hand this
            lap dog Congress of ours, a trade agreement to sign, that
            sells out the American worker. There is absolutely no excuse
            for it. But, greed. Then, complain because half the Country
            pays no Federal income tax. Or, needs healthcare, because
            employers have walked away from providing it to their
            employees. Then, warn about government dependency.
            Well, what was it these people, these former tax payers,
            were depending on before they turned to the government?
            It was their job, that was pulled out from under them, and
            sent to China, or Bangladesh. And it doesn’t have to be this
            way. And, it’s a travesty it has gone as far as it has.

          12. tax payer June 9, 2013

            We have no choice or a say, when these companies move their businesses elsewhere. Greed and the desire to make more profits is why they are going to countries that provide cheaper labor. I don’t agree with the way they do it, but our Government can’t force them to stay, if they say they are losing money.

          13. charleo1 June 9, 2013

            You’re right, the government cannot order them to stay.
            But, I tend to look at the incentive side, where the government can make a difference. Take capital gains. That’s the way the investor class gets paid. And the tax rate is capped at 15% without regard to the amount. Can be any amount. $1000, or 1 billion. Same 15%. In, 2009 for example, because of the cheap labor, an investment in Asia, produced 3X the return, on average, as the same investment here. But, the tax rate was capped at the same 15% for both foreign investor, and the one that invested, and produced jobs here. See what I’m talking about? It really should make
            a difference, don’t you think? So, the corporation making
            jock straps in Cleveland, decides to move operations to Sri Lanka. The corporation is allowed to write off the taxes on
            all the expenses involved in moving operations out of the Country. Plus write off the expenses for the new factory they built over there. And, of course capital gains
            is the profit, after we subsidized, the move. And, a bus driver
            pays a higher rate, than the company that took all of them
            jobs away. Does that sound right? It doesn’t to me. Turns
            out, there really has been a lot of people in China moving
            up in the world. It’s been at our expense. But nevertheless,
            they really like American cars. Crazy about them. Great,
            this will add another 1000 good paying jobs for Americans!
            Not so fast. China says, any cars sold in China must be
            made in China. As the guy said, “Ain’t that a kick in the head?”

          14. Allan Richardson June 9, 2013

            Yes, why hasn’t that kid who goes to first grade hungry and so cannot concentrate on his schoolwork dropped out of school and gone to work in a factory?

            Why hasn’t that 86 year old invalid gone back into the work force to pay for her nursing home care? What did she do with the big bucks she earned staying home in the 50’s and raising the kids while her husband worked two jobs as a janitor to make ends meet? Why didn’t he save some of his second job earnings, or get a third job to save for retirement?

          15. tax payer June 9, 2013

            Medicaid takes care of the invalid that are poor because they give away their money and home before applying to enter a Nursing Home. Food Stamp Card takes care of children that are poor, so they don’t go hungry to school because they get free Breakfast in the mornings and at noon. My daughter has to pay $2.40 at noon to eat, so why is a good question, while her friends eat free. Have you even seen the junk the schools now provides to the students as food. I know people that now get SSI and Medicaid, and they never worked a day of their life. That’s not fair to someone that gets less in their Social Security Check because most SSI people get $700.00 a month and Medicaid, while we have to pay a co-payment for Medicare or the Medicare Advantage Plan as I do.

          16. jnap June 10, 2013

            Again Tax payer you are full of it. Just working hard will not make you rich but if you are already rich it is much easier to become even more so because you already have the capital to invest. In any society a certain proportion will find a way to become rich but it is the governments job provide a level playing field and not tilt it toward the rich through policies that take money and opportunities away from the middle class. Also, in case you didn’t notice, this country is a republic and you have a say so in who gets elected to represent you and your interests so don’t say you have no voice in how the government uses the tax money. The rich certainly know how to use the electorate to get what they want and it is way beyond time for the middle class to figure it out, including you.

          17. tax payer June 10, 2013

            I am not rich and have never asked the tax payers to feed my family. You are mad and have to release some steam, so you chose me. Ask me if I care about your situation because I don’t since I have to provide for my own and I don’t know who provides for your family unless you too are as rich as me. Joking naturally. We do have the right ( who we vote for ), but remember once they are in office they seem to forget who put them there and they only think of how to stick it to the American citizens, but one thing they love is the illegals.

          18. elw June 8, 2013

            You do not have to mention the word “Republican” for people to reconize their talking points. We have all heard their talking points many, many times. At least be honest enough to represent yourself as what you are.

          19. RobertCHastings June 16, 2013

            I know a 78,000 page tax code may be a little lengthy for casual reading, but I am sure there are readily available analyses of the tax code. I think you will be surprised to find, if you bother to study a little bit, that you are, to put it simply, full of shit. The tax code consists about 80% of tax benefits for the wealthy and corporations, frequently written for the benefit of a very limited number, and frequently written by the beneficiaries themselves. This is not a question of the middle class not being motivated, it is a question of the middle class being screwed. And you are so stupid your ass doesn’t even hurt.

          20. tax payer June 16, 2013

            You must shi-t from your mouth than because you are also full of it. My investments paid off, if you know where to invest and I didn’t touch them until I retired. I believe in not throwing my money away to impress others. If you know how to manage your money than you can live a good life like the poor do at our expense. The Government only helps those that never help themselves and that’s the poor of this country. I don’t know about your situation, but you sure are one mad person. Oh, your ass is in front of your face under your nose.

          21. RobertCHastings June 17, 2013

            I don’t blame anyone. I am very content where I am, and I am where I am through my own decisions, something I can live with, very comfortably. Apparently it is your guilt talking.
            Apparently you have no desire to even research your assertions instead of just echoing Tea Party talking points, which clearly demonstrates the validity of my previous comments.

          22. tax payer June 17, 2013

            I worry only about my family because the Government worries about the lazy Americans and does what it wants with the tax money we are forced to pay, so others can live like us that don’t depend on tax money to eat and have a place to sleep. I research only ways of how to make more profits with my money, so I won’t have to be in a street corner begging for food or money to buy food for my family. I am happy to never have to beg, but most men are happy to get something for doing nothing except make babies they never want to feed with their beer money..

          23. RobertCHastings June 17, 2013

            Too bad you are such a cynic. You sound like a reasonably intelligent person, except your prejudices have clouded your ability to think clearly and to reason responsibly.

          24. tax payer June 17, 2013

            To think men should be responsible is being Prejudice? I worked since I was 16 years of age and never thought ( wow ), if only I could stay home, and not have to work but still eat the best food offered free of charge to my family. What’s so wrong in thinking I don’t care to be like them because they are all over this country? I am just your average Joe that wants only the best for my family, but not at the expense of you and the rest of the tax payers.

          25. RobertCHastings June 18, 2013

            Four years ago, I was laid off and decided to tap into Social Security a couple of years early. This was no more than tapping into a savings account I and my employers had created to assure that I had a good retirement, it is not the result of my accepting something from the government that I did not pay for. Two years ago, thanks to Medicare (which I also paid into during the years of my working career) I required triple bypass surgery. This was entirely paid for through Medicare and my Medicare Supplement, together costing me about $250/month, not exactly a handout. For the vast majority of people in their sixties and beyond, Social Security and Medicare are both things they have contributed to over their working lives, and they are not things the government is handing out. They are both things for which the beneficiaries have invested in their future. If, for whatever reason, you desire to NOT reap the rewards of your lifetime of investing in Social Security and Medicare, then by all means do so. Just don’t tell me that I am mooching off taxpayers. Learn how the system works, where YOUR retirement benefits came from.

      3. CPAinNewYork June 8, 2013

        Baloney. You’re either rich or demented.

        1. tax payer June 8, 2013

          Somehow when you looked at yourself in the mirror you thought maybe ( you were demented ) and than decided others should join you. I am rich in other ways, but not in wealth and, if I was rich there is no way I would tell anyone about it because you have to keep a low profile since the lowlife would come running to my house for a free handout.

          1. CPAinNewYork June 8, 2013

            Lowlifes? Are you referring to those who need money because they lost their job through the machinations of the rich?

            Tax payer, if you’re really not rich, then I think that your defense of the rich shows how naive you are. You’re exactly what the rich ordered: a docile fool who doesn’t know when he’s being screwed over.

          2. tax payer June 8, 2013

            You don’t seem to understand the lowlife I mean is those that never work and have always depended on the tax payers to eat, have cheap housing, medicaid for their children, even free Obama cell phones and I need not mention anymore free benefits. Those that lose their jobs aren’t lowlife, if ( they make an effort to find any job ) until something better comes along. It may take awhile, but eventually they’ll get a decent job. I did it, when our company closed down. I was working within one week and I never saw an unemployment check from the State. I guess I was lucky because I knew someone that had a job offer for me since he knew I could do the job and run his company, while he took it easy in his office. I won’t respond to anyone anymore about this subject because the more I explain the more you don’t understand.

          3. BillP June 8, 2013

            You seem to have a very low opinion of people in general and specifically people you deem as poor. You keep qualifying your statements after being challenged as to what you meant. In 2007 and 2008 many people lost their jobs due to a variety of circumstances – company outsourced their jobs, companies closed, companies downsized (laid off people) and on & on. I don’t know if you are a Christian because you don’t sound like one. You also seem to have an “I” problem, I did this, I will not do that, I don’t give free handouts to “lowlifes”. Just curious how do you tell a lowlife from an unemployed person? The Obama free phone you mention was a progam named “Lifeline phone service program”, it was started in the 1990’s and has continued till today. Why don’t you research something before you use it in a comment. You come off as a smug asshole when you say that we can’t understand what you are writing.

          4. tax payer June 8, 2013

            Okay, let ( me ) tell you ( me ) is a poor person too and ( me ) feels ( me ) should not depend on you and tax payers to provide for ( me ) since ( me ) can do it ( me ) self. Is that better for you to understand or should ( me ) repeat it for you? ( Me ) think you no have a hole in your rear the way you talk. ( Me ) is finished for now. Oh, Poison will kill you, if not released by your a–hole.

          5. CPAinNewYork June 8, 2013

            I think that you are demented.

          6. BillP June 8, 2013

            I never said I was a poor person, I just want to know how you determine who is a poor person and who is a lowlife. Gee I didn’t think the word “asshole” would be offensive to such a pitiful, mean spirited, uncharitable and nonsympathetic person like yourself. When you make false claims such as Obama ‘s free cell phones it shows your ignornance and obviious lack of the facts. Try a little understanding rather than condescension, it might make you smile once in a while.

          7. tax payer June 8, 2013

            Are you CPAinNewYork? For the record I never told you that you were poor because I was communicating with NewYork, so somehow you got the impression it was thrown at you. A poor person is one that always works in a low income job and tells everyone he can’t afford to feed his family, but he still continues to make more babies. A lowlife is a person that never works and is always waiting at a store asking for money such as a panhandler. Almost everyone uses that phrase ( Obama Phones ) these days, so I didn’t invent the saying. As soon as I enter a store I look for the Manager and that bum is asked to leave or the police will be contacted. An immature person uses words that may seem to be offensive, so I watch what I put down and try to be nice and not downgrade people like you. I don’t care, but some children read our stuff.

          8. BillP June 9, 2013

            So using an incorrect term because as you state almost everyone uses is ok with you. Your use of that term has implications that I have seen before, that getting free cell phones got votes for Obama. There is no proof of this especially since the program has been in existence since the 1990’s. You may watch what you say but you demen people when you deem them to be lowlifes but have no actual proof of this. What bum are you referring to? Some homeless person panhandling on the street, try showing a little compassion instead of being so self-rightous. Some charity may come back and repay you.

          9. CPAinNewYork June 8, 2013

            I understand that you don’t seem to have a very clear idea of what you’re talking about. You do, however, seem to be a self satisfied jerk.

          10. tax payer June 8, 2013

            At least my hot sauce wasn’t made in New York City.

          11. Allan Richardson June 9, 2013

            There are more Mexican-Americans in New York City than you realize, and they know the recipe as well as the people in Taos.

          12. tax payer June 9, 2013

            You are confusing the Mexican-Americans with the people from across the Border. There’s a difference. They were born in Mexico and the Mexican-Americans were born in the USA. They both love the hot sauce, but the commercial makes fun of the sauce made in New York City. Don’t ask me why because I have no idea. Maybe it tastes better or hotter.

          13. Rand June 8, 2013

            Man you have been watching too much Fox News..Take a trip through some of the lower economic areas and you will realize that not everybody are gun toting hoodlums. Some of these people have been dealt a bad hand generation after generation. I agree that some of them are taking advantage of the system, but so are some of the rich. If you don’t have a problem with those graphs, than you are brainwashed.

          14. tax payer June 8, 2013

            News is there everyday and not only in Fox News. I was brought up in the poorest section of my city, but left as soon as my Graduation and took my mom, and everybody else with me to a better place in the same city. I worked hard and some of my friends still live in that same area, but they chose to stay there, They felt everyone has to stay where they were brought up and that to me wasn’t going to happen to my family. Our father died, when we were babies in a car wreck 63 years and my mother worked, so we could have a good life. We had no choice, so my mother had to move to that as you say ( low economic area ), but only until we Graduated to move away for good. We bought a nice home and my brother, and myself paid the mortgage until it was paid in full. We doubled the payments each month which equaled four times the original note. There wasn’t any Food Stamp Programs back than, so we paid cash for our food. We now have two other homes being paid for by renters, So, people can make it, but they have to save money and put that money to work for you, and so on. We aren’t rich, but make it with what we have so far.

          15. Allan Richardson June 9, 2013

            Glad to see you on my side this time, CPA. The rich brainwash the middle class into blaming the poor for their descent toward poverty. To be honest, SOME rich people actually made some PRODUCTS, and some rich people are willing to pay their dues for the country in which they are fortunate enough to live so that they COULD become rich (in countries without our freedom, there are only two ways to become rich: be born that way, or rise to the top of a crime empire), rather than leaving the rest of us to pay their share as well as ours. Others will blame the “wasteful” government when their company’s trucks fall into the river because of a bridge collapse, even though the fought the spending that would have repaired the bridge.

      4. Dominick Vila June 8, 2013

        I have never met an American who hates those who are wealthy as a result of working hard or because they got an inheritance. The resentment that some of us voice is towards those who abuse their fellow citizens, and who benefit and become immensely wealthy as a result of laws and a socio-economic system that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the majority of the people.

        1. tax payer June 8, 2013

          Hopefully you aren’t saying I hate the Wealthy because I defend them since they have earned their wealth or their inheritance by being born to a wealthy family.. People seem to think the wealthy are rich because their money was given to them by the poor or Middle Class and that is totally wrong, and they all know it, but will never accept it. People work at low income jobs, but still breed too many mouths to feed, so that’s where the tax payers come in to feed their children at our expense.

          1. Dominick Vila June 9, 2013

            I did not say you hate the wealthy, I addressed my interpretation of your post which seems to insinuate the rest of us hate the wealthy, and that is simply not true. Becoming wealthy is the dream of most people living in capitalist societies, and there is nothing wrong with it. What many Americans hate are those who forget their beginnings, who demonize those who for a variety of reasons can’t get ahead, regardless of how well educated or how hard they work, and imply that our inability to be successful is caused by our laziness. Most Americans are not lazy, the problem is that we have put in place a socio-economic system that benefits those who already own 2/3 of our wealth at the expense of the majority of Americans,

          2. Robert P. Robertson June 9, 2013

            You’re exactly correct, Dominick. Inside of every poor man is a rich man trying to get out. The mere fact that America is the land of opportunity and people vying to get into America supports that maxim. Many of the wealthy did not get their money by pure inventiveness and hard work. They are either born into it or inherited it. Those who earn their wealth, such as the late great Sam Walton, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates just to name a few, are a different lot than those born into or inherited wealth. Look at Trump, the Kochs just to name a couple. Two different breeds of wealth. One is gregarious and altruistic, the other is greedy, miserly, and inhumane. America does not guarantee “wealth” to anyone. It gurantees life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To me, that spells peace of mind. Our ability to work and socialize, to live out our lives in happiness and security is very important to peace of mind. Yet, there are those among us who would deprive us of that for their own self-interest. This glorification of wealth and power is reprobate at best and I think what we are witnessing from the representatives of this reprobation is only the tip of the iceberg.

          3. RobertCHastings June 18, 2013

            As I have urged you before, find at least an analysis of our Tax Code. Virtually 80% is benefits for the wealthy, much of it written by the wealthy (not their Congressmen), in many cases for INDIVIDUALS (as in only for very specific people and NOT all of us). The myriad of deductions that are available for those who itemize their deductions are available ONLY to those above a certain income, a level that definitely does NOT include the middle class. Your understanding of welfare and how THAT system works is about 25 years out of date. Make that something else to brush up on.

        2. Independent1 June 9, 2013

          I don’t have a problem with taxpayers who take advantage of tax breaks when they need them to make a reasonable profit or personal income; but what irks me terribly is when people and corporations continue to go out of their way to find and take advantage of tax breaks and loopholes even after they’ve accumulated more wealth than any normal person or corporation deserves to accumulate. My newest example is Apple corporation; given that Apple’s profits have been more than adequate for years, it really irks me that even after accumulating billions of corporate cash in offshore accounts, the company has continued even to this year to seek out and go out of its way to keep from paying anywhere near it’s fair share of taxes to America. And not only was Apple shortchanging America by shielding billions of income in offshore accounts and via other fancy tax accounting tricks – the company has also been shortchanging one of the countries where it has set up a shell corporation to sheild it’s assets from taxation – Ireland. Not only is Apple totally unAmerican, it is as devious and disgusting as it gets!!! You can be certain that I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER APPLE PRODUCT!!!!!!

      5. jnap June 10, 2013

        After reading that bullsh@t I had to open a window to air out the room.

        1. tax payer June 10, 2013

          Don’t release plugged up gas inside a closed room, so you don’t have to open up the windows.

      6. RobertCHastings June 16, 2013

        What have you been smoking? Based upon your delusions, it must be some pretty damned good shit.
        I have no idea you have been working for a living, but if you think your basic purchasing power has increased in the past thirty years, you are either ignorant or naïve, regardless of how well you think you may be doing (unless you have managed to so play the system that are among the wealthiest). While the purchasing power of the middle class has remained stagnant for the past thirty years, the gap between the wealthy and the middle class has exploded, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the unwillingness of the middle class to work for a living, or expectations that the government will be there to bail us out.

  3. Marke Johnston June 6, 2013

    “Consider what happened after the Great Recession ended in 2009 and the Great Depression ended in 1933 (which, by the way, was the best year ever for Wall Street)”

    I admit to curiosity;

    could a massive multi-year recession/depression actually turn around,
    and it also happen to NOT be a good year on wall street?

    I actually would expect to find hand in hand with recovery of the national financial health,
    a good year for most financial markets. This particular coincidence isn’t shocking to me.

    1. davidcayjohnston June 7, 2013

      Yes, markets rise after a recession, just a little known fact that 1933 was the best year ever for stocks as most people think of the Depression without knowing that.

  4. charleo1 June 8, 2013

    I get accused every so often of being bias, in favor of the Democratic Party.
    (I know, hard to believe.) to which I plead absolutely, guilty! But, I have an
    excellent mitigating circumstance. I’m not rich. And, certainly not rich enough to support the policies of a radical, and hostile, GOP. Which now works full time, protecting, coddling, and, catering to, those individuals, and corporations at the
    very top of the income scale. See, a lot people think Republicans have changed
    due to the T-Party. But, in reality, they have kept the same policies they’ve had,
    for at least, the last 100 years. The T-Party has simply taken those policies, and juiced them up. So, the policies of the GOP, still create income inequality, high unemployment, and high government debt. Only, it will create these things at a
    much faster pace, using the T-Party extremists, model. Instead of the more moderate policies of the old Republican guard. Which still poisoned the working poor, and middle income Americans. But at a much slower rate of decline.
    So, one would need to look back over the last, 35/40 years, to see results of
    Ronald Reagan’s economic policy. But, the pace quickened remarkably under George W. Bush, and the Republican dominated Congress, from 2000/2004.
    When the monied elite managed to benefit tremendously, and income disparity, began to take it’s inevitable toll on the economy, as private debt soared. And,
    what had become evident by the summer of 2008, was Middle America was
    living on credit. Borrowing on their credit cards, and the equity in their homes,
    to maintain their lifestyles, So, why am I such an ardent Democratic Party, Guy?
    Because, when I look back, even further, across the economic history of America.
    It becomes very obvious, what the common citizen, would have to lean back on,
    if the Republicans had always gotten their way.. Charity, and our children, is the answer. Before Social Security, 67%, more than 2/3 of Americans died in poverty.
    But to the GOP, it represents an aberration. And even though, the wealthiest Americans satisfy their entire obligation to the program, before noon, on their first working day of the year. Most of them resent it. And, there hasn’t a year gone by since it’s inception, they haven’t tried to destroy it, by some fashion or another. Same with Medicare, Medicaid, and Healthcare Reform. And, just this week, the GOP took another swipe at the poor, and the Middle Class. The have been very
    exercised in their opposition of cutting the banks out of the student loan program.
    It was a bill with a time limitation, and of course, they will let it expire. Raising
    student loan rates by 3.5%. So the bank’s cut will be restored. While the banks
    themselves, continue to borrow from the Fed, at less than 1/2 of 1 percent on the dollar. So if you’re rich, and haven’t used your moral compass in years. I get it. I understand. But if you’re not, somebody’s eating your lunch. And, you might get
    very hungry if not for the Democratic Party.

    1. tax payer June 10, 2013

      It’s your Right and no one can try to make you change, so continue being bias in favor of the Democrat Party because I am bias in favor of the the Republican party myself. Don’t worry, if they don’t agree with you because they may want you to be bias in favor of their Party.

      1. charleo1 June 10, 2013

        Well, I think that’s a very American way to look at things.
        It’s actually a big part of why the Country was founded in
        the way it was. Respecting the Right of the other fellow to
        disagree. And, look! Who says Republicans, and Democrats
        can’t agree on anything! We just did.

        1. tax payer June 10, 2013

          Now, if everyone felt like us there would be no friction, but things can’t be like everyone wants them to be, so that causes both Parties to be against each other 95% or more most of the time.

  5. Robert P. Robertson June 8, 2013

    Consider the term “less government”. Where does governments get their money? There is not a magical tree where government harvests money from at certain seasons. They get money from working people: taxation. Much of those taxes goes into subsidies to corporations and industries to keep the wheels of taxation rolling efficiently. Yet, in the hands of a few insatiably greedy individuals, these subsidies are used against workers and to shrink government in order to create a plutocracy where government is controlled by the wealthy few. If workers pay taxes to supply subsidies to anti-worker, anti-government plutocrats, we’re in essence paying for our own abuse. The representatives of these plutocrats are Republicunt/neo-Confederate Tea Bags in Congress and the neo-Confederate lobbyists who own Republicunt/neo-Confederate Tea Bags lock, stock, and barrel. For instance, take the Jobs Bill President Obama sent to Congress in 2010. We don’t hear much of that anymore. Republicunt/neo-Confederate Tea Bags has been sitting on that bill for so long, it has skid marks on it. It would provide jobs for Americans who are out of work, and working, would provide an infusion of tax dollars to the government. Yet, sitting on the bill, it keeps Americans unemployed, prevent taxes from their employment from going to the government, thereby shrinking government. TELL CONGRESS TO GET THEIR FAT ASSES OFF THE JOBS BILL AND SEND IT TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR HIS SIGNATURE!!!! That will solve much of the problems America faces today.

  6. david c ianacone June 8, 2013

    Since Reagan first instituted “Supply Side Economics”, the devastation of the Middle Class has continued unabated.

    The pundits and talking heads, especially those on the right wing fringe, complain about redistribution of wealth. Since the advent of Supply Side Voodoonomics, the Republicans have been comfortable enriching their benefactors by squeezing just about every penny the Middle Class had to “redistribute” to the 1%. They talk about capital and determinants of productivity and such, but the demonstrable FACTS are:
    1979 the income of the the top 1% was about 7.5% of ALL income, in 2011 that had grown to almost 24% of ALL income; taxes on the wealthy are at 70 year lows; the nominal tax rate for corporations is 35%, yet the AVERAGE tax bill for corporations is about 8.5%; NY Times editorial (based upon work done by two economists from M.I.T. estimates that upwards of $32 TRILLION dollars are in Tax Havens around the world.

    Only a complete idiot does not realize that this situation is NOT sustainable, unless one desires a return to a feudal states in which very few are very rich and the rest scrounge for table scraps

  7. Bill June 8, 2013

    Don’t expect anything else from the GOP, I wonder how long it will take people to wake up to what’s happening right in front of them.

  8. imabrummie June 8, 2013

    ‘Tis not only in the private sector that this egregious disparity is occurring. It is happening in the public sector also, with lay-offs by the score and what passes for management increasing exponentially. In the department where I am employed, we now have perhaps half of the support staff we had four or five years ago, yet we now have three grossly overpaid specimens to “manage” us. I can’t help but believe this situation is replicated throughout civil service, local, state, and Federal.

    1. Allan Richardson June 9, 2013

      And the same people who vote to cut highway construction complain about unsafe roads; and the same people who vote to lay off half their state’s DMV employees, shut down branch offices, and cut the hours of the remaining ones complain when the closest place to renew their tags and licenses is too far away, only open when they are at work, and makes them wait two hours.

  9. RobertCHastings June 16, 2013

    This is data that has been available for many years. Economists, including Paul Krugman, have been at least hinting at this trend, and now there is proof of it. The Republicans have been right all along about the redistribution of wealth. However, they got the direction of flow incorrect. Just a small mistake there, and I am sure they will alter their talking points to accommodate this new reality.


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