My cynicism has had a wonderful run in the last half decade or so … inflating wildly along with executive perks and salaries and in direct opposition to the top 1%’s tax burdens.
Here is another thoroughly disgusting exposé showing the disparity in the USA, which of course pretty much covers all of North America and probably a good chunk of Europe.
Two quick excerpts to underline the poison in our system …
I doubt that you need this interpreted, but suffice it to say that the average salary (think middle class) was ahead of the game from the mid-50s through about 1975. We kept up for the next few years and then the wheels came completely off around 1990. The game changed and the dice were loaded.
So why are some people doing so well (the GDP has to go somewhere) and others (the middle class) doing so poorly.
Here’s a quote from the article …
Are we a poor country? No, we're not. We're one of the richest countries that's ever existed. Are we a poorer country than we used to be? No, we're not. But a very large share of the gains we've made over the past three decades have gone to a relatively small number of people.
It goes on to say …
If the gains had been broadly shared, then the burden of paying for that basic infrastructure and public services would have to be very broadly shared. But the gains have been very concentrated, and so if we're going to afford that stuff, a large share of the revenue has to come from the people who've gotten the money.
So … the rich got richer with the rich in government systematically cutting their (own) taxes … which means that the infrastructure had to suffer because the people who got the money are not kicking anything into the kitty.
And what about the middle class? Well, their jobs are all gone … offshore. The people are still here, but they are no longer in the middle class. They are the working poor.
Why do you think the government of the US has been borrowing 40 cents on the dollar just to function? Perhaps because there is no more tax base? That embarrassing debt ceiling crisis late last year shows us all just how precarious this system is. The governments are too far in debt, and they are spending like drunken sailors while allowing corporations to ravage the middle class, which in turn further reduces the tax base.
Greed. The root of all evil and deeply ensconced into every aspect of the system …
Oh well … time to go shopping. That ought to shut us all up for another decade or two while the money continues to get funneled where it can do the least good.
Update: I came across this essay on the basic laws of stupidity. It rings so true that it takes your breath away. The four sub-classes of people in the essay is one of many possible enumerations, but is one that explains stupidity as it interacts with other traits extremely well.
We have the stupid person, one who operates without rationality to cause losses to others and to himself. We have the intelligent person, one who operates with rationality to cause gains all around. We have the bandit, one who operates to cause a loss to others and a gain for himself. And we have the helpless, one whose actions result in gain for others but personal losses.
Those who, more and more, are taking the output of the GDP without spreading it around, while destroying the middle class and thus putting entire countries in long-term peril, and whose actions results in constant pain and loss to entire classes of people, are obviously and clearly bandits by the essay’s definition. And since there is obvious increasing risk to entire populations, there is a significant overtone of stupidity in those people.
You cannot have infinite growth. You cannot just “take” forever without penalty. Something will give. You might escape the ramifications (because you took all the money), but those you harm will not. They will take it on the chin. As they do every day in what used to be middle class America.