Saturday, August 15, 2009

As the Rich Get Richer....

Crossposted at CobaltVA

The new numbers: 1% = 49.7% This is the number that reflects the nation's economic boom of the Bush years. The first number represents the top percentile of income earners in the United States. The second number represents the percentage of the total income generated in the United States that went to that top percentile.

This is our number, you know... the "rest of us." 99% = 50.3%

A new report by Emmanuel Saez, economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley and reported in the Huffpo lays out the news in pure unvarnished and unspun numbers.

As of 2007, the top decile of American earners, Saez writes, pulled in 49.7 percent of total wages, a level that's "higher than any other year since 1917 and even surpasses 1928, the peak of stock market bubble in the 'roaring" 1920s.'"

Beginning in the economic expansion of the early 1990s, Saez argues, the economy began to favor the top tiers American earners, but much of the country missed was left behind. "The top 1 percent incomes captured half of the overall economic growth over the period 1993-2007," Saes writes.

Despite a rising stock market, largely growing employment and a historic housing boom things were not nearly so rosy for the rest of U.S. workers. This trend, according to Saez, only accelerated during the George W. Bush's tenure as President:

"...while the bottom 99 percent of incomes grew at a solid pace of 2.7 percent per year from 1993-2000, these incomes grew only 1.3 percent per year from 2002-2007. As a result, in the economic expansion of 2002-2007, the top 1 percent captured two thirds of income growth."

What does it mean? How is this one issue affecting our economy? the health care debate? the political power struggle between the conservatives and the "silent majority?"

One side is about creation and conservation of wealth. Republicans were in charge as this study was taking place. The report begins in the early nineties and was updated in this new report to cover the years between 2002 and 2007, the Bush Years. The health care debate is currently dominated by the wealth preservers. Protecting the profits of the health care industry and the wealth of the corporate elite in control is the primary task of the current minority party. Who woulda guessed?

The curious think is how effectively they've built a rabid base of peasants who are very much in the lower 99% and who have been completely convinced that their best interests are represented by the corporate elite. Stoking anger and fear, wrapping it up in the cloak of "freedom" and "rights," they've managed to dominate the media coverage and give us the impression that health care reform is in danger.


The nature of the President and his supporters is simply not as volatile. Basically, he's saying, "Calm down, everyone. Show some patience! This is a huge problem demanding the best of our leaders AND the best from our citizens." I thank President Obama for leaving all the histronics and staging to the Republicans. By showing leadership, calmness, and most of all, maturity he's simply not giving in to all the hysteria being generated by the evermore desperate Wealthy Elite.

I thank President Obama for demanding the best from us. Every time he shows his confidence and poise in public he exposes the blatant political aspirations of the disloyal opposition. Every time the deliberate hypocrisy of the political right wing is exposed his arguments become stronger. The Wealth Preservers depend on their rabid, angry base for support. It doesn't stay angry and rabid if someone takes away their fear, talks to them truthfully and forcefully. Obama is working the country, talking to the people, bypassing the corporate elite. He's taken the best shot from the "No-sers," showing us that it's time for straight talk and reform.

"I know there's plenty of real concern and skepticism out there. I know that in a time of economic upheaval, the idea of change can be unsettling, and I know that there are folks who believe that government should have no role at all in solving our problems."

(There are)... stories that aren't being told -- stories of a health care system that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people.

The history is clear -- every time we come close to passing health insurance reform, the special interests with a stake in the status quo use their influence and political allies to scare and mislead the American people."

Calmness, truthfullness, leadership. Thank you Mr. Obama.

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