Saturday, October 18, 2014

Separate and Unequal: Income Imbalance — Easy Solution — Why the Wait

Simple Chart - Easy to Comprehend
(Benefits Workers and All Taxpayers)

Steady Progress 
(Unemployment Down since 2008 and Claims at 14 year Low)

Current and Past Fed Chairs
(Janet Yellen, Allan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, and Paul Volcker)

Fed Chair Yellen as the headlines say: "... is... greatly concerned by widening [income] inequality..."

The introduction to this post (and background) comes from here and two links below. I want to emphasize that this is a very timely and serious issue, at least for millions of hard-working Americans struggling with their incomes - stagnant for years. As pointed out in the documents and studies, the issue is not so important for the GOP and sadly, not for some DEMS as well. 

1.  Historically, as mentioned in this book, both the Democratic and Republican Parties are virtual opposites of each other in their economic records, going back to the earliest period for which economic data were available, around 1910. More than a dozen studies have been done comparing economic growth, unemployment, average length of unemployment, stock market performance, inflation, federal debt, and other economic indicators, during Democratic and Republican presidencies and congresses, and they all show stunningly better performance when Democrats are in power, than when Republicans are

These studies are all available online, and they are all summarized and discussed in this path-breaking book, which settles, once and for all, the question of whether there’s any significant economic difference between the two Parties. Not only is there a difference, but – shockingly – it always runs in favor of Democrats in power. 

There might be other types of reasons for voting Republican, but all of the economic reasons favor voting for Democrats. Regarding economic performance, the two Parties aren’t even close

2.  Further, a study of the voting records of members of Congress, recently published in the prestigious online scientific journal PLOS One, shows that “Republicans tended to support legislation increasing economic inequality regardless of their social status,” whereas the tendency of congressional Democrats was in the opposite direction but weaker, because “High status Democrats tended to exhibit less support for legislation that reduces economic inequality than did their lower status” peers.

Now to Fed Chair Yellen and her comments and concerns about this very real and serious issue – one that in essence begs for a solution - links are here and here and several other sites, including this great piece here that has this caption (which I love): “Janet Yellen vs. the Inflation Zombies…”

From all her words and speeches I glean this – what I call the heart of the issue:

“Median incomes have stagnated for decades, so we could actually do with a bit more wage inflation. Despite the recent pickup in hiring, wages are still rising more slowly than productivity is rising. Unit labor costs are declining, and corporate profits are surging. But that means firms could afford to pay higher wages without passing along all the increase in costs to consumers. We might get a bit more price inflation, but it would be worth it. There is nothing in economic theory to suggest that a period of, say, 3% inflation is harmful to an economy. As a first-rate economist, Yellen knows all that, of course. In her speeches she has frequently talked about stagnant wages and the threats they pose to the economy, soaring inequality among them.”  

(Also refer to the charts above for more graphic views). And, keep in mind that the top 5% holds 2/3 of the nation's wealth. A very good segment on this topic is here - worth watching (about 9 minutes).

So, what’s the bottom line if any? The folks who protested on Wall Street surely know; hard-working Americans who want a pay raise certainly know even if most of the GOP does not and as I said, some DEMS as well, and now the public is tuning in, too. 

The ones in office who speak for the public (our Reps and Senators) talk a good game and play a solid effective Pol game, but always on their terms with their fancy lingo and silver tongues to get into office and stay in office, but to do what? 

They blame, fight, argue, bash, block, and well … just about everything in between except what their office calls for: serving the greater good of the entire country and not pick and choose buddies with tons of money seeking access to them for narrow-minded and selfish favors. 

But, hey, maybe that’s just me – but I hardly think so. This is a defining issue of millions in the country – a country we all profess at one time or another to be the greatest nation on Earth, and I certainly support that wholeheartedly. 

We have very good system in place – our government structure. But we then we see a lousy campaign finance system in place that is propped up the courts that I strongly believe are misguided about “money vs. speech” or what fair voting rights, and what we see in place that keeps the corruption alive and well. In essence we have a good system run by lousy people who in fact are backed by tons of ugly massive amounts of money that benefits the top rung of the ladder (who supply that money) all the while they profess to be “helping us all” climb that same ladder – that is the hypocrisy.

Income inequality translates into voice and power inequality from our government and that puts us on a path heading towards in a direction that I think no one wants. I don't speak for the vast majority, but I am part of that majority and those are the ones I mean to speak for with these posts. My voice is one among millions, and now I hear more on the same sheet. It's long overdue and sorely needed.

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