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WHAT OTHERS SAY: Recession isn't over for most Americans

Friday, January 10, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CST

Here's the sad truth about the so-called "economic recovery" that began in June 2009: For a large number of Americans, it simply doesn't exist.

As the stock market made giant gains and corporate profits hit record highs, the median income in America has only declined further. African-Americans got hit hardest of all: While median income overall has dropped about 4 percent since 2009, for blacks, it plummeted by 10.9 percent.

In other words, the recession isn't over for most Americans. This speaks to the fundamental economic injustice that inspired the Occupy Wall Street protests two years ago, and President Obama's central argument today: Widening income inequality is the challenge of our time and should be the issue that shapes the 2016 election.

What we really need now is vigorous government efforts to create jobs. Instead of slashing public programs, we must invest in middle-class Americans in order to rekindle the demand that creates and grows jobs. That means raising taxes on the rich and applying more funding to areas such as infrastructure, research and education.

Leading Republicans say they're against tax hikes because they hinder job creation. But there is more to it. Taxes help contain the debt and allow the government to make investments that strengthen the economy, such as spending on infrastructure, research and education. The truth is that economic growth has been stronger during periods of higher tax rates on top earners.

And the self-serving argument that the prosperity of so-called "job creators" will somehow trickle down to the average American is just as baseless. The richest Americans save more of their earnings than others do and will never spend enough to make up for the tens of millions of Americans who remain unemployed or underemployed and the effect of stagnant and declining wages.

Consider these numbers: In recent decades, the incomes of the wealthiest 400 Americans grew five times larger, as their tax rates declined by nearly half. And CEO pay grew 127 times faster over the past three decades than the pay of the average worker.

Unless we take real steps to reverse these trends, for most people, "economic recovery" will remain out of reach.

Copyright The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger. Distributed by the Associated Press.


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Comments

Michael Williams January 10, 2014 | 9:04 a.m.

"The richest Americans save more of their earnings than others do and will never spend enough to make up for the tens of millions of Americans who remain unemployed or underemployed and the effect of stagnant and declining wages."
_________________

You think rich Americans put their money in mattresses? Where do you think that cash is? Further, what is it doing? You need to think about answers to these questions, Star-Ledger!

As for "Taxes help contain the debt and allow investments that strengthen the economy, such as spending on infrastructure, research and education".

Ok, fine. If the damned gov't does such a great job at these things, let's just tax the hell out of our selves say....95%....and turn the gov't loose. With your logic, all will then be well. Problems solved!

This article takes a horrendously complex topic and turns it into some sort of easy, 500-word, ivory-tower fix that uses "inequality"*** as the justification. The article is absurd.

***"inequality" = liberal buzzword/cause of the year. Like "gravitas" of the past. Sometimes I think liberals need a "cause" more than a job.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 10, 2014 | 9:31 a.m.

The US population is ca. 300 million.

About 92 million adult Americans are no longer looking for a job....or 30.6%

About 1/5th of that population is young and not considered available for the job market. That's 20%.

Soooo, half the population is supporting the other half.

But, wait. Part of the "supporting" population is gov't workers whose wages are paid by other taxpayers.

I figure not very many Americans are supporting one helluva lot more other Americans.

It gets old.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 10, 2014 | 3:30 p.m.

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs*."

But Michael, isn't it wonderful for you to be judged a person of "abilities," particularly with income tax time just around the corner?

As I said previously (post on Wednesday), abilities aren't unlimited or endless, but there's truly no end to "needs."

*-BTW with whom is that slogan typically associated? Are there those who don't know?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 10, 2014 | 5:41 p.m.

Hell, Ellis.......I was more worried the 1/3rd group would quit working due to loss of incentive. They need to keep working so this old geezer can get his social security that Al Gore promised was in a "lock box" but it turns out has been spent somewhere else. I'm worried.

The good news is that I played "ant" when a bunch of others were playing "grasshopper"....so I'm good.

As for the answer to your question, that would be "David Marx".

Or was it George Marx?

PS: It's not equal opportunity. It's equal outcomes.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 10, 2014 | 8:59 p.m.

Michael Williams:

Here are your choices:

Groucho Marx
Harpo Marx
Zeppo Marx

Actually, those guys made us laugh; Karl Marx wasn't terribly humorous.

"Equal outcomes" is a very good way of putting it; however, it's hard not to notice that when Karl's philosophy has actually been put into practice (governing a country) there has evolved a "cadre" of those governing who receive MORE than merely an "equal outcome."

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." - From "Animal Farm" (Orwell)

Enjoy your weekend.

(Report Comment)

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