June 2, 2013
In football terms, "piling on" means jumping on a player when he's down. In the economic new normal
described by Bernie Sanders, it means taking most of the wealth and all
of the income, moving profits and jobs overseas, and making
impoverished people pay the bills.
1. Taking ALL the Income
Charles Koch said, "I want my fair share -- and that's all of it."
He's been getting his wish lately. In the first two years of the
recovery, the richest 1% seemingly impossibly captured 121%
of the income gains, while incomes for 99% of Americans declined, with the median household income dropping
by 7.3 percent.
More and more people are working in respectable but low-wage
positions in food service and retail. Low-income jobs
to $13.83 per hour) made up one-fifth of the jobs lost to the
recession, but accounted for three-fifths of the jobs regained during
2. Wealth Grab
According to an AP report
the stock market has regained all its losses since March 2009 while
adding an extra 18 percent. That's $11 trillion restored, plus almost $2
trillion gained. Using Economic Policy Institute
figures (Tables 6 and 7), we can determine the beneficiaries of the new wealth:
- The richest 1%, 1.15 million families with 38.3% of the stocks, each regained their losses and added an additional $666,000.
- The next 2-5%, 4.6 million families with 30.9% of the stocks, each regained their losses and added an additional $134,000.
- The rest of the top 20%, 17.25 million families with
22% of the stocks, each regained their losses and added an additional
- The 30% just above the middle, 34.5 million families
with 8.9% of the stocks, each regained their losses and added an
The bottom 50%, 57.5 million families with 0% of the stocks, gained nothing.
3. Corporate Betrayal
According to their own SEC reports, Citigroup
and Bank of America
made much of their 2011-12 revenue in the U.S. (42%, 40%, and 82%, respectively). Yet they declared a total
of $69 billion in foreign profits and losses of $19 billion in the United States.
As the big companies have been declaring themselves multinationals
with no allegiance to the country that made them successful, they've
tens of thousands of U.S. jobs. Citigroup
and Bank of America
are among the leading job cutters. The shock
of the recession has allowed them to turn their backs on their country,
and Americans are too bewildered (and ill-represented) to properly
4. Let the Hungry Pay
The massive four-year redistribution of wealth and income toward the top leaves bills to be paid. So Congress wants to cut food
assistance. Nearly 47 million people get
an average of less than $5 a day to eat, at a total 2012 cost of about $80 billion, which is about the same amount 20 Americans
make from just one year of investment income.
In the spirit of American independence, Republican Congressman
Stephen Fincher of Tennessee quoted the Bible: "The one who is unwilling
to work shall not eat." Fincher, along with all but one of his
congressional colleagues, failed to show up for a recent unemployment hearing
. Hungry Americans remain at the bottom of the pile, getting crushed by arrogance and insensitivity.
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