Something continues to be askew.
Too many workers are out of work and too many folks are having mortgage troubles. The overall economy just sputters along, sort of like an engine that really needs a major tune-up.
But then I read that the typical CEO of a major company earned $9 million last year, up by 25% from 2009. Corporate profits are up by almost 50% since the recession officially “ended” in June 2009–much more than after earlier recessions, when profits rose in the first several years by 11-28%.
Workers’ wages and benefits make up 57.5% of the economy, an all-time low. Until about 2005, that figure had been remarkably stable–about 64% through boom and bust.
According to the Associated Press who talked to many economists, “the economy’s meager gains are going mostly to the wealthiest.”
I do not begrudge the wealthy their success.
But I do not understand the reluctance of many politicians–mostly, but not exclusively, Republicans–to ask these folks to chip in a little more to the national treasury. The argument most often offered is that doing so will force these wealthy folks to stop creating jobs.
Trouble is, I don’t see them creating many jobs now with their newfound wealth. In the meantime, the national debt grows. The folks who resist tax increases on the wealthiest want to reduce the debt entirely by cuts in government spending. Of course, many people without jobs need some government programs more than ever.
Sure, there are government programs we cannot afford right now, no matter how worthy. I read that Vice President Biden and bipartisan negotiators have agreed on cuts totalling $2 trillion–yes, trillion, not measly billions, but trillions.
But Congressman Cantor and others walk out of the negotiations when the focus turns to tax increases. They claim that tax increases of any kind are unacceptable–a deal-breaker.
Something is wrong with this picture: The hurting pay more, the wildly successful don’t?
Doesn’t neighborliness ideally go both ways? Or is it supposed to only go up?