Robert Reich has a very important post about what’s really at stake in our economy as President Obama try to guide us through this recession.
Those who support the stimulus as a desperate measure to arrest the downward plunge in the business cycle might be called cyclists. Others, including me, see the stimulus as the first step toward addressing deep structural flaws in the economy. We are the structuralists.
But structuralists see it very differently. The bursting of the housing bubble caused the current crisis, but the underlying problem began much earlier — in the late 1970s, when median U.S. incomes began to stall.
What happened to the money? According to researchers Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, since the late 1970s, a greater and greater share of national income has gone to people at the top of the earnings ladder. As late as 1976, the richest 1 percent of the country took home about 9 percent of the total national income. By 2006, they were pocketing more than 20 percent.
It’s not coincidental that 1928 was the last time that the top 1 percent took home more than 20 percent of the nation’s income.
Read, as they say, the whole thing.